How to plan for a stress-free extension
Wed 03 Apr 2019
Extending your home is a great way to improve on your property’s potential without the upheaval of moving from a much-loved location. Planning ahead and choosing an architect who shares your vision for the end result you want to achieve can help you realise your dream renovation with a smooth and streamlined build project.
We often hear from clients when they are looking to add a new bedroom or office space as their household grows, or when the family has outgrown the kitchen.
Is an extension the right choice for you?
When you consider the financial implications of moving to a larger house, it can often be cheaper to improve your existing home rather than move, and an extension will also add value to your property. For those in urban areas with restricted external space, extensions such as loft conversions and basement excavations are an ideal way to add to the space in your home within the existing footprint. In contrast, those based where spatial restrictions aren’t quite as stringent may consider exterior extensions to the home, adding to the size and potential value of your property.
An extension may not be the right option for everyone, however. It’s always worth seeking an external opinion and what you might find is that you don’t always need to extend to get the most out of your property. You may choose to adjust the internal layout of your home instead, creating a more logical floorplan and making the most of your existing space.
Setting out a clear brief right from the start of the process can make a big difference when planning for your extension – nobody wants to have regrets after the work is completed! Think about the problems you want your extension to overcome and consider how you want to use the space in your day to day life. If the design doesn’t reflect your lifestyle, it will affect the success of the finished project.
At the outset of any project, we sit down with our clients and discuss any restrictions they are working with, such as financial or spatial constraints. The realisation of your dream home can sometimes be limited by additional planning approvals, so it’s really important to establish any guidelines that will need to be met well in advance.
We will help you establish whether you can achieve your vision without having to go through full planning permission – if you don’t, the whole process is quicker, easier and cheaper. Considerable amounts of work can potentially be done under permitted development rights, so speak to us or look at online planning resources to get a clear idea of whether these apply in your situation. We can also advise on whether you should apply for a certificate of lawful development, which offers legal proof that your extension doesn’t require planning permission.
If you live in a conservation area, different restrictions will apply, so it can be very useful to work with an architect who has an understanding of your local neighbourhood. We’re very familiar with the way local authorities and other relevant bodies across London work.
Our designs of course incorporate relevant building regulations. Building control is signed-off by a either a council-appointed or private inspector and, whilst you don’t need to appoint one right from the start, having an inspector-approved design before construction begins can help the whole process operate smoothly.
Factor in utilities and future proofing
Extending is an opportunity to also upgrade your home’s existing heating and wiring, and to add in new a ‘smart’ home system. Consider including these disruptive works in the renovation and extension process, which could save time and money in the long run.
Whatever route you decide to take when planning for your extension, it’s important that you find an architect who you feel comfortable with. Setting out a clear brief early on in the process will help you upgrade your existing property into a home that fits your needs and lifestyle, without having to leave a location you love.