This time of year might seem like the last time you should be thinking about home extensions, but in reality the amount of planning that’s involved in ensuring you end up with something you’ll love for years to come mean that you need to start working well in advance. If you want the construction of your extension to get underway as soon as possible, then some forward thinking is required to make sure everything’s ready to go as soon as the warmer weather hits in.
This handy guide runs through what you should be planning, and how, in three simple steps; no-one likes chunky walls of text so we’ve tried to keep it brief but informative, with any useful links where possible. Follow these steps and get planning; by the time springtime rolls around you should be well on your way to a dream addition to your home.
Determine The Purpose
You’ll likely already have a rough idea of what you want, but you need to pin your extension down to a specific purposes or purposes as this will determine everything from its size to how the construction is dealt with from start to finish. For example, if you’re planning an extension to add a large downstairs bathroom then you’re going to have to consider plumbing and specialist electrical work, whereas something simple like an extension of a living room will be far simpler in terms of ‘wiring up’.
The purpose can also dictate the way the extension is built; for example, if you’re considering a home cinema or a music practice/recording space (ie. somewhere where excessive noise may be an issue) then taking this into consideration at the pre-construction planning stages will lead to more effective soundproofing techniques. The end result is a better extension that’s construction well and is as fit for its intended purpose as possible; don’t make the mistake of trying to build a general extension and have it suit your needs afterwards.
Apply For Planning Permission
Planning permission is a really tricky one, as whether or not you need permission from your local authority depends on a whole range of factors from the size of your house and the size of the land around it, to the type of extension and the type of property (e.g. if it’s a listed building) – under new, temporary rules it also depends on when the extension is likely to be finished.
You can view more information on this at the government’s Planning Portal mini-guide page here.
Single Storey Extensions:
- Single story extensions must not exceed 50% of the total land area around your original house – this means that previous extensions are also included in this calculation. The term ‘original’ means as it was when first built or how it stood on July 1st 1948 (if built before this date).
- Single story extensions have a height limit of four metres – any larger is considered two story.
- If your home is fronted by a main road/highway, then extensions at the front of the property are not permitted at all – any extensions for these properties must be at the rear of the property.
- Any side extensions must be no wider than half the width of the original house.
- The ridge height of the extension can’t exceed the height of the original house. The only exception is if the extension is within two metres of a boundary – then the height should not exceed three metres.
- Rear extensions should not extend by more than three metres, and should be within seven feet of any boundary.
In addition to these standard clauses, more of which can be found in the link above, there were recent temporary additions to the legislation governing planning permission. These temporary regulatory changes came into force on 30th May 2013 and apply to any extensions started after this date – though they must be completed before 30th May 2016 to still apply.
The new legislation covers a range of new extension types and different rules governing planning permission; they’re in addition to current rules, so it’s worth getting clued up on both areas of planning law. You can view the detailed legislation changes in full on the government’s Eden website.
Choose Your Construction Company
This is where your hard work in the planning stages will pay off, but choosing the right company is essential to ensuring that this will happen. Prior to making your choice you should do some research into the firm you’re considering and look at the following areas:
- Ask to see any previous work, either photos or in person if possible – a lot of companies will list testimonials and case studies on their website.
- Try and avoid firms which subcontract any work to other companies – look for companies who will use their own staff at all times.
- Opt for a company who can offer more of an all-round service, including consultation and design – the less companies you have to deal with the better.
- Try and get written timescales and quotes in advance – not only does this let you budget and plan better, but it also gives your contractors something to stick to!
Reference Source: Boss Construction