Eight Things to Consider When Extending
Planning an extension for your property can be an exciting time, and often we can't see past the end result. However, the initial planning stages are essential if you want to achieve the perfect extension. Long before you start choosing furniture and the interior decor, you need to get the basics right.
First, you need to decide what the motivation behind the extension is. Is it to achieve your dream home and create enough space for the future, increase the value of your home or provide short-term relief until you can move to a larger property?
It's essential that you set a final budget for the project. This doesn't mean that you have to spend up to this amount, but it will allow you to plan an extension that's achievable. You need to ensure that this takes into account all the relevant costs, including fees, materials, specialist services (such as those of staircase manufacturers) and VAT.
A good extension cannot be completed overnight, so you need to be realistic about the time frame. Consider when you'd ideally like the work to be finished, and then work backwards from this point. You'll need to factor in time for elements such as the design and the planning system.
It's crucial to consider your gas, electricity and water supplies when planning an extension. You'll need to assess if the work will affect these, either on a short- or long-term basis, and how it will alter the drainage system.
Before you commence any work, you have to assess the effect it might have on your neighbours. It can be beneficial to explain the work to people in adjoining properties before you submit any plans. This will give them the opportunity to raise any concerns, and you may be able to work around them as opposed to getting stuck in a planning dispute. These can be costly and lengthy, which will be disruptive to your timings and budget.
Prior to talking to a designer or architect, it's helpful to have some design ideas that you can discuss. You can find plenty of inspiration online by looking at other projects, such as those on the websites of staircase manufacturers and interior-decor companies.
Planning an extension can be the perfect opportunity to assess how your current property performs when it comes to energy-efficiency. You may want to look at installing better insulated windows and doors or increase the amount of loft or wall insulation that is fitted. If you want to take this further, you can research the possibilities of using alternative energy sources to power your home. This could include installing solar panels, a wind turbine or a ground-source heat pump.
The Overall Project
When you're designing the extension, it's important not to forget the rest of the property. It may be that you want to improve other areas at the same time to minimise the inconvenience or improve the finished look.