With a dismal property market, many people are forced to stick with their current property rather than moving, this means a significant number of homeowners are choosing to extend their existing property to gain extra space, rather than selling up. The cost of building an extension can be significant, but the costs are almost always regained through adding value to your home. As with any building project, when planning an extension or converting existing space there are a lot of factors to be considered, from design to planning, supplies to labour costs. It is important to try and maintain the look and feel of your existing property when designing an extension, and to think about the neighbours, as they will be able to air any misgivings, so make sure that the planned extension blends in with their properties too.
You can visit an architect or building company for advice and get an idea of what you want from your new extension or conversion. They can also provide advice on issues concerning planning permission and any local factors, as well as drawing up detailed specifications. Planning permission will be necessary for many extensions and some conversions too. Check out the popular types of conversions and extensions below.
Conservatories have become an affordable and desirable part of modern-day living, for many they are an ideal way of acquiring more living space without having to move. For most conservatories planning permission is not required and they are almost guaranteed to add value to your property! Conservatories provide a versatile space that can be used as a sun room, dining room, breakfast room, family den, play room or study. One of the key advantages conservatories have over any other type of extension, is that they let in the light and warmth while at the same time providing shelter from the elements.
Around 60% of conservatories require planning permission, but each local authorities have their own rules and regulations, so always contact your local authority planning office for advice. As a general rules of thumb detached or semi-detached houses can be extended by up to 70 cubic metres or 115% of the house's total volume, whichever is greater, without planning, for terraced or end of terrace houses but the limit is reduced to 50 cubic metres. However planning permission is unlikely to be granted if the conservatory covers more than half of the garden or are less than 20m from the road or a public footpath.
Most local authorities will deny planning permission if your conservatory extends out from the house by over 3m. The average cost of adding a conservatory is between £5,000 and £30,000 depending on the size, type and specification. But a well planned conservatory can add as much as 7% to your house value when it comes to selling, while an extension can cost between £10,000 and £30,000, but will add around 11% to the property value.
A loft conversion is one of the most straightforward and effective ways of getting more living space from your existing house, depending on the existing roof structure and planning constraints. The features that will determine the suitability of the roof space for a loft conversion are the available head height, the pitch and the type of roof, as well as any obstacles such as water tanks or chimneys. As a general rule of thumb the usable part of the roof should be greater than 2.2m for easy conversion with no planning issues. Spending £20,000 on a loft conversion could result in an additional £40,000 when it comes to sell your house, with a typical loft conversion adding around 12.5 per cent to the selling price.
The planning rules for porches are applicable to any external doors, adding a porch to any external door is considered to be permitted development, not requiring an application for planning permission, as long as the ground floor area does not exceed three square metres, no part of the proposed porch will be over three metres above ground level, and the porch is not within two metres of any property boundary. Building a porch at ground level and under 30 square metres is normally exempt from the need for building regulation approval and hassle free.
However the glazing and any fixed electrical installations must comply with the appropriate sections of building regulations. An open porch or door canopy is the cheapest option and costs around £600 and you probably won’t need planning permission unless you live in a listed property or in a conservation area. Enclosed or semi-enclosed porches are more expensive (costing around £3,500) and may require planning permission. uPVC is the most cheapest and most common material used to build enclosed or semi-enclosed porches and a wooden porch will cost at least twice as much.
Extensions are expensive projects so you need to take care when hiring a builder. The first step is identify local builders in your area that have experience with building the type of extension you require (whether a front porch, conservatory or loft conversion). This can easily be done using the free quote service on this site, all you need to do is enter some brief details about the type of job you require and your budget, then you can have local recommended builders get in touch with you to provide advice, prices, and estimates. Of course, the cheapest quote does not necessarily mean the best job, so always check if the builder is in a trade body such as the Federation of Master Builders or the National Federation of Builders, ask for references and check them out. Make sure the builder has insurance if something goes badly wrong with the project and draw up a contract for the work which includes agreed stage-payments - always keep the final payment until the work is complete and all problems rectified.