Our need for space varies at different stages of our lives. The house you bought as when you were first setting up home may no longer meet your family’s needs as children arrive and grow or you find that your professional and social life is increasingly undertaken from home. When this happens, you may find that an extension is a cost-effective way to increase the space within your home, provide greater privacy for your family and make remodel your house to meet your growing needs.
The benefits an extension can bring are numerous provided its design is carefully thought out and integrates well with your existing layout. A number of the primary benefits are listed below.
Avoid the Stress and Hassle of Looking For a new Home:
When your need for additional space exceeds the capacity of your existing home, there are two options available to address this: extend your property or relocate to a new larger home. An extension is significantly cheaper and less stressful than going through the hassle of first finding a new home, arranging the finance to purchase it and packing and then unpacking all your belongings.
Stay in the Area You Know and Love:
Extending your home also means less disruption to you and your family’s lives. You can remain in the neighbourhood and home you are familiar and comfortable with. Your children can remain in the same school and retain their friendships, avoiding what can be quite a traumatic experience in moving away, particularly for younger children.
Give your Existing Accommodation a New Lease of Life:
You may find the wears and tears of daily life over the years leaves your home tired and in need of some care not to mention essential maintenance, repairs or redecoration. These can often be dealt with in a structured and cost-effective way at the same time as your home is extended.
Taylor Your Home to Meet Your Specific Needs:
The benefits an extension can bring can help unlock the potential of your home to accommodate your changing needs and facilitate your lifestyle. If you are a social animal and fond of dinner parties with your friends or if you like to have big family gatherings, an extension can help bring a sense of generosity and openness to your living space. It can allow the spaces and rooms in your home to better flow together, perhaps offering different interconnected zones for different types of activities such as TV or Home Cinema viewing as well as areas for quieter reflection or study. Carefully considered it can accommodate a kitchen able to cater to your friends and family and provide sufficient space for entertaining.
Alternatively, if you need additional space to provide a home office because you work from home or you are balancing work with child care, an extension can provide a dedicated space in your home where you can retreat and focus on the task at hand.
Integrate Your Home and Garden:
An extension can help you maximise the useability of and access to your garden. A good design can open up your ground floor living or dining spaces to your garden providing a generous visual connection between the interior and exterior. Bifolding or sliding doors can offer a direct and, subject to ground levels, step-free access to the garden and allow your rooms to fully open up, extending the interior space to the exterior. Careful consideration of material finishes can blur the boundary between inside and outside, giving an expansive feel to space.
Improve your Existing Layout, Aspect and Views:
A carefully planned extension could allow you to free up other areas of your home. It can unlock areas of dead or underused space, enhance a sense of arrival in your home by widening your hallway, allow for more generous circulation and flow between spaces and provide options to bring in additional natural light and ventilation, offer better aspect and views to your existing rooms.
A Chance to Upgrade your Existing Services and Adapt Your Home For the 21st Century:
When considering extending your home, it is important to factor into your budget any upgrades you may wish or need to make to your existing heating, gas or electrical services. These should be considered at the outset so that a coordinated design can be formed. There is little point going to the time and expense of extending your property if you don’t deal with any issues such as an inadequate heating system which will impair your enjoyment of and comfort in your extended home. Additionally upgrading your electrical systems can make your home smarter and better connected, important in today’s world where we are often reliant on good internet connections for much of our daily work and entertainment. Changes to incorporate modifications to these systems after work has started on site will likely be much more costly and disruptive.
To minimise costs, it makes sense first to understand how your existing services and drainage systems enter and distribute around your house as tapping into these and aligning new services to them will minimise modifications to your existing layouts and limit works that may disturb the existing finishes in your home.
Likewise, if your existing house is too cold in winter or too hot in summer and you are looking to extend it is likely to be cost-effective, budget allowing, to simultaneously replace your existing windows with more thermally efficient double or triple glazed ones and add or upgrade insulation to your roof and, space permitting walls and ground floor. Many older properties are constructed with little or no insulation. They may have solid walls and uninsulated roofs and floors. If you are undertaking work to improve your home, these factors should also be considered.
Extending your property should add to its value. Depending upon the location of your home and the quality and size of your extended space, the uplift in value can be significant. The Office for National Statistics website (https://www.ons.gov.uk/visualisations/dvc434/calculator/index.html) has a calculator that will indicate how much-added value can be achieved. For example, a medium-sized (25sq.m.) extension in Kingston upon Thames can, according to the ONS, add up to £142,550 value to your property. Please be aware though that a poorly designed or constructed extension with obvious problems can be a significant deterrent for people looking to purchase your home if you ever decide to sell up and move on.
The design of your extension can be tailored to suit your individual needs, whether your preference is for more open plan living or simply more rooms to give you and your family greater privacy and personal space. Having lived in your house, you will be the person most familiar with any shortcomings your home may have. Building an extension can help address those shortcomings by giving you the extra space you need to use your home in your own unique way.
Maximise the Potential of Your Site:
Though less common, some sites may be large enough to accommodate an extension of sufficient size to form another dwelling on site. Projects such as these will inevitably be more complicated and face more planning challenges than simple additions to extend the space in your existing home, however, adding another dwelling can offer a way to maximise the value of the site and your return on it. It can also offer the prospect of multigenerational living where your children or parents can move in next door so that you can stay in close contact with them but still allow them to live their lives independently. Planning permission for this type of extension will almost always be required, and for that reason, it would be advisable to appoint an architect for your project. Care will also need to be taken not to overdevelop the site.
Planning Permission May Not Be Required:
Planning Permission will generally be required if your home is in a conservation area or if your building is a listed building both planning permission and listed building consent will be required. For projects like these, it would be advisable to employ an architect as they can help steer your project through these processes and facilitate an easier pathway to consent. Outwith these areas and building types, depending upon the scale and scope of your ambitions, you may be able to construct your extension under Permitted Development rather than having to apply for full Planning Permission. An architect will also benefit these projects both in terms of design ideas and coordinating any necessary technical or structural interventions but if your design is simple in nature and within the Permitted Development constraints some building companies may offer a full design and build service.
Even if your project falls under permitted development, it would still be advisable to apply to your Local Authority for a Certificate of Lawful Development. This is a simpler and less onerous process than seeking Planning Permission provided you have followed the rules for Permitted Development set out on your Local Authority’s planning website.
Beyond the benefits, an extension can provide it is important to consider how you can best achieve a seamless translation of your dreams and desires for your remodelled home into a quality building. Key decisions and factors that will determine how your project goes once it starts on-site and that will affect the overall quality of the finished building are: how resolved and coordinated are the plans for your extension before you start; how proactive and responsive your building contractor is; does your contractor have a track record of similar projects and experience with sourcing and installing the materials and specifications you have agreed.
There are constraints to any project, whether these be planning related or technical in nature. The more you know about these before construction starts the smother and more cost-efficient your project will run. Changes made to a design during the construction process, whether by choice or necessity, can have a significant impact on both the cost of your build and the time it takes to complete. For this reason, it is key to have good professional advice and a good, knowledgeable contracting team who have a good track record in client-focused delivery.