25, September 2021
If you’ve decided to add value to your home and increase your living space by embarking on an extension project, you might be feeling a bit daunted by the process. The good news is that with careful planning the whole process can be made much smoother, and you’ll end up with the extension that’s right for your needs.
But, where do you begin? We’ve rounded up a few tips to help you get your project off to a good start, and hopefully minimise setbacks along the way.
If your neighbours have carried out similar projects, the chances are they’ll be happy to show you what they’ve done and may even have done a lot of the research for you – so, knocking on doors and asking to have a look around can really pay off.
So, have a chat to people who’ve done the work already. Some good questions to ask:
What tradespeople did they use?
Did they need planning permission? Was it approved without needing to make any changes?
Would they make any changes to the design, having lived with it for a while?
It’s also a good idea to ask them what didn’t go so well, so you can pre-empt any pitfalls with your own extension – the benefit of hindsight can be really useful!
If you’re not sure about approaching neighbours you don’t know, another good trick is to look on property websites – floor plans on these are a really good way of seeing what other people have done and what might be possible with your own house.
Bringing in the professionals
If you’ve knocked on doors, you might have a list of contacts to call in the first instance – it’s a good idea to talk to lots of people so you can get a good range of quotes to choose between. But, who do you speak to first? It can be daunting to speak to a long list of builders, architects, planning offices, kitchen designers – one way to create a simpler process is to use an extension specialist who will oversee the whole project for you.
Otherwise, speaking to architects first is a good idea, they can work on drawings and give advice on any planning applications necessary, so you’ll then be able to approach builders for quotes knowing exactly what you’re looking for.
Start a Pinterest/mood board/notebook/list
Carrying out a big project like an extension involves a lot of making decisions. Once your build gets underway (and even before) you’ll need to have a clear idea of what you want –it can be a really good idea to share your ideas with your builder/architect at an early stage so you can work together to create the ideal living space.
Before you’ve even appointed an architect/builder, starting a mood board/notebook/Pinterest with all those great ideas is one useful way of keeping everything together. Gradually building up a collection of inspiring homes can be a fun project and will firm up plans in your mind, taking some of the stress out of decision making. As well as helping to pin down your hopes for your project, this will also mean that you don’t have to frantically Google image search for a particular type of door/wall/kitchen island, down the line.