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What to think about when planning house extensions


If you have been thinking about extending your home then no doubt you have thought about everything that goes into it

the planning, finding the right builder, the costs and the rules. The prospect of it all can seem very daunting, especially if you have never gone through anything like this before; there is no guarantee that everything will run smoothly but so long as you plan everything thoroughly and take your time you can avoid disasters.

Perhaps you want to extend because you simply do not have enough room currently but don’t want the expense of moving house, or perhaps you are looking to increase the value of your home; whatever your reasons, extending can be a valuable and worthwhile cost.

The first thing you need to think about if you are planning to extend your home is planning permissions; of course if you are a listed building, in a conservation area or something similar then the rules are different for you, the rules are also different if you live in a flat or maisonette. But if you live in a house (non-listed etc) then you are able to extend without applying for planning permission so long as you stick to the following rules:

  • You do not cover more than half the area of land around the original house
  • The extension is not forward of the front of the original house (or forward of the side of the house is this is what meets the road)
  • If a terraced or semi-detached house, rear extensions can go a maximum of 3m beyond the rear wall of the original house and the maximum height of a single storey extension is 4m.
  • If a detached house, rear extensions can go a maximum of 4m beyond the rear wall of the original house; if the extension is more than one storey then the maximum is 3m. The maximum height of a single storey extension is 4m.

An important factor to consider when building house extensions is the right of light; the extension should not reduce the daylight that passes through your neighbours’ windows, if it does they are able to take legal action.

One of the most important things when it comes to home extensions is finding a good builder that will do the job properly and to a high standard. We have all heard the horror stories of cowboy builders that have ripped people off, disappeared without finishing the job or completing an extension that does not comply with building regulations and is therefore dangerous.

The best way to find a good builder is by word of mouth and personal recommendation, research available builders and see what people have said. You can also have a look in your local area and speak to people who have had extensions themselves, enquire about their builders and if they would recommend them. Once you have a shortlist get detailed quotes from these builders, as well as a couple of references; don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions, trustworthy and quality builders will understand why you are asking these questions!

If you are planning an extension don’t rush into things, it is rushing that will lead to problems and when it comes to your home this is not something you want to risk!

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