So, you’ve picked your architect, builder and maybe even your kitchen and/or bathroom out but before you do anything else, read on for part two of our advice for having an extension built.
Where to Stay When Work Starts.
You house, your family home is about to become a building site. It’s going to be noisy, dusty and occasionally unbearable. It is possible to maintain normal life and stay in your property whilst works are ongoing, but it’s not easy. If you live away from site, at friends, family or even at a hotel you’ll experience none of the upheaval, the noise and the mess and it is our experience that completing an extension with owners not on site, the work tends to get finished at least a week sooner. It’s certainly worth considering.
However, moving away for 3 months isn’t always viable for people. With that in mind, when planning your extension, it might be wise to factor in a holiday, or even a short break away. Even with the best builder doing the work, at some point you are going to get fed up of the noise and mess. A bit of time away to recharge and refresh, especially at some of the messier times will certainly be money and time well spent.
Got any Trees?
If you have any trees in your garden, you may well need to get them checked out before building work starts. They could be subject to what is known as a TPO or Tree Protection Order. You cannot alter or remove any tree subject to a TPO under threat of substantial fines and prosecution. All trees within a Conservation Area are protected by legislation and effectively have a TPO on them providing they have a trunk of diameter greater than 75mm.
If in doubt, get it checked out, it’s an easy one to miss with potential severe repercussions.
The Party Wall Act etc 1996
While your neighbours cannot stop you building to the boundary of your property, with the right planning permissions and no covenants, if you build and it connects up to their property, land or buildings, you will be subject to the Party Wall Act. This is a piece of legislation put into place to formalise arrangements with your neighbour, whilst also protecting the interest of all parties concerned. If your extension involves building or digging foundations within 3m of the boundary, party wall or party wall structure, or digging foundations within 6m of a boundary, the work will require you to comply with the Party Wall Act. In these cases, you may need a surveyor to act on your behalf.
Will Your Boiler Take the Strain?
If your extension is of a significant size, or is adding multiple bathrooms and radiators, you might need to make sure your boiler is going to be up to the challenge ahead. If in any doubt ask a plumber to help you work out some effective heating forecasts to ensure your newly extended home stays nice and snug.
This also applies to your RCD board. If you are having new electrics in the extension, you may require a new RCD board. Again, it’s a quick conversation with an electrician to find out if your existing board will be able up to the job once the new factors are in play.
You Never Said Anything About Extras!
You’ve got your quote from your builder and you’ve accepted it. That’s it right, that’s how much it costs?
In an ideal world, the answer is yes, but in reality, that’s rarely the case.
Part of your budget, a good part, should be put aside as a contingency against unexpected costs. Between 10 and 20% is the recommended amount. Unfortunately, not all homes are created equal, some are simply built better than others, some are newer than others, some just need a bit more work than others. A good contingency fund allows any issues that crop up not to be too much of an issue, although always get your builder to explain exactly why there is an extra cost incurred, what options you have and how much that extra cost will be upfront, before you authorise it.
And that’s it. If you bear all of the above points in mind when planning for your extension, you might just find yourself informed about the best way to go about things, and perhaps more importantly, what pitfalls there are to look out for.