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How Much Do Home Extensions Cost

Updated on May 17, 2012

How Much Do Home Extensions Cost

Pushing out the boundaries of your home at ground level can produce either a full-size new room or an extension to an existing one. You may merely want to glass in your porch to give better heat insulation in your hall and provide somewhere to keep Wellingtons and umbrellas or keep Wellingtons and umbrellas, or you may fancy a full-scale conservatory leading off the patio doors at the back of the house. As with loft conversions you can in many instances buy a kit or arrange to have it built, or build it yourself from scratch.

Kit extensions

Prefabricated extension kits vary enormously. You can buy them for porches, sun rooms conservatories and even solid wall habitable rooms. They can be limiting in that they come in a set of standard designs which may or may not blend in with the existing fabric of your house. Their advantage is that you get all the parts needed to produce the end result which you can either build yourself pay a jobbing builder to do or pay the kit manufacturer's recommended agent to do.

With porches sun rooms and conservatories, you will probably save money by using a kit rather than designing from scratch but with solid-wall extensions you might well find it's cheaper to get one designed specifically for the kind of extension you want. Take advice from several kit firms and look through their brochures carefully. Ask if you can see a copy of the building instructions if you plan to do this yourself. As with so many self-assembly items, some come with excellent comprehensive instructions for the whole job while others are inadequate or baffling. Note that if you want a solid wall extension you can only get kits for a single storey extension. If you want a two storey one and if you can afford it it's a good idea to do as much extending as you can in one fell swoop- you need to design it from scratch.

Built-on extensions

As with loft conversions it really is best to take some expert advice. When planning a major extension there is a number which a layman is likely to overlook.

If you are enlarging your home by more than 50 cubic meters-or 10 per cent of the cubic meters you will need planning permission. You are not allowed to enlarge your home so that anything extends beyond the existing front nor can you build anything higher than the existing roof without permission. Something like a kitchen extension with a roof garden on top may not entail application to the planning authority, but you would be well advised to visit your local authority plumbing office and discuss what you propose with the planning officer. He or she will be able to advise you on which regulations you need to observe and what you are likely to be permitted to do in the way of extension.

You next need -usually in conjunction with an architect or surveyor to prepare with an architect or surveyor to prepare detailed drawings of the planned extension and submit them to the council for consideration on planning permission and building regulations. You usually need to submit three copies, one of which is put on display in the public register for anyone to look at who thinks they might wish to lodge an objection. Some local authorities also publish details of proposed extensions in the local newspaper to alert people to proposals which the authorities think might affect them.

After this your plans will be considered by the council and, provided that the planning committee is happy with them and they are clearly and comprehensively set out, you should then receive permission to build. If a modification is required you will need to redraw or amend the plans and resubmit them to the next meeting of the council. This can all take time. there is little point in obtaining tenders from builders until the plans are finalized as modifications could affect the price. On no account begin work before the application has been accepted, or the local authority will have the right to insist that you put your property back into its original state.

Ask for quotations from three builders. If they vary widely, ask your architect or surveyor to check them over to see if there are major differences in what they are planning to do. Spending more money can sometimes save a lot of trouble and frustration. A builder who gives a very low quotation may decide halfway through building your extension that he must finish off one or two other jobs before completing yours. Accepting a higher quotation which carries a guarantee that work will be completed within a specified time may make your life a lot easier. Ensure that you ask for, and are given, a quotation, not just an estimate, before a builder begins work. An estimate is an approximate guide to what you can expect to pay, whereas once he has given you a quotation for the work, the builder is obliged to keep to the quote.

When you have picked a builder for the job and he has agreed, check his insurance. Then set out the ground rules in writing and insist that he provides a written agreement. Omit this stage at your peril. It's easy to think that a builder who says he has a team that can start next Monday but won't otherwise be free for three months is one you should seize, but if you have not got a written contractual agreement you could end up being sorry.

Ensure that the contract states when stage payments should be made-after specified parts of the work are completed -and insist that all the materials which the builder purchases for your job (and for which you will probably have to advance cash) are stored on your site and that you have receipts for them. This will prevent him using your money to buy materials for other jobs on which his firm is working.

Getting Grants

There are a number of local authority grants available for certain home improvements. These include money for putting in a damp proof course, extending a tiny bathroomor kitchen and modernizing the electrical circuit. You can get some money towards repairs if your home was built before 1919 and requires substantial structural work. If the place has no fixed bath or shower, wash hand basin, sink or is lacking a hot and cold water supply to any of these you may also be eligible for a grant.

Apply to your local authority grants section for any money you think you may be eligible for and be prepared to spend a fair amount of time waiting for the wheels of bureaucracy to turn. After you have applied, someone from the council will come to inspect your property and will let you know what work you will have to do to be eligible for a grant. This may be rather more than you had originally imagined. If you need to draw up plans, you will have to pay for these yourself-and you may not get a grant in the end.

If you are successful, you can then get builders' estimates (you may need to contact a number of approved local builders) and only then, with full council approval, can you start the work involved,

Raising Cash

If you are not eligible for a grant, or want to do more work than would be covered by one, You will probably need to borrow money. The building society with whom you have a mortgage may be prepared to top it up with a loan to cover your improvements, provided it is satisfied that they add value to the property. If your mortgage is with a bank it too may be prepared to top it up; if not, it may allow you a separate home improvement loan for a period of ten years or so. This will be a secured loan which means that your house or some major asset is used as collateral. Because this is a legal transaction, you will have to pay a charge for arranging it.

If you have no joy with either building society or bank, consider a finance house loan. Whichever option you choose for raising cash, go into it carefully. You don't want to find that you have cut down on happiness by extending your debts, as well as your house.


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    • applejack2 profile image

      applejack2 6 years ago from Mandaue City, Cebu Philippines


    • Philipo profile image

      Philipo 6 years ago from Nigeria

      Very informative.