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Extending your kitchen - beginners hints please

(12 Posts)
Wigeon Tue 19-Oct-10 18:47:57

We are thinking of extending our kitchen by a few feet - a one story extension, probably proper walls with lots of windows and a skylight rather than a conservatory (as everyone says they are cold in winter and hot in summer). We would also need to completely replace the kitchen.

We are not sure where to start - do we just get general builders round to quote? Do we need an architect or plans? How do you do this? We are trying to do it as cheaply as possible but not so cheaply that it falls apart or looks rubbish.

We have a vague idea it might cost £20k - is this a reasonable ballpark figure?

There is the possible added complication that the extension would go ontop of the raised patio outside the kitchen - does anyone know if peparing this ground to take the extension greatly add to the cost?

Any hints and tips on the extension part would be most gratefully received (I'm not worrying about the new kitchen itself yet).

Thanks a lot.

lee69 Tue 19-Oct-10 21:31:43

Hello can give you some advice but how much bigger do you want to make your kitchen as a few feet seems a lot of work, get a known builder(word of mouth) that you know is trustworthy,
you would not be able to build directly off the patio, (my hubby is in the architectural business but in Scotland, so it depends where you are as rule about planning are differ from Scotland to England.
Let me some more info and I will pick hubbys brains smile

lalalonglegs Tue 19-Oct-10 21:38:40

I think the fact that you are building out onto a raised patio will raise costs, you will have to (probably) get rid of the patio and build up the foundations for the extension from below the natural lay of the ground as the footings for the patio (probably) won't be strong enough.

It depends how much you are extending by and how much the slope of the land is regarding costs as well as what spec you require, whether it will involve moving lots of services etc.

preghead Tue 19-Oct-10 21:45:22

Marking place as also thinking of embarking on something similar

cotswolder Tue 19-Oct-10 22:05:05


We've literally just finished a project like this! The extension is across the width of our three bed semi and on the ground floor only and with a pitched roof. The new space is about 7.5m by 3m (external dimensions - walls are normally about 0.3m thick).

You can normally extend out of the rear of your (semi-detached)house by up to 3m without needing planning permission - this is called Permitted Development (have a look on the Planning Portal for more details).

We too built on the area that was the patio. In reality they dig the lot up anyway to put in the foundations (normally about a metre deep).

You may not need an architect for a simple job but it would best to get a draftsman to produce some drawings (you will need these at very least for building regs) as this makes it easier for builders to quote against. In fact, we'd recommend writing down everything you want to see in the extension and giving that out with the plans. Get lots of quotes and recommendations! We had quotes varying by nearly £10K!

The costs are around about £1000 per sq metre but various things add to this cost; we had three velux roof windows, big uPVC bi-folding doors for the exterior, some lovely Oak bi-folding doors to divide the interior, and a triangular window starting above the height of the kitchen cupboards extending into the eaves to let in light through the side of the house. If you're having a tiled floor you might want to consider electric underfloor heating. We also got them to make a space for a new patio with steps and retaining wall. We started process back in March with drawing up plans, building work work started end June and finished couple of weeks ago.

Most builders can supply/fit kitchens very cheaply (compared to Magnet etc) - Howdens is a common kitchen source. We bought ours from a local independent supplier who made the kitchen themselves.

We sourced appliances, sinks and granite worktops all separately on the internet - much cheaper. We went for good quality as we're looking to stay here a while and enjoy cooking!

With everything included we've spent around £45K but it has transformed our previously cramped downstairs into a much bigger lounge (formerly had a dining table), a luxury open plan kitchen and dining area. We love it! and happy to give more details if helpful

Fizzylemonade Wed 20-Oct-10 06:56:08

To give you an idea of architect's cost, I had plans done for a double garage conversion and a 3m extension to the kitchen.

I had already drawn the plans myself so I could plan out furniture and the new kitchen (very easy to do 1cm on the plan = 20cm in the real world so 5cm is 1m)

He submitted the plans (we have had to have both planning -free as they have removed permitted development rights on this estate and applied for building regs) then when planning was granted he did more detailed drawings ie what insulation would be used on the concrete garage floor etc.

Architect cost £380, building inspector also costs money, I think we paid him £150 and we are expecting another bill from him as he did 4 visits to site, one before, two during the conversion and one at the end. We haven't done the kitchen extension yet.

Cotswolder gives some great advice, it is true to be working off £100 psqm that is for 900 deep foundations.

We went with a builder who had done several friend's extensions. I had met him on one of those builds and his standards were high.

cotswolder Wed 20-Oct-10 09:17:09

You've got me going now and sorry if too much but still painting skirting boards and close to my heart at the -......further to what Fizzylemonade said.....

we also drew up our own plans initially for what we wanted space wise - hubby used the free IKEA online kitchen planner which he found really useful.

We found our architect via parish mag and recommendation - cost around £800 plus LA building Reg costs and structural engineer costs (about £150) which you will need to factor in if you are taking any element of back wall outs and proposing to use an RSJ.

personally I would be a little wary about just getting builders round to quote without at least some agreed plans and tender basis -I've known people do this, builder gives them a quote, people accept this, without having every little detail written down within a contract - and costs subsequently start going up as project gets going............... an architect will cover drainage plans; electric plans (how many sockets, lights etc; plumbing, heating etc etc and "could" save money in long run for bit of investment up front if you want to do anything bar the absolute mimimum!

On saving money - the more you can project manage yourselves the more you may save. Many builders do not employ electricians/tilers for example and will subcontract in - adding in a little extra to you for the pleasure! It can be alot of hassle for you however, we had to liasise between builders, tiler, kitchen company however which was a complete pain in the arse at times (but also wierdly made me feel like it was our project and we were in driving seat! - I am 7 months preg and builders seemed to find it difficult to argue with a preg female!)

Finally from experience - watch them all like a hawk! You are paying alot of money so don't be afraid of being assertive to get what you want

Heartsease Wed 20-Oct-10 12:14:09

Watching with interest as this is my next fantasy home improvement. I love reading about other people's projects.

Fizzylemonade Wed 20-Oct-10 21:52:39

Ah, I knew my builder so had a ball park figure for converting a garage before we bought a house, but then we bought a house with a double garage so it was clearly more.

But the architect came, drew the plans, builder came back and quoted. He knew how many sockets I wanted, what we intended with the lighting, flooring, windows etc.

My builder project managed it all, sourced everything except door handles for 2 doors which I bought.

It ran very smoothly and was completed in 15 working days (space was 5.5m X 5.2m) the builder had all tradesmen lined up ready to go, plumber, plasterer, sparks, joiner, carpet fitter and window fitter.

I am a sahm so was there for pretty much everything but I have to be honest and say that I probably had an incredibly decent builder, both morally and professionally. <smug emoticon> grin

Wigeon Wed 20-Oct-10 21:55:15

Thank you so so much to everyone for your thoughts - all incredibly helpful. Thank you all for taking the time to respond. Some really useful tips. We are in England by the way (Herts).

So what exactly is the difference between an architect and a draftsman (apart from the obvious that an architect is more highly qualified). Does a draftsman basically just write down what you tell him in a snazzy plan, and so you have to have a really specific idea of what you want in order to instruct him (or her!)?

I think we were thinking of getting a few builders round to give us a ballpark figure and idea of general feasibility (eg building on the patio). If we are totally underestimating the whole project we will have to rethink the whole plan. And totally agree that we need to have a more specific idea than "er, we'd like an extension please" before getting a formal quote.

Thanks again for the advice so far.

Wigeon Wed 20-Oct-10 21:56:34

15 working days, Fizzylemonade!! That's amazing. Aren't you in Hertfordshire, or do I remember you from the June 08 antenatal thread? (or maybe some other random thread).

Wigeon Sun 07-Nov-10 19:13:19

We have had a couple of builders round to give us a ball-park figure - their figures varied by quite a bit, and one said we needed an architect and the other said that he could do the plans and we didn't need an architect (he does come recommended by several people).

Any thoughts on architects vs draftsmen vs your builder / you doing the plans?


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