getting an extension? idiots guide?(16 Posts)
Can anyone answer a few questions about extending your house? Sorry these are so basic I genuinely have no idea where to start.
I am hoping to have the extension onto the side of the house adding a utility room, toilet & another living area & a bedroom upstairs and possibly an ensuite. If that makes any difference.
Who do I contact first? A builder? Architect? Do I need to get planning permission first?
Do I need to arrange for a builder to build it then a plumber etc? Or does that all get arranged by the builder?
Do these things usually end up costing much more than quoted?
And anyone any idea how long I should expect this to take?
Anything else I should think about?
Sorry for the stupid questions I thought I would embarrass myself on here than phoning builders not having a clue.
We've never done one but thinking about it. I would contact a few builders and ask if it's possible to do what you would like to do, get quotes. Contact your local council and ask what sort of paperwork is required.
That's the order in which I'd begin the process, but I'm sure someone experienced will come along and let you know
I'm not sure but want to know, too! I might knock on the door of a neighbour who has recently had one done and ask them
We went to the architect first, got planning permission then got a few builder quotes with the plans so they knew exactly what was involved.
The architect (actually architectural technician) we used was rubbish though and I ended up re-designing where the rooms went and just getting him to draw up the plans properly for planning permission and also the buildings regs drawings. Even then I changed where down pipes were and added an extra window.
Make sure you know if your head what you want out of it, how you're going to use the space and think outside the box what layout you may have , including changing purposes of existing rooms.
Then get a reliable builder. Ours was on recommendation but didn't do much in the way of paperwork. It cost the same as quoted but he did try to charge extra for a couple of bits but I pointed out that as well as having so do those extra bits he hadn't actually had to put a couple of walls up (as we left a room open plan after we saw it built) so overall it was the same amount of work. You have to be quite firm with them sometimes.
Yes haggisfish we had a couple of people knock on our door and ask to look round!
I asked a local builder (recommended by a neighbour) to come round first and just give us an opinion about whether what we were proposing seemed feasible.
He then recommended an architect who drew up the plans and dealt with all of the planning permission etc.
Once we had the plans we went back to the original builder and a couple of others to get quotes.
We then chose a builder to do the work. He organised plumber, electrician etc. at the appropriate times. We just needed to make sure that we had ordered the bathroom suites at the right time so that they were ready for fitting but the builder was pretty good at advising and thinking ahead for us.
Oh yes main builder also organised all the other trades. It is an awful lot easier that way as they have to coordinate first fix, second fix and various other bits too.
Get a quote including all the plumbing and electrics. Like keeponplodding we also supplied our own bathroom suites as we didn't want any arguments about quality of them.
Look on my the council website for any local extensions to similar houses. Their plans will be online so you can take a look, see their layouts, see who their surveyors or architects were? All saves time you reinventing the wheel.
We've always just used a surveyor, not an architect. The surveyor will come round, discuss what you want, draw up plans, help get planning permission and put together a tender document for local builders, who thru should know.
They can then project manage it if you want and deal with the structural engineers, the council and the building regs guys.
Good luck and have fun....
Oh thank you lots of very helpful answers.
Very excited to get the ball rolling.
Yes if you go on your local council's website and go on the planning section, you can usually search planning applications. Look at your road and neighbouring roads, the planning applications will have plans submitted with them that you can look at to see what other people have done. Usually, in the bottom right hand corner of the plans, you can see the name of the architect / person who has drawn up the drawings. If you find that you want something similar, you can always give the architect a call.
Then as others have suggested, get a recommendation for a builder from a friend, get them to come to the house, describe what you want and ask them to give a ball park figure. They won't be able to give you an accurate figure, but they'll probably give you an idea. You then know whether its something you can afford before you even start.
Personally I would always involve an architect. See if you can get any recommendations for a good one and check out his/her portfolio as well as credentials.
Speak to the architect to discuss what you want to do. Get the architect to produce the drawings and submit the plans for planning permission. While you are waiting for the decision you can get the architect to prepare tender packages for builders.
The architect should be able to recommend builders as well as a structural engineer.
The builder should be able to arrange a plumber. If you can, find a builder that employs his own plumber, electrician, decorator etc. In my experience it makes life so much easier when you don't have to rely on subcontractors.
A typical side return extension takes 12-16 weeks but the builder should be able to advise on your particular extension. BTW if the builder says it will be 12 weeks then you should add another 4 on top. It always takes longer!
My advice would be definitely get a main contractor (builder) who will do everything (except perhaps choosing finishes/ kitchen/ bathroom. There are plenty of decisions and logistics to deal with even then. Having to arrange separate trades would be A. Total. Nightmare.
If it's a simple design I'd save your dosh on an architect and ask a structural engineer to draw up plans. We used architects and they were totally rubbish and really didn't merit their fees.
So basically it goes : builder for first soundings (but beware many will not visit if you have no plans); then whoever is doing your plans; drawings for planning and building regs approval; serve party wall notice/ write up specification; appoint builders (can be 3 to 6 month lag if they are busy); let required party wall notice period elapse - or worst case scenario get awards drawn up .... and begin :D
This book is good. It will help you understand your project and the different phases.
Learn a bit about the different trades. Think about the extension in practical terms. Electricity, water and gas all have to be 'plumbed in' and in the case of water, be plumbed out. Be prepared to compromise if that will simplify this 'plumbing'.
Try not to have your heart set on things which ultimately don't matter.
We are coming to the end of an extension project. Ours has been a joint project with the shell being built by a builder and everything else being done by DH and me. Our project came in within our permitted development but was a larger extension so required neighbour consultation. The only plans were drawn by me to accompany our notification to the council. Slightly alarmingly the builder did refer to my plans once or twice!
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