Reality of living in a property whilst having extension built(17 Posts)
We're at the beginning really, waiting for planning permission in the next couple of weeks (but fairly confident as we've withdrawn the application once to iron out any issues). We are planning a double storey side extension and single storey rear. Included in the work we are moving the downstairs toilet and knocking through a bay window (not sure if that's the correct term). So every room in the house apart from the kitchen, bathroom and one bedroom will be affected.
I'm getting increasingly worried about the reality of having the work done, as myself, DH and DS aged 1, plus 2 cats will be living here throughout. We could stay with parents if absolutely necessary, but only short term, as in a couple of weeks.
Can anyone who has been through or knows about this stuff
reassure me? tell me the realities or give any practical advice?
The cats would be a worry. Are they likely to stay out the way? Could you build a temporary run to keep them safe?
Get a schedule. Number of weeks. We planned a holiday at a crucial time to have a week away (whilst they took the roof off!)
Consider the time of year. Cold? Kids holidays?
Ensure they use all possible protection from dust. Adhesive film over halls and stairs. Doors shut.
Consider their bathroom and tea making! Necessary!!
It's tough! I had a single storey kitchen extension done last year. Everything was in the front room( do not buy anything for the extension before you need it as it just takes up extra space. I had a sink in my hallway for months).
I live on my own and it was 14 weeks of nightmare and living off pizza. I would hate to think what it would be like with a baby. My cats got very stressed too , although they are pretty high maintenance and did lots of poos in places I would rather they didn't.
If you can move out for the 'knock through' I would recommend it. Good luck.
Thanks Wolfie! Schedule is a good idea - in reality though how accurate was it?
Cats are nosy buggers so not sure how easy it will be... Although the noise would probably keep them away while the building is going on I'm sure they would be exploring regularly.
Good point about not buying things too early Den thanks!
We had a 2 storey side return extension, I too had a baby, 6 months old at the start.
The building but was fine and the builders needed minimal access to the house.
The knocking through and the joiner/electrician/plumber bit was the intrusive, noisy and dirty part. If you were thinking of moving out for a while, that would be the time.
We are going through it now, 3 bed house, only the smallest bedroom is untouched and we have been hiding out there.
My advice would be to make sure the builder is clear what facilities you need all the time. Eg kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, in what state eg. Heatable, dust swept every day, all openings must be sealed after work every day. Basically don't assume they know what you need as they will work as if it's an unoccupied site otherwise.
In my experience the worst problem is knocking things down ie Walls and ceilings, the dust is unbelievable. Really unbelievable. And it's un sweepable, you have to vacuum it. Dust sheets don't help, we have dust inside drawers and in cupboards and directly under dust sheets somehow.
So make sure they do all the knocking down over a week when you're away.
Trust me you'll get used to it, the first time they knocked out the windows and knocked through we nearly cried, but now we have turned sweeping the dust off the draining boards and hoovering the floors into a little hobby.
Sorry for not reassuring you, but it's worse then I expected, but you just adapt to it and become stronger!
Good luck, I'll let you know how happy we are when it's finally over, so you can look forward to it yourself!
It is tough, but doable. Our extension involved taking the back of the house off and building out, then moving the kitchen from one side of the house to the other. Took 8months! We were hoping to be done for Christmas but no! Had a pile of rubble, baby belling and the bath to wash up in! It is awful at the time. We also had mice everywhere as they came up through the open floors.
Is like child birth really as I forget how hard it was at the time! Just definitely pick builders you get on with and don't mind having around! Good luck!
We did a loft conversion immediately followed by a ground floor extension where we added a new kitchen. Overall, it wasn't bad. Our existing kitchen was turned into a utility and we were never without cooking facilities/water etc. We have a 7 yr old DS and both me and DH work at home on alternate days. Being around helped a lot. The only time we couldn't use the kitchen was during the tiling/underfloor heating put in. We got used to the mess but the builders brushed/mopped the floors everyday. Our whole house was impacted and we survived a few storms with no roof. Work started at end of January! The living room became a storage room and dust became a new family member. Looking back now I'm glad we didn't move out. Also it took much much longer than we had been told i.e. 6 mths vs 3 mths!
Our schedule was pretty accurate. We had a couple of unavoidable delays.
The builders worked it so the most disruption was in the holidays so we could be away.
The cats could end up crawling in spaces they shouldn't or being tripped over. Worth thinking about.
It should be fine.
Make the one bedroom suitable for you three. A basket of toys, everything baby related like nappies and clothes.
You have a bathroom and kitchen so they are the key things so at least you can make food and toilet and wash.
Get a rucksack and have Decent pram for baby with warm footmuff if in winter or picnic blanket under in summer. Research stuff to do and places to go in area. Then in noisy days you or Dh can decamp house with baby the whole day if needed. Parks, museums, swimming pool, friends houses, train journeys places, drive to national trusts. Think of it as a time to explore
Use your parents to stay at just for the few nights the house is knocked through or water turned off or similar. And visit some days in the day when needed
angeldiver how long did the knocking through take?
John how much longer til yours is finished? 😂 at hoovering becoming a hobby - there's a first time for everything ha!
Dragonites mice! I suppose the cats would be pleased... <Clings desperately to any 'positive'...>
Glad you didn't find it too bad iggity. I'm also expecting it to take longer than originally anticipated.
How long was it for you all from planning permission until work started? As much as I'm dreading it I'm impatient to get it over with asap!
We had a single storey extension, including moving kitchen done a few years ago and it wasn't too bad - in fact, looking back I quite enjoyed it! It was really exciting seeing it all take shape and having friendly builders around! It was disruptive of course, and we got really fed up with take always/microwave meals but it was so worth it!! You have you kitchen and bathroom by the sound of it too so at least you won't have the stress of nowhere to cook/wash up - that was the worst bit by far. The knocking through didn't take too long at all for us - less than a day. Beware of the brick dust - it gets everywhere - even in rooms nowhere near the works! Good luck!
We did it and our project wasn't as big as yours they kept to timescale. At first when they were building outside and before they knocked through it felt quite exciting to see things progressing daily etc.
But the dust is a nightmare you feel permanently flithy, feel rubbish for living on microwave meals and completely peed off with intrusive builders and workman there early on everyday and invading your home and privacy. If you had a schedule of works and could arrange a holiday or to stay in a hotel for the worst weeks I would definitely advise on that for your sanity.
Hopefully for you, your builders won't be knocking through until the extension is built so it won't be too much of an inconvenience to you.
The worst part will be when they eventually do knock through and put the joists in. Your house will be dusty and cold. Try to keep the little one in the unaffected room as much as possible, away from the dust and out of the cold.
Try not to be anxious about it and keep thinking that it will all soon be over.
I agree with making it clear what you want / are happy with at the outset. So for us (3 DC primary school age) that we didn't want to be without a shower for more than 2 weeks, wanted a make shift kitchen throughout - wanted a washing machine, fridge freezer, cooking facilities of some sort throughout. I was happy for the builders to use the kitchen / downstairs loo, and wanted them to clean up after themselves.
We were having a double storey extension from the rear of the house, so lost the whole of the back of the house. Had 4 of us living in one bedroom for about 4 months, with one reception room and a makeshift kitchen downstairs.
I agree that dust with get everywhere, irrespective of dust sheets. We hired a self storage space and everything we could we stored. And the parts of the house that you don't think will be affected will be - so we've ended up decorating pretty much the whole house because everywhere got a little bit grubby during the build (6 months).
Ours was quite a long time between getting permission and starting work because we had to wait for the builder as he was so booked up in advance.
How long till it's finished... Well the last estimate was Christmas Eve, never thought to ask which one! I think he's as separate as us to finish but realistically he'll finish mid to late Jan, then we have our own window fitter in early Feb, then it's over to us to fit the kitchen and paint and floor everywhere. Oh and fit all the doors and skirtings etc...
And in terms of time it was about 10 months from appointing the architect to starting, and about 11 weeks build so far.
Planning was 2 months of waiting, as was building regs, but a lot depends when your builder can start. By the time they turned up with spades, I already felt like things were almost done! Physical progress is always nice after the waiting.
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