We would like to extend our kitchen by extending into the side return and knocking through to the dining room. Our friends have done something similar but probably more straightforward and it's cost £100k which has shocked us a bit. This makes me wonder if it's even worth the expense of getting an architect to draw up plans! We'd like to get a company around to give us a quote ... will this not be possible without having detailed plans? We know exactly what we want doing ... but just not sure now that we'll be able to afford it!
An experienced builder who's done work in your area previously should be able to quote without plans, but would use a per unit cost for items such as downlights, switches etc. The steel work may also be subject to change as it would depend upon what your structural surveyor specs in, but it's usually more or less the same for a side return in the same area - just make sure builder knows where your doors are going, how many skylights etc.
If it is like my side return there are drains and drainpipes, I would want proper plans drawn up to take account of them.
That is a huge amount of money, if something goes badly wrong then the cost of the architect could fade into insignificance compared to the cost of putting something right that could have been foreseen with professional advice.
Yes, get an architect that has knowledge of the extension you plan on doing. The architect will also deal with planning and any issues that arise from that. Our project is circa 100k, we are spending 2.5k on an architect
We're starting the process of a side return extension. We've had a few builders around to give us ball park figures but now we're getting the plans drawn so we can get more accurate quotes. Builders won't be able to tell you much until you have plans.
What's you budget? If it's say 70-80k then it's worth getting an architect. If you were hoping to achieve the same as your neighbours for 30k, then you might as well give up now. You won't be able to get a quote now, more of a ballpark and it could be wide range.
We were hoping £50k but so far the quotes have been £60-£70k without the plans and not including everything. We're getting the plans to decide whether we can afford it. If not, at least we'll have plans etc if we decide to sell and they may help us sell it.
I think it could be worth a punt if you're prepared to shop around or have some cheaper finishes. Did your friends compare quotes? Have they gone for some expensive stuff, e.g. aluminium bi-folds? Some things really add up. With 60k in the bank, I'd get an architect and brief them to design something cost effective.
I think it might be doable for £60K, just about. You would have to keep a very close eye on the spec - so no under-floor heating, PVC French doors rather than aluminium bifolds, DIY kitchen, laminate worktops etc.
We're doing a very similar project at the moment and had to make some compromises on the design but ultimately chose to pay a premium for some things like worktops and appliances, as we plan on living here for a long time.
In hindsight we vastly over-paid our architect - he was useless and just drew the plans we asked him to, riddled with mistakes every time. The builder was far more knowledgable about how drains etc would affect the true cost. Depending on your relationship with your neighbours you could also avoid paying party wall surveyor fees.
Your first step could be to draw up some plans with as much detail as you can manage and get a couple of friendly builders round to give initial quotes. They'll be useful sounding boards and will let you know if it's even remotely possible with the amount you have. And always always allow for at least 10% contingency!!
I had builders draw up the plans for ours. 2 storey side extension with new kitchen and bedroom, cloakroom under the stairs, and knocking the new and old kitchens together to create a kitchen/dining room for £60,000. It was in Yorkshire, though.
Why don't you ask a project management company to quote? You don't have to use them eventually, but as they would take on the task of getting plans drawn anyway, they won't charge you up front for doing that. If you are having something pretty standard done (I.e. Very similar to other side return extensions on the other houses on your street / part of London) then they will know what the variables are. We used A1 for our loft conversion as their quote came in to what we had budgeted, and whilst we spoke to builders and architects, and no doubt could have done it cheaper, this way felt safer as we didn't need to spend anything on speculative plans.