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Has anyone had a house extension done? And was it a total nightmare?

15 replies

Roseylea · 18/02/2008 13:00

We are thinking of extending our house (single storey extension). We've got an architect and builder coming round on Wednesday, and I'm full of ideas about how we could use the new space.

So has anyone had an extention done? How long did it take? How much disruption to your family life? What were the real nightmares? Did anything go drastically wrong? Is there anything you'd do differently if you were to do it all again? And all that...?


OP posts:
throckenholt · 18/02/2008 13:47

remember the rule you can have any combination of 2 - but not all 3 - good, cheap, fast - decide which is important to you.
so - good and fast is likely to be expensinve
fast and cheap - not likely to be good quality
good and cheap is likely to take time.

Mess etc depends on the extension and the builders.

Wotk out why you are doing it - to improve your quality of life, or to add value with a view to selling in the nearish future. If for your benefit then do it to your taste - if for selling on then do it bland and not really high spec - because you won't get your money back if you spend a fortune on personal preferences.

When you get to that stage - keep the builders happy with lots of cups of tea - and stock up on sugar - they all seem to have at least one spoonful

Furball · 18/02/2008 13:56

we've just had a single storey side and rear extension which was started in september and finished the middle of january. We had a fab builder recommended via a friend of a friend. Who literally just got on with things and scheduled everything at the right times. It didn't cause that much distruption as for the most of it they were digging and building outside, it was only when they had to cut through the walls in 2 rooms it creeated dust like you've never seen. They did mimolise (sp?) that by putting up a plastic sheet as a wall. I don't really have any bad things to say about it all and now, well we have the best utility room you've ever seen and also a fantastic new lounge.

and I did keep everyone happy with cups of tea etc!

NaughtyNigel · 18/02/2008 13:56

had ours done a couple of years ago.
never ever ever again. i still have nightmares about it.
Our builder was a sort of relative and i'm sure very competent, good local reputation and all that - BUT -
Rule No 1. what ever they quote you - double it at least.
Rule No 2. if you can possibly move out for the duration - do so.
Rule No 3. However long they tell you it will take - add on 4 extra months.
Rule No 4. All builders are compulsive liars - they can't help it and don't meanb it but they do. Nothing - absolutely nothing they tell you will be the truth.
For example - ours was supposed to start in april and be finished by August.
Actually started in july and the week before christmas we had no kitchen window, no cooker, no carpets. Builder got a little upset when i pointed out to him that it was unacceptable. he just didn't understand my anguish.

builders/plumbers/electritians are incapable of cleaning up after themselves. - they may tell you they will and they may think that they have - but not to a noticable degree.

if it rains/snows/hails expect to add on another 3 months.

It really would be less stress/hastle to move - believe me - i am scarred by the whole experience.

Furball · 18/02/2008 13:57

our builder was pricey, but we were glad we paid the extra to get the quality. Not saying you don't with cheaer builders but theses days you just don't know. Do you have any recommendations?

throckenholt · 18/02/2008 14:00

other thoughts - get a builder by personal recommendation - so ask around. And get a contract - with deadlines and prices agreed up front.

Furball · 18/02/2008 14:03

Ours was paid in stages, after each major job or so we'd get another invoice, that way we all knew where we were as some people don't pay and some builders go off and do othr jobs, this way, if he didn't do the work, (which he always did) we didn't pay. I think there were 10 payments in all.

Roseylea · 18/02/2008 14:25

NaughtyNigel that sounds dreadful. We couldn't afford to double our budget, so we need to make sure that we budget realistically in the first place.

Yes Furball thankfully we do have a good recommendation! He's a guy with an excellent local reputation, so hopefully we won't have any problems there.

As for why we are doing get more space for us to live in without moving. THe dc are happy at their school so we don't want to have to move house and the location of this house is good, it's just a bit small!

I like the idea of paying in stages.

Throckenholt I will definitely get a contract with an agreed timescale and price.

Hmm, I'll have to wait and see what they say on Wed!

Thanks for the input.

OP posts:
Celia2 · 18/02/2008 15:06

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lacarte · 18/02/2008 16:39

Ours took longer than expected but it was generally absolutely fine. The builders were brilliant, very professional and hard-working and pleasant to deal with. Our dd was born while the work was going on (didn't opt for a home birth in the end ...) and ds was 2 so could have been a nightmare but it really wasn't. And we love the extra space we have.

We paid in stages too, about three throughout the process. The final bill was a bit of a shock as slightly over budget - one thing I would say is make sure you approve any changes to materials/ plans etc while the work is going on and find out exactly what the costs will be to avoid a bigger bill at the end.

lacarte · 18/02/2008 16:43

oh - and include a thorough post-work professional clean in your budget. You won't believe the dust building work creates, and ours were really very tidy.

mumwhereareyou · 18/02/2008 17:21

We had 2 story extension done, started Nov 06 finished Feb 07, brillant builder, we paid him in stages as well. He recommeded electrican, and roofer as well.

We got 3 quotes from builders and picked the one which was well written and had seen his work before and impressed with it.

It has made such a difference to our living.

When we had the original plans drawn, we marked it our on the ground and decided it wouldn't be big enough so enlarged it by 8ft, it has made such a difference.

It was messy when he cut through the house, but he tidyed up. Ours was a single builder he started at 7.45 and finished at 4.30, only stopped for one cup of tea a day.
Can't fault him and have recommended him to others.

lalalonglegs · 18/02/2008 20:11

If you haven't had major work done before then pay someone to project manage it for you - it is very difficult to control builders unless you know exactly what you want and what you are talking about and that comes with experience.

It will be a nightmare but it is generally worth it.

annieshaf · 18/02/2008 20:52

currently in the middle of having a 2 storey extension built to creat a big family kitchen/living room. Builders said they would start in Oct and actually started the first week after xmas. However this delay was because they only take on one job at a time and would not start ours until previous job was finished. In the long run this is best as it means the disruption to us is over a shorter period of time as they are not disappearing for days on end to work on other jobs.

Make sure you agree a fixed price for the work you have specified up front with adjustment only for changes you make as things go along. This way its the builder who takes the risk on the bad weather and not you. This means that they are more likely to press on in 'mixed' weather rather than down tools and wait for the perfect day at your expense. We were told it would be 9 weeks in total and 6 weeks in it looks like they will finish on time despite losing more than a week to the bad weather.

Very much agree with the 2 out of 3 principle talked about above so its important to decide which 2 are the most important to you. I have a 3mth old and a 2 yr old so wanted to keep the disruption to a minimum.

Would advise you to do as much research and planning up front as possible as once work starts you will need to make decisions fast to make sure that all materials are on site when the builders need them. Try not to change your mind as things are built as this will delay the work and result in extra costs.

Definitely get at least 3 quotes and make sure you know what each quote includes so that they can be properly compared. Different builders may automatically quote for different levels of work depending on whether they have their own plumbers/electricians etc.

Another tip would be to find out how long a day the builders normally work. Ours turn up before 8am and are never there after 2pm. This works great for me as with the 2 kids i have time to clean up any mess whilst they have afternoon naps and we have the late afternoons hassle free with time to think about tea.

Ours is going well so far (touch wood) and dust levels have been manageable by keeping the doors shut.

Hope this helps a bit

user1489676652 · 21/12/2017 12:15

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runjumpclimbswim · 22/12/2017 09:58

These guys did our loft on a 3 bed semi, making it a 5 bed, in two weeks. They were pleasant and I'm trying to get them do to my kitchen/bathroom now in their off season they were so fab!

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