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Top tips for planning an extension

Extension PlanningIs your family growing and you need extra bedrooms or do you need space for a home office? With property prices increasing and set to rise even further this year homeowners can’t always afford to move to find more space. Building an extension can be a cost effective way of increasing the number of rooms, without having to move. It will also increase the value of your property. However, you need to make sure that you plan the extension carefully and consider all the possible pitfalls.

The right design
When you’re thinking about the design of an extension, you need to consider the style of your home and the type of extension that will work. Look at the amount of space you have available and where an extension could realistically fit. Then you need to factor in any access you’ll require, such as exterior doors, and the number of floors the finished extension will be. When you’re specifying the build, try and use materials that are the same, or at least similar, to the current property. This will help the extension to blend in fairly seamlessly.

Neighbours
This extension might be your dream, but you also need to take on board the views of your neighbours. It won’t end up being your dream home if you’re constantly fighting with next door. When you’re planning the building, think about any areas that might overlook neighbouring properties and ensure that it doesn’t look out of place with the rest of the street. If it’s possible, talk to your neighbours before submitting any plans, as that way you might be able to come to a compromise.

The costs
It’s important that you’re aware of how much the whole project will cost, so that you can realistically afford it. Put together an inclusive budget that covers all eventualities, including a contingency in case you encounter any problems. The budget should include everything you’ll need to pay for; such as architects and builders in Cardiff skip hire, materials and fees for building regulations and planning permission.

Planning permission
Most extensions will require planning permission before you can start building. For further details of what is allowed in your area, you should contact your local authority’s planning department. Whether or not you need to submit an application will generally depend on the height of the extension and the amount of your land it takes up. When planning the build, you should take into account the time required for approval: this can be as much as eight weeks. It’s vital that you’re not tempted to start work before your plans have been approved.

Getting a builder
It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to do the build yourself, so you’ll need to find a reliable builder. Ask friends and family for recommendations, search for local companies and then ask a few for quotes. Before they start work, ensure that you have a contract that agrees the costs and timings. Don’t pay the full cost upfront, as reputable builders won’t require it. During the building work keep an eye on their progress and don’t be afraid to question them about what they’re doing.

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