Do you know that a rear or side addition to your home can enhance the value of your home from 10 to 15%, after taking into account the cost of the addition? (A recent research study has just confirmed this). So, if you have been thinking of extending your home now, this could be the right time.
A loft conversion can be even better than side or rear addition in terms of return on investment as it can offer up to 20% return. The ROI is high as the roof and the needed space is already there and that brings down the total cost.
Get Professional Help
Most of the people think of hiring the services of an experienced architect when it comes to a building project. However, hiring an architect is a costly proposition and should be considered for a large-scale project only. You may hire the services of an experienced Architectural Technician or a Chartered Surveyor for a loft conversion or an average sized extension, this will provide you with cost saving to the project.
You should provide as much information as possible to your designer at the beginning. Making changes to the original plans will not only delay the project but will also add to the costs. Prepare some rough sketches and create a list of requirements to give to the designer. With this in mind, the designer will not need to redraft drawings or second-guess your requirements.
Get All the Planning Consents
You may not need planning permission for a house extension or loft conversion, if it is below a certain size and scale. This will help you in cutting down on costs and save on time. Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) has now been amended by the government and allows homeowners to go ahead with a house extension without any need for formal planning permission.
However, keep in mind that you don’t need permission for projects up to a certain size only. It is better to let your appointed designer deal with this. The normal planning rules are going to apply to your house extension if the property is in a conservation area or is Grade Listed.
It is important that you submit all plans to the local Building Control Department. Any extension or loft conversion needs to be in line with the regulations to ensure that the wall design, drainage, floor, roof, insulation thickness and other structural changes comply with the building standards. Do not submit only a building notice, as recommended by some builders as this may add unexpected costs to the project later.
It is important that you get all the paperwork done before you start the construction to avoid escalation in costs and stress. If the extension is near a boundary wall or against a party wall, the extension may also need to comply with the Party Wall Act 1996.
You should only call for tenders early if you want to have a rough idea of the total cost. It is better to get a tender after you have Building Control approved drawings in your hands, that have been prepared by your designer. These drawings contain all the specifications and details of the construction. You should ask for quotations from at least three similarly sized firms and also ask the designer to go through the quotations submitted by builders.
Choosing the Contractors
Do not make the mistake of choosing a contractor based only on price. Keep in mind that a good relationship with the contractor is going to matter a lot more than some small savings on the project. It is better to hire a builder with friendly approach and excellent communication skills. Before finalising, you should speak with their past clients and also pay a visit to some of the projects that have been completed by the builder.
Sign a Formal Contract
A building contract should be obtained by your designer. These legal documents cost around £30 per copy but these are extremely important. Among other things, these confirm the periodic payment terms, start date, completion date, fixed tender price as well as a defect liability period of up to 12 months once the work is completed.
Refrain from Making Changes
Making regular changes will not only lead to unnecessary stress but it will also escalate the cost of your project. Therefore, you should try as much as possible to stick to the original design and try to avoid any delays.
Have a Contingency Fund
Experience suggests that you should keep a contingency fund of approximately 10 to 15% above the cost of the tender. This contingency fund should not be mentioned in any specifications.
Many builders will quote provisional sums on per square metre basis for various furnishings including sanitary ware, tiling, fittings and floor finishes among other things. It is important that you budget for these things in the initial stage and avoid making changes later. These changes can prove to be very costly.
Keep the above-mentioned tips in mind to have a stress free experience when you are extending your home.