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Thinking about extending your home but don't know where to start?

It’s a common enough situation. You’ve reached a point where you need more space in your house and you are not sure whether to move or to extend. You like your home and don’t envy the idea of the upheaval and stress that a move causes. The problem is that you could really do with that extra space. The answer maybe to extend – but can it be done, how much will it cost. How do you start?

The answer to these questions is to take a practical look at these various elements in detail, starting with the question of whether it is possible to extend. In general terms it is more difficult to extend the front of your house than the side or rear. The type of house that you own will also have a bearing on the feasibility. A mid terrace house can only be extended at the rear whilst a semi detached or detached house offers potential for side and rear extensions.

Another consideration is the amount of space that you are looking to add to the property to make the extension viable. Planning policies state that a certain amount of additional space can be added without planning permission. If you want to go above these amounts, the rule of thumb is that an increase in volume of about 50% on the original house size is the most you are likely to achieve and this depends to a large extent on the affect it will have on the appearance of the existing house. In planning terms this is because the main house should always be in evidence and look dominant to the extension.

If this amount of space is sufficient for your needs, the next issue to consider is cost. This will depend very much on the design and level of specification but a rough average cost for the design and construction of an extension would be £1200 for every m2 of floor area that you create, on any floor level.  So for example if you build a 2 storey extension, which is 5m wide internally x 3m deep internally the floor area is 5 x 3 x 2 floors = 30m2 and the likely cost is £36,000 plus VAT.

Another issue which may be important is time – how long it will take from the point you are now to occupation. Once again, this is very much dependent upon a range of factors which include whether planning permission is required and complexity of proposals. Even the simplest extension not requiring planning permission is likely to take in excess of 6 months and the more complicated ones requiring planning are likely to take in excess of a year from where you are now before you can occupy.

If after all of this you think that it is worthwhile, then the next step is to obtain professional advice about the design and move forward to getting plans drawn up for the extension. The main thing is to take it a step at a time and work in an organised planned manner. The end result can make the wait worthwhile.





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