The Art of Home Extensions

As property prices creep up higher more people are opting to renovate and extend their home, as opposed to moving out. There are a number of practical advantages for this approach, especially if you enjoy living in an area or have children settled in the neighbourhood schools. There is also the fact that selling and buying property has a whole range of related costs above and beyond the price of a home. This includes agent fees, stamp duty and also the hassle of packing and moving your home/life. Home extensions are an art in themselves, elements such as deciding where to put the extension or whether you want to create a completely unique space that shows the old from the new are just a couple of things to consider. Here are 6 pointers for you started on your home extension journey.

Practical Practicalities

Before you even get started on the nitty-gritty of a house extension project you need to carefully look at the concept. Including practicalities like the economics of this project, where you’re going to reside during the building and construction phase and how much value the extension may add to your property. Also, take time to think about anything in your own life that may get in the way of a smooth running project.

Budget and funding

As soon as you have nutted these broad issues out it is time to get down to the nitty-gritty of working out the total cost your project will be including getting plans detailing the size and scope of the build. For these, you need to work with an architect or building designer. A builder can then estimate more accurately the cost of the job. In addition, you need to build in a contingency (10 per cent – 20 percent) for any unforeseen costs or a highly probable scenario.

Integrated Design

The design of any extension should be considered as an essential part of your existing house’s structure. In theory, this means it should seamlessly blend in, making use of the same materials to keep a sense of flow and continuity. However, if you want to create an abstract piece, just like an artist creates a masterpiece on a canvas you are also able to. If you are considering a second storey extension be aware that this can be significantly more costly and complex from a construction point of view. Architects or building designers can supply you with comprehensive plans that have a breakdown of these materials to be utilized and an idea of the overall costing.

Architects and Building Designers

Architects and building designers have been tasked with drawing up comprehensive plans for home extensions. They have an intimate knowledge of the structural issues involved as well as the applicable regulatory requirements. These professionals are also well versed to give you sensible advice on the configuration of your expansion. This will be based on lots of variables, such as your lifestyle, your current floor plan and the total amount of space being generated by the extension. Developing a report with your architect or building designer is vital. This ensures that you’re on exactly the same page sharing the same overall vision.

Sourcing a Builder

It goes without saying that a quality builder is worth their weight in gold. When you are sourcing a suitable candidate for your house extension project you want to ensure that the builder specialises in extensions. And much like your relationship with your architect, you need to feel comfortable working with your own builder. Including getting multiple quotes, testimonials from clients and viewing examples of their latest work. Other pointers include signing up a thorough contract that details their duties throughout the course of the build.

Red Tape

It is a maze of regulations and planning permits around the area of construction, mostly originating from the Building Code and the local council. A planning permit is the very first step in this procedure, a document that authorises any builds. Before applying for this it is also a good idea to speak to immediate neighbours that will be impacted by the extension. Besides being a courtesy, you also need to make sure that they do not object to your proposal as this could jeopardise the whole project. Remember to always use licensed, registered professionals and trades. They are very likely to do a much better job and your project will likely conform to regulatory standards.