Life changes all the time but if your home doesn’t change with you, you could soon find yourself running out of space.
The thought of moving house and uprooting your life can be daunting; especially if you’ve got kids settled in the local school, it’s a good commute or you’ve got friends and family close by. What’s more, it can be a costly process - according to Which? the cost of stamp duty fees, estate agency fees, removal vans etc. can add up to more than £10,000, so it’s not surprising that many people would rather build an extension than go to the hassle of moving.
The added bonus is that extending your home could add long-term value to your house too.
How to extend your home
With a little imagination, there’s a multitude of things you can do to add square footage to your home, or re-organise the space you have more effectively. You could convert your loft, basement or garage into a living space, or build out with an extension.
More space can give you:
- Another bedroom, bathroom or a play area for a growing family
- Some independence for older kids
- Open plan living for a more social space
- An annexe for older relatives to move in
- A home office
Before deciding how to improve your home, it’s a good idea to speak to an estate agent to find out what value it could add. Your home will have a ceiling price which means there’s a limit to how much value you can add, however much you increase the space. If you’re planning on selling in the short to medium term, you may want to take this in to consideration so you’re not spending more than you’ll get back.
Do I need building regulations approval?
When extending your home, it’s likely you’ll need buildings regulation approval from your local authority. The regulations ensure a minimum standard for design, construction and alterations to buildings, to protect people’s safety, health and welfare. Often your builder or contractor will sort this out for you, but ultimately, it’s your responsibility. So speak to your builder to agree who will submit the application and ensure the inspections are carried out. You’ll receive a certificate of completion at the end of the job to confirm the work complies with regulation. The cost varies depending on the job and the area you’re in. Contact your local authority for a quote. To find out more, go to the Planning Portal section on building regulations.
How much does an extension cost?
The cost of an extension will vary widely depending on your location and the type, size and specification of extension you go for.
According to Real Homes* the costs below will give you a guideline for the building work. For a more accurate idea of how much an extension costs for your circumstances, get at least 3 quotes from local builders.
|Quality of extension||Cost per square metre||For a 4m x 5m extension|
|Basic||£1,500 - £1,900||£30,000+|
|Good||£1,900 - £2,200||£38,000+|
|Excellent||£2,200 - £2,400||£44,000+|
Other costs to consider
- Architect fees – 3-7% of total construction costs
- Structural engineer fees - £500 - £1,000
- Surveyor fees - £500 - £1,000
- Planning fees - £206
- Party wall agreement - £700 - £1,000
- Interior fittings and finishes
- 10% contingency – don’t forget to have a contingency pot. It’s common to go over budget as unforeseen problems may crop-up or you decide to upgrade a few things as you go along.
How to save money on an extension
Plan plan plan! – Take the time to be sure about what you want, in as much detail as possible. Check your measurements and make detailed drawings. It will help the build to go smoothly and allow you to budget more accurately. If, at a later date, you decide that you want a new feature or to move wiring to a different spot, it will cost you time and money to re-do the work.
Keep it simple – Simple designs with straight lines will be easier and cheaper to build. Curves and unusual features will cost you more and may take more time. The same goes for your fittings, buying off-the-shelf rather than made to measure will help to keep the cost down.
Choose the right builder and agree a fixed price – Ask for recommendations from people you know and check review websites such as Checkatrade.com and ratedpeople.com. Ask to visit previous clients of theirs to see the quality of work and get more information about what they’re like. Agree a fixed price upfront so costs don’t get out of control and pay in installments.
Reuse, repair, recycle – Hold on to as much of your existing materials as you can - from bricks and floor boards to kitchen cabinets and appliances - to save buying new. If you can’t use it yourself, there might be items you can sell which will help towards your budget. And when you do need to buy something, think second hand first.
DIY if you can – If you’re confident and know what you’re doing, it can save you money to take on some tasks yourself, like project management, basic plumbing, fitting flooring and decorating. However, fixing mistakes can be costly so only take on what you can manage.
Shop around – High street suppliers can be expensive so shop around to find the best deal. Speak to your builders too as you may be able to use their trade account for some items.