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Home Improvement: Where to start?
When thinking about extending your home, commonly the biggest question is; Where do I start?
Planning an extension or remodelling of your home is a sizeable commitment, below is a list of considerations that you should be thinking about at the very start of the project.
What is your budget?
How much can you afford to spend, how much are you willing to spend? All projects will incur fees that will be outside the building cost and should be allowed for in your budget. For most small projects the fees that will need to be considered are statutory approvals, this will include Planning, if required and Building Regulations approval. These fees will vary based on the type and size of the property and application, it is also important to know that you will have to pay a plan charge and inspection charge for Building Regulations approval sign off. For an extension you will need to allow for architectural input and engineering calculations not only to achieve the space that you require but also to achieve the statutory approvals. A fair allowance for fees is to allow 12% of the build cost.
It is also good practice to allow yourself a contingency pot of money, 10% of the budget is a standard amount and this means that there are funds available to cover unforeseen costs that maybe incurred during the construction process.
If you are planning a small extension that has a build cost of less than £20,000 the percentage for the fees will probably rise above the guide figure of 12%, as the same information and work will need to be carried out for a small extension project. If you live in a listed building, conservation area or green belt you may be required to provide additional information or reports about the building, the site and wildlife, there will be fees associated with this work.
Have you thought about timescale?
Be realistic about what you what to achieve and how long this is going to take. From appointment of the consultants, it can be two weeks to a month for the planning drawings to be approved and completed for submission.
The planning process will take a minimum of 8 weeks, but there are times when the planning authority may ask for an extension of time. It then may take two weeks to a month to complete the production of information for the Building Regulations submission. Building Control then have 5 weeks to carry out plan approval. If you need to find a builder through competitive tender you will need to allow 6 weeks for the builder to price the work and be appointed. The construction period for most extension works will be 6 to 8 weeks. If this work is carried out in sequence you will need to allow 8 months from starting the project until it’s complete. Plan in the winter to build in the summer.
What would you like to achieve?
A good designer will help you develop your ideas and formulate these ideas into a brief and sketch proposals, but having an idea of what you want even if you don’t know how you want to achieve this will help the process. Be mindful that sometimes what you want and what you need may actually be two different things. Taking some time to think about what you need the space for and how you will use this space will improve the quality of the work and your satisfaction with the work once it is complete.
Magazine and resource material are a good starting point to get ideas about the space and style that you like, but does what you’ve seen fit with the space available? Does that beautiful glass box, transparent extension work with three children and a dog, do you have the time and inclination to clean the windows every day to maintain that crystal clear, transparency aesthetic.
Do you have a plan?
It is the job of an architectural practice to help you develop a design, a plan of work and a programme, but leading on from above, knowing what you want, how you want to achieve this or who to talk to with regards to helping you achieve these goals will have a massive impact on how smoothly this process runs. It is the job of your designer to help you through this process and help you fully understand and express your desires in a built form.
While you will not be expected to know exactly what you want and to have already picked the fixtures and fittings, having an overall idea of what you want, and when you are going to have to make decisions, within this process will allow the project to run smoothly. While everyone’s allowed to change their mind, indecision or changes to design or products at the wrong stage of the development can lead to delays which will also affect the cost of the development.
Taking a little time to consider these points will help formulate your ideas before you talk to an architectural practice, or roll the dice, give us a clean sheet and you may be pleasantly surprised with the design that we develop for you.