Once you've decided what you want to build you need to get the design drawn up.
Some people have a clear idea of what they want before they begin and some don't, either way, it's important to get some drawings done as soon as possible.
If you know what you want, the drawings will confirm that your ideas work and show up areas where they may need to be fine tuned or changed. If you're not sure what you want, the drawings will give you something to work on, showing you the possibilities and helping your ideas to evolve. Either way, if things need to be changed, it's best to get it down on paper first; it's a lot easier moving lines on drawings than walls in your house.
Do I need Planning Permission?
It depends on what you want to do and to what kind of property. The Permitted Development rules were changed in 2011, so that generally extensions under 4M from existing rear & side extensions, and under 4M high are permitted.
However, these conditions are a guide only, as other factors may be relevant, such as distance to boundaries, highways or public rights of way.
What are Building Regulations and do I need them?
The building regulations are standards for design and construction which protect people and the environment.
If you are a home owner, you are ultimately responsible for ensuring all work carried out on your property, which is required to comply with Building Regulations, does so. Such work includes:
- Erection or extension of a building.
- Installation or extension of a service or fitting controlled by the regulations (such as a boiler or electrical wiring).
- Alterations which will temporarily prevent the building or its fittings from complying with regulations.
- Insulating a cavity wall.
- Underpinning of foundations.
There are two ways to obtain Building Regulations Approval, either by making a Full Plans submission or by submitting a Building Notice. We can advise you on which would be most appropriate for your project and assist you with the application.
Building Regulations drawings contain greater detail than Planning Permission drawings, specifying materials, dimensions and quantities, and stating where necessary, how elements are to be constructed.
How much will it cost?
Very roughly speaking, a single storey, flat roofed extension can be built for £1,250 per square metre. Adding storeys and elements such as a pitched roof, will increase the cost.
Before you get to the building, there are fees for design, drawings, planning and building regulations approval, as well as structural calculations, and very often, Building Over Sewer applications or Party Wall Agreements.
As the project develops at the design stage, a more accurate picture of costs can be built up. Starting with a rough estimate at the Planning stage and ending with the reasonably accurate estimate with the Building Regulations drawings.
Is it the right time?
Only you can answer this question but, bear in mind that building work, large or small scale, is disruptive.
You may have to think about how you will cook without a kitchen, or bathe without a bathroom, or where you'll park the car when there is no driveway to speak of. And of course the all important - do we have enough money in the budget for the build plus contingencies.
Where can I find a good builder?
Having a builder recommended is a good start, giving you the reassurance that somebody you know has had a good experience and had the work done well. We're happy to pass on trusted contacts and always ask to see examples of past projects & speak to satisfied customers.
What are the regulations covering electrical work?
Generally speaking, the rules for carrying out electrical work are more stringent than they have been in the past.
If your project involves alterations to the electrical system, you should probably check with building control first to see if you are required to notify them.
If in doubt, get a qualified electrician to carry out the work and provide you with a certificate of compliance.
What are the regulations covering plumbing?
If you are fitting or replacing a boiler it needs to be installed by a competent person who must be:
Gas Safe registered, or
OFTEC (Oil Firing Technical Association) registered for an oil-fired boiler.
If you are in any doubt about whether or not your scheme is notifiable, you should contact Building Control.