Things to know before starting a house extension

By May 1, 2019Blog

Making changes to your home, such as carrying out a loft conversion or building a house extension, are an excellent way to not only increase the value of your property, but also add living space to your house too. However, when it comes to house extensions, there are some things you need to know prior to starting to build. We take a look at the main things you need to be aware of.


It could be better to rebuild

Make sure that the cost of an extension is lower than the value it would bring to the house. In some cases, it could work out better to knock down the existing house and rebuild entirely if it is considered no longer fit for purpose. Alternatively, it could be better to sell up and move.

Whilst such costs can be difficult to assess before starting, researching similar properties in your local area and see how much they have recently sold for. Also, keep in mind the ceiling value in your area too.


Pick the right designer for you

A number of different specialists can help you with house extensions, so make sure that you have carefully researched the right designer who will be the best fit for you.

For example, an architect, specialist designer, architectural technicians or in-house design teams can all help you to build the housing extension you have always dreamed of.


Do you live in a Conservation Area?

If you want to build a property extension, keep in mind that if you live in a Conservation Area, Permitted Development rights are often stricter. Always check with your local authority first before building, as every authority in the UK has its own policy.


Do you meet the building regulations?

Whilst you may not need planning permission as you are using permitted development rights, don’t forget that you will still need to get building regulation approval for your renovation.

Building regulations put in place minimum requirements for things such as damp proofing, energy efficiency, fire safety, ventilation and structural integrity.


Wondering if you need to get approval? Here are a few examples:

  • If you are installing new heating appliances
  • Any altered openings for new windows
  • Loft conversions
  • Housing extensions (whether it be for a bedroom, lounge or kitchen etc)
  • Internal structural alterations
  • Installation of any showers, WCs or baths if they require brand new waste plumbing or new drainage


Remember site insurance

If you decide to carry out a house extension, then it is imperative that you have a good site insurance policy in place. This is to ensure that you are covered for the costs of the existing structure, as well as the new project until it has been completed.

Equally your contractors should have insurance in place for any damages and potential liabilities.

If you are leaving the property during the build you will need site insurance too, usually for at least a minimum of six months.


You are unlikely to get VAT relief

Remember that the majority of housing extensions will be subject to VAT on building materials and labour at a rate of 20%, if you use a contractor in order to carry out the work.

However, if you decide to use local tradesmen who aren’t VAT registered, you can save VAT on their labour. However, don’t forget you will still need to pay VAT on materials at the standard rate.

VAT relief exceptions for house extensions include listed buildings and work carried out on a building that has been unoccupied for at least two years.


Do you have a contingency budget?

When carrying out renovations to your home, it is highly recommended that you have in place a healthy contingency budget that can help you with any unexpected costs that may arise. Wondering what you should be aiming at? It is aimed to budget something around 10-20% in total.