Words of wisdom from our extension specialist.....
Choosing where to extend depends very much on the individual property and garden. If the garden is small you might want to consider rearranging the existing internal space and possibly extending at the front or in a Victorian property doing a side return extension. You need to consider the position of neighbouring properties and the path of the sun through the day. Open plan is very popular but it is important to have some separation and quieter areas. If you have a larger garden, then it is still important to plan the layout carefully and maximise the use of space, rather than just build a huge extension.
A good architect or designer will be able to help you plan your kitchen layout, it is important an early stage to think about drainage, extraction, heating and electrics. Once a basic layout is agreed it is a good time to get a kitchen company involved. If there is space a pantry and utility can provide excellent storage, which means the kitchen design can be kept clean and simple without the need for wall cupboards. Islands are very popular but do require an enormous amount of circulation space, a peninsula is a good alternative. Islands and peninsula become social focal points, it is a good idea to avoid placing sinks or hobs in them. Open plan kitchen extensions often result in very deep rooms, roof lights, side windows and light reflective surfaces all help to maximise daylight.
Whatever design route you choose – design and builder or architect and contractor make sure you do your research. Recommendations and references are very important. Make sure you feel comfortable with and confident in the people who work with. A good builder will project manage for you, but it is important to make as many decisions as you can in advance – tiles, door handle, taps etc
The style of your extension will depend on many factors, start by researching extensions of similar properties and get an idea of the styles you like. There are lots of cladding options on the market now, which might provide a good contrast to your existing property or you may prefer the extension to blend in. If you want to build your extension under permitted development the materials must match those on the existing house. They may also be restrictions on materials if you are in a conservation area or own a listed building, your designer will be able to guide you.
Under permitted development you can extend single storey from the original back wall of the house 3m for a semi or terraced property or 4m for a detached. There are extended permitted development right in place until May 2019 which extends these distances to 6m and 8m but you do need to make a neighbourhood consultation application. With permitted development you need to match the materials on the existing property and the eaves of the extension must not be higher than 3m from ground level. Permitted development rules can be quite complicated and are restricted in certain areas, always get advice from design professional or planning officer. It is a good idea to apply for a certificate of lawful development for your extension even if it falls under Permitted development, when you sell your property in the future it will answer any conveyancing questions.
Build costs will vary across the country, your architect should be able to give you an idea of the costs, but nothing will be as accurate as a quote. Currently in Leamington Spa an extension will cost approx. £1700 per square metre plus VAT to a plastered finish, but that does not include things such as bi fold doors, roof lanterns or anything unusual or expensive. (March 2018)