Many UK homeowners these days are electing to invest more money in home improvement rather than moving up and out, with some surveys putting the increase at fivefold over the last five years. This may be due in part to the increasing overall cost of housing across the country.
In Kent, we have witnessed a steady annual increase in property values. As prices soar, more people begin to find it cost-effective to renovate and build on their existing property. Home extensions are a popular trend, as they not only provide additional living space but add considerable value to the property. Here are some things you’ll want to know before you commit to an extension project.
Know the local regulations
There are many rules and permissions to be aware of before proceeding with your extension work. Depending on the nature of your planned extension, the scope of work may fall within your permitted development rights. This means you won’t need to secure a permit from the local authority to proceed with the construction. However, you will probably still need building regulations approval to ensure compliance.
In some areas, the local council may also apply a community infrastructure levy – be sure to check with your council before you start work. And if there are any trees on the site, make sure that they aren’t protected under any tree preservation orders (TPOs). If you’re working with a professional project manager or builder, they will be able to sort through the applicable regulations in your area for you.
Be clear on design and budget
Many homeowners with plans for home improvements also have a vision for what they want. However, it’s important to note that design isn’t just about the aesthetic factor. The dimensions of the structure, materials used, presence and number of windows and doors, all have a significant effect on the functionality and resale value of your new living space.
Since you can reduce costs by taking on various aspects of the project yourself, there’s a strong incentive to handle more of the labour – but it’s important to be realistic about your skillset and the time and effort you can invest. Some expert tasks can deliver better results in the hands of skilled workers. For instance, you may wish to hire or consult with an architect or design firm, especially if this is your first major home improvement project. Scout for someone whose portfolio closely matches the design ethic you have in mind.
Stick to your schedule
When work on your extension commences, there will be a lot of commotion and noise going on. This can pose a significant disruption to you and your family should you choose to continue living in the house, and your presence may also slow down the building progress. On the other hand, a temporary relocation may incur additional expenses or inconvenience family or friends with whom you’ll be staying.
It’s essential to make sure that the construction proceeds according to schedule. Consider such measures as off-site construction work, or using ready mixed concrete. This allows work to be done in a controlled setting for greater efficiency, lower cost, and local delivery range. For a property in Kent, for example, you could look for local suppliers to batch process and work on materials, then deliver them to your nearby Kent site for final erection.
Ultimately, the quality of your build will also be tied to the cost. Making astute calls on design, scope, and efficiency of labour will help you maximise the value you get for the money you invest in your home extension.