Thinking of a new bathroom or an extension? You want to make sure that you can build the size of extension that you want, within your budget. Being aware of potential pitfalls and additional costs at the beginning of the process will help you make informed decisions.

Below are 5 things you should consider when carrying out building works.

1. Check whether you require permission or approval for the work 

Depending on the precise nature of the improvement work you are proposing, you might need to obtain multiple types of permission or approval before that work can commence.

Even seemingly rudimentary tweaks, like replacing windows or doors, could necessitate building regulations approval. Meanwhile, if you will be building a new structure or making a significant change like an extension, planning permission will typically be needed.

2. Visit your local planning office if unsure

Informally visit your local planning office and ask them if what you have in mind will require planning authorisation. Making any changes to a listed building will require planning permission.

3. Building regulations

Regardless of whether or not planning permission is required, any renovation project must comply with building regulations. You’ll need to ensure whoever carries out the work can either self-certify the work they do (for example, FENSA accredited window fitters, Gas Safe registered gas engineers and NICEIC registered electricians and so on) or will liaise with the local Building Control Officers at your council to have their work certified.

If the requirements aren’t met, you could be served with a notice to take the extension down and will have trouble when it comes to selling your home without the relevant Building Regulations certificates.

4. Work out the costs

How much your extension will cost depends on many factors, not least of which is the quality and complexity of the design. As a rough guide, a cost of £1,000–£2,000 per square metre should be expected. You will typically need to employ an architect/designer, depending on the extension you also need to appoint a structural engineer and you may also opt to appoint a Quantity Surveyor, which will be an additional cost. In most cases building control will require certain drawings, calculations in order to sign off the works.

Balance the budget for your extension with the value it will add to the overall property. See the advice of a quantity surveyor to guage a cost estimate or value engineer your build to provide savings.

5. Designing an extension – Finding an architect

Depending on the scale of the project, you may wish to involve an architect. There’s no law saying you need to use an architect, even for large renovations and builds, but some people find it easier to have a professional draw up the designs. Using an architect will generally mean you’ll get a better end result, however, their fees are usually around 15%, so you’ll need to factor this into your budget.

Getting construction work done? Want more information on excavation work in construction? Not sure if excavations is covered by the party wall act? Need to give a notice of adjacent excavation? SevenOne Associates are happy to help with any excavation notices.

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