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Spending a lot of time in our homes over the last year, many of us how contemplated ways we can improve our space. One solution that comes to mind is house extensions.

With a global pandemic, leaving many of us stuck at home, we’ve had plenty of time to evaluate our living space. Perhaps you’ve realised how much you’d benefit from a larger kitchen with a dining area. Maybe you could do with a dedicated space for a home office. Whatever the reason for adding more space to your home, house extensions are a brilliant solution.

However, house extensions require a lot of planning, such as how big the budget is, what size you need your extension to be, and working out if you need planning permission.

As experienced contractors, we fully understand that for someone not as familiar with these projects, it can quickly become overwhelming. There is a lot to think about, after all.

That is why we have answered 5 of the most common questions that we get asked about house extensions.

1.      How big should a house extension be?

This isn’t really any guide to how big your house extension should be. The best place to start is to work out how much space you actually need to add to your home. It’s easy to assume that you should add as big of an extension as you can. However, bigger doesn’t always mean better. Bigger projects need bigger budgets and will take longer to complete so it’s important to consider how big of an extension is necessary. To do this you should think about the exact purpose of your new space. From here you can work out how big it needs to be.

There may also be restrictions on how big your house extension can be. Permitted Development Rights can allow you to build an extension without the need for planning permission, but it only covers projects up to a certain size. If it is larger you will likely have to apply for planning permission.

2.      Will my house extension need planning permission?

Planning permission can extra costs to your house extension projects and requires more paperwork to be completed. As mentioned above, you’ll be glad to know that you can often undertake home extension projects without the need for planning permission. This is because most projects will be covered by Permitted Development Rights. Permitted Development allows you to complete work under what is referred to as ‘implied consent'.

It is worth noting that you not necessarily guaranteed to be covered by Permitted Development. There are some restrictions that may result in you needing to apply for planning permission. These include where the property is located, the type of building it is and how many changes previous owners have already made.

3.      Will a house extension add value to my home?

As a homeowner, I’m sure you have thought about how an extension may add value to your home. This is good to know if you’re thinking of selling at some point in the future. This question is very subjective though. How much value a house extension will add to your home depends on a few things, such as the financial aspect of the project. For it to make economical sense, the value that it adds to your property will need to be greater than the cost of the project itself.

Another example would be the quality of work completed. It’s all well and good adding the extra space, but if the work isn’t finished to a high standard, it might not add as much value as you’d think.

4.      Can I extend above an existing single-storey?

The simple answer to this question is yes. You are able to extend on top of an existing single-storey extension. However, there are a few factors to take into account. One is the stability of the existing building. It will need to be assessed as to whether the current structure can support the load of another storey. Although most extensions should have suitable foundations to do this, it is not a guarantee and you should always have your property examined.

If an examination shows that it is not stable enough, there are options to ensure that you can still extend above it. This includes strengthening the existing framework or bypassing it. It is also possible to underpin its foundations if they are too shallow. The other option would be to demolish the current extension completely and replacing it. In some cases, this may be the most budget-friendly option.

If you are wanting to extend above an existing extension, this may also impact if you will be covered by permitted development right. This is because the old extension may have used up most of the quota that each property is allowed.

5.      What is the Party Wall Act?

The Party Wall Act is legislation that has been put in place to help avoid disputes between neighbouring property owners. The Act relates to issues to do with party walls and boundaries. This includes walls that stand on the land of 2 or more landowners (e.g. semi-detached and terraced houses), as well as structures that are shared (e.g. floors and flats).

You will need to be aware of this if you are intending to undertake a project that will involve carrying out work on land or structures covered by the Party Wall Act. If this is the case you will need to give relevant parties notice of your intentions, with a ‘party wall notice’. They will then have to agree to this proposed project, which will form a Party Wall Agreement.

Find out more about the Party Wall Act on the Gov.uk website!

We hope that this post has helped to answer most of your questions. We know that you wil likely have more queries about adding a house extension to your home. If you do, we are always here to help and are only a phone call away. If you have a project in mind, you can easily Request a Quote.