Do you feel that your house would be perfect for you if you just had a bit of extra space, perhaps another bedroom, a playroom for the children or a larger dining area that opens out onto the garden? Extending your home to get the space you need rather than moving could be the right choice for you, but with so many options available and so much to know about the legal side of things it can be difficult to know where to start.
With that in mind, this article, produced by Durrants Building Consultancy in collaboration with the Mortgage Advice Bureau, gives you’re an overview of what to consider including planning permission and building regulations, costings and the importance of choosing the right architect and builder.
Do I need planning permission for my extension?
The general rule around planning permission is the larger and more significant improvements are likely to need planning permission from your local planning authority, and the smaller, less obtrusive improvements are not likely to need permission – this is known as ‘permitted development’.
Whether you need planning permission or not depends on a number of factors. As long as the plans for your extension adhere to the following rules, you won’t have to get planning permission for the work:
- The extension isn’t higher than the highest part of the roof of the house.
- If a single-storey rear extension, it should not extend more than 3m beyond the original wall of the house, if a semi or terraced house, or 4m if a detached house.
- A two-storey or more extension should not extend more than 3m beyond the original wall of the house.
- The maximum height of a single-storey rear extension is 4m.
- A single-storey side extension should have a maximum height of 4m, and the width should be no more than half that of the original house.
- A two-storey extension has to be at least 7m to the rear boundary.
- Materials used need to be similar or match the appearance of the house.
- No balconies or raised platform
Different rules apply though if you have a Listed Building or are in a Conservation Area or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) or a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). If any of these apply please ring us for advice on 01379 646603.
It is good practice to apply to your local council for a ‘Lawful Use Certificate’ to confirm that your plans are indeed permitted development. This will provide evidence that the extension doesn’t require planning permission and it is good evidence if you need to prove this in the future, for example if you move house and someone asks whether permission was granted.
The Planning Portal interactive house is an excellent tool for people to get a visual idea Use this link Interactive House – Planning Portal
You may also need to have a Party Wall Agreement drawn up between yourselves and any neighbours whom the building work might affect.
Please note – if you’re planning to extend a new build house then you might need permission from the developer who may charge you a fee.
What are ‘building regulations’?
Complying with building regulations is a requirement for any type of extension as it confirms that the work carried out is structurally sound. Building regulations cover such aspects as drainage, electrics, external and internal walls, roofs etc. But first things first, you’ll need to get the architect to draw up the plans that you can then submit.
To read the full list of planning permission and building regulations, contact your local council for more information.
East Suffolk Council
South Norfolk Council
How much will my home extension cost?
Obviously the cost of an extension will vary depending on what you want and where you live. There are lots of different suggestions out there on how much an extension costs. A lot of these figures are worked out per square metre, for instance, a single-storey extension would typically cost around £1,500 per square metre. So if you were having a 3x5m extension, it might cost around £22,500 for a single-storey, or up to £50,000 for a two-storey if you want one builder to construct the whole extension. The cost will vary totally on the standard of fittings you might want in the extension, for example if you want a bespoke oak kitchen then clearly this will be more expensive.
Once you know what sort of extension you’d like, the best thing to do is get a few builders to come round and give you a ballpark quote for the cost although we recommend to get an accurate quote you will need detailed architects drawings and details usually best for these to be building regulation drawings as these will specify exactly what is required to build the extension, although you will still need to choose colours, power point locations etc.
How do I know who’s the best builder and architect for the job?
When it comes to choosing your architect and builder, you want to know that you’re using someone who is reliable, honest, experienced and capable, after all, you’re about to spend a significant amount of money on your long-term home. It is important to ensure any architect is qualified and has the required professional indemnity insurance. Some practices are architectural designers and not actually qualified architects so ask to check their qualifications if you specifically want to use an architect.
Similarly, you want a builder who is experienced and good at their craft, so it’s worth asking to look at their portfolio to get an idea of previous jobs they have worked on and what their capabilities are. Also, prepare a brief for them so they know as much about the job as possible – obviously you can share architect’s plans if you already have them. Don’t be shy about getting a 3 or 4 builders to give you quotes, and be sure to check exactly what their quote includes.
Here at Durrants Building Consultancy we have two qualified Chartered Architects who would be more than happy to discuss your home aspirations. We’ve been established in Norfolk and Suffolk for many years too, take a look at our portfolio. Over the years we’ve built a good network of tradespeople who we can recommend.
When it’s time to make your final decision it’s often a case of weighing up the quote with the time scales. For instance, one builder might be cheaper than another but has a 4-month waiting time, whereas another builder who is slightly more expensive might be able to start in the next month, so it all depends what’s most important to you.
How can I fund my home extension?
There are several options for funding an extension project. You can take out a loan for the house extension from your existing mortgage lender, or you could consider re-mortgaging. We recommend that you contact a specialist mortgage and finance expert. Durrants are proud to partner with Mortgage Advice Bureau who have a friendly, local team and can offer advice on the very latest mortgage and loan products available.
For further information about any of the information in this article please contact Durrants Building Consultancy on 01379 646603.