8 things you need to know before building a house extension

Bayfield Architecture - Newcastle upon Tyne - tips to design and plan your house extension renovation

So, you’re thinking about extending your home?

Most people are full of enthusiasm and keen to crack on with a new project. With a little thought, careful planning and patience (and professional advice!) you are much more likely to get your desired end result. Here are 8 key things we think you need to know before you buy a kitchen or start ordering new furniture!!

1) Quality

Why do you want to extend your home?

It might be your forever home and you’re extending to maximise the space for your long term enjoyment. Or you may want to change or upgrade the property into your ultimate dream home. You may already have your home in a great location with no intent on moving again. You may simply want to gain extra space. If this is the case your project is much more about maximising the day-to-day value or experience of your home, and usually a better quality building is required.

If your project is about increasing the value of your property it’s always worth speaking to local estate agents to get a feeling for the potential value your home has. There will be a glass ceiling in your area, and in relation to your plot and setting, so a careful balance needs to be struck between producing a high standard of finish and not spending more than will be recouped on sale.

If you need to create extra space short term until you can afford to move, it’s important to think about how much you will spend on your house extension versus the cost of moving. Remember to factor in removal costs, legal fees, stamp duty and resettlement expenses.

2) Cost

What budget do you have to complete your project?

Setting a realistic, affordable budget is important so your design time isn’t wasted and so the final design is something that can be delivered on time and within budget. As professional architects Bayfield Architecture will always try to bring projects in under budget whilst providing best value solutions and ensuring your expectations are realistic throughout.

3) Time

How long is it going to take?

You need to allow time to design, get your permissions, tender and get the builder scheduled. A typical project might take:

  • 1 ½ months survey and design time prior to planning
  • 2 ½ months in the planning process
  • 1 ½ months to produce working drawings and submit for building control for approval
  • 2 to 4 weeks to tender a project
  • 2 weeks to mobilise a contractor to start

If there are additional requirements associated with gaining Planning Permission and Building Control approval this can delay the process. However a professional architect will usually foresee planning and building control issues before they arise and be able to address them when they do.

4) Services

Electricity, gas, water and drainage

Consider the space you want to develop. Is the the area you’re planning to extend going to affect the services to your property? And don’t forget drainage! Sometimes adopted by the local water board, particularly when shared with neighbours. If you intend your extension to be built over an adopted sewer, a ‘build over sewer’ application will be necessary.

5) Planning & NeighboursBayfield Architecture - Newcastle upon Tyne - architectural design and planning services for your home - North East England

If you don’t already speak to your neighbours, now is the time to start! Explain your project over a coffee and get them on board early, typically pre-planning stage.

Don’t be alarmed if your neighbours are not in favour of your proposals. They may want to offload concerns and objections without listening to your facts. Stay calm and let them have their say. Record their thoughts or objections and pass this to your architect; there is often an easy alteration that resolves any perceived issues.

If your neighbours still object, they may ultimately have to raise a Material Planning Objection and submit this to your local authority who will decide whether or not there concerns are material and determine if your proposals are acceptable.

6) Design Style

Use magazines, catalogues, Google Images and Pinterest to assemble ideas about the styles you like, and to identify the ones you want to stay away from.

7) The Project

Think beyond the house extension itself and remember to factor in how the extension will affect the rest of your home. You may need to budget for spending money elsewhere in your home to make improvements to the overall living space. If you can, why not get all the home improvements done together to save time, mess and money?

8) SustainabilityBayfield Architecture - Newcastle upon Tyne - sustainable green architectural draughting services for residential and commercial properties

Is your development an opportunity to improve the thermal performance and lower the running costs of your new home?

Your existing house may currently suffer thermally in areas due to condensation, single glazed windows, poor ventilation and the lack of loft insulation. This could be an ideal time to improve the sustainability of your home whilst saving you money in the long term.

Older properties have the most to gain in this respect, there are many easy wins if you know what to look for. We can advise you on the best strategies to make a leap in thermal efficiency in your home.


What do you think of our list? Are you think about extending or renovating your home? To arrange a free architectural design consultation or for planning advice please contact us, we’d love to hear from you!

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