Have you recently embarked on a renovation project or have you outgrown your current house and need extra space? Here are my 5 top tips on things you may want to consider before getting started on extending your home:

1 – Do you need planning permission?

Although the majority of extensions can go ahead without seeking planning permission, there are a strict set of rules and guidelines that an extension must meet for it to be classed as permitted development. For peace of mind and to ensure compliance, you can apply for a lawful development certificate from the local authority. They will confirm whether or not planning permission is required.

2 – What is wrong with your current house?

Make a list of what works and what doesn’t work with the layout of your existing home. Include as much detail as you can about how you would like to live and use the space. You can then present this to your architect or designer so they have a clear brief from the outset. The proposals will be much more personal this way and respond to the brief rather than just adding more space for the sake of it.

Brook Cottage, Nottingham

3 – How to avoid cowboy builders.

Ask your friends and family for recommendations. Your architect should also have an approved list of builders that they use regularly. Often some of the best builders don’t have a presence online because they get all of their work through word of mouth.

4 – Be considerate to neighbours.

Of course, you’re free to carry on extending your home in whatever way you like (so long as you have the appropriate permission!) but do bear a thought for your neighbours. It’s courteous to keep your neighbours in the loop early in the design process and this can avoid any unwanted disputes.

5 – Set a budget.

Speak to your architect from the outset about how much you would like to spend. Construction costs are ever increasing and even for a small and modest extension, the costs can soon escalate.

Traditionally, I would have recommended inviting 2/3 builders for to provide a quotation. However, good builders are often very busy and do not need to tender competitively to win work so this process doesn’t always provide the desired results.

My advice would be to research and create a shortlist of builders you would like to work with based on their feedback and recently completed projects. Meet with each and then enter into negotiations with your preferred builder to provide a quotation. The builder is more likely to work with you and provide alternative options to keep within your budget this way. Your architect can always review their quotation to ensure it is an accurate reflection of the work to be undertaken.

If you have a project in mind or would like to discuss anything about your home, please get in touch .