Managing an Extension: What to Bear in Mind

If you’re looking to create a bit of extra space to your property, building an extension could be the ideal solution. By improving your existing home, you can avoid the hassle and potentially heavy cost of moving.

Extensions are a popular choice for homeowners who have outgrown their living space, and they could also have the added bonus of increasing the value of their property.

However there are a few factors to keep in mind before starting an extension project. It is crucial that you fully understand and anticipate costs, as well as comply with building regulations and other legal requirements such as planning permission.

Beware of mounting costs

It is easy to get grand ideas about ways to extend your property but it is important to be practical and set a realistic budget that you can stick to. Costs can mount up at an alarmingly quick rate. As well as the price of the build itself, it is necessary to factor in additional costs for the interiors, such as flooring and furniture, any finishing touches you might want to add, and various other fees.

The general rule of thumb is to allocate £1,000-£2,000 per square metre, and an extra 10-20% of the build budget for a contingency fund. Try not to blow your budget too quickly, allowing for an emergency fund to fall back on just in case.

Avoid rushing the project

Extension projects are not easy tasks and can take a lengthy period to complete. Finding the right contractors and builders, planning the project, and liaising with the local authorities to gain permission all takes time. Understand that there may be a few minor set-backs which prevent the project running smoothly.

Consider the purpose of the extension

Be certain on your extension plans before going ahead. Ask yourself: Is that extra bathroom really necessary? Will a loft conversion give you much usable space? Is there really enough room to build a decent sized bedroom? And do you need a bigger living room area? At times you may need to compromise your initial plans in order to fit within your budget and what is feasible.

Loft and basement conversions are popular forms of extending a property but both bring with them their own complications. Ceiling height, flooring structure and safe access can be major issues. If you are simply looking for more space or your budget doesn’t stretch too far, that extra bedroom or room may well be best suited to be a direct extension to your house instead.

Check you have planning permission

Planning permission is sometimes not needed as house extensions can be classified as a permitted development. Certain conditions need to be met though, the details of which can be found at It is also polite to notify your neighbours of your extension plans. As long as your extension plans are within the boundary of your property there should be no problems, although extensions that are within a certain distance of the boundary or on the boundary may need to follow what is known as the Party Wall procedure with the neighbouring properties.

Know the building regulations

Any house extension requires Building Regulations approval to verify that the project is safe. A project needs to be structurally sound, providing safe foundations, roofing, flooring, drainage and electrics. This is something to discuss with your contractor; plans need to be presented to and approved by your local council’s building control team.

Find the right builder

Perhaps a factor that is often overlooked, finding the right builder for the job is essential. In order to shape your dream home you will want to find a reputable builder who you can rely on to create an excellent extension without cutting corners. If you are unable to seek a builder through word-of-mouth, the National Federation of Builders provides a great resource to search for recommendations.

Look around at various builders and shortlist a couple to approach. In order to hire the best man for the job, always ask a builder for references or a portfolio of their work so that you can see how successful previous projects have been.

When working out the costings of the project, ask for a direct quotation rather than a price estimate. Written quotes offer a breakdown of all of the project costs and a clear end total.

In order to make your dream home or property project a reality, we offer bridging loans that can help fund your extension project. Get in touch with Affirmative about our various bridging loans on 08000 44 84 84, or email us at