Extending your home is a great idea when you adore the area, your kids go to amazing schools and the neighbours are lovely but you just don’t have enough space to live comfortably. You need creative and thoughtful designs that take into account the requirements of your own family including special ideas you already have such as an orangery or feature bi-fold doors as well as any budgetary constraints you need us to take into consideration.
We help our clients through the whole process from advice about whether planning permission is needed (the work might be ‘permitted development’) to providing Building Regulation details so you can get accurate quotes from builders. We can recommend specialists to assist with legal matters such as restrictive covenants and party wall issues. We will even recommend builders if you’d like, for your own peace of mind, and we are very willing to be the consultant project manager throughout the life of the project to make sure everything runs smoothly for you.
The majority of larger extensions require planning permission although smaller extensions can often be built under permitted development rights. This can be a tricky area as the legislation is rather complicated but we are always on hand to guide our clients in the right direction. We have an unblemished track record in achieving planning permission – every planning application we have made has been granted consent. Not every architect can say this; we are proud of our success.
The process will usually start with a phone call or an email. Once we know the address and can get a feel for the size and complexity of the proposed project we’re able to give a fixed quotation for our fee and the likely planning and Building Control costs. Our fee includes a range of options – as many as we can think of – and any amendments or alterations we make to the drawings are included in the price until you are delighted with the proposed extension and internal layout.
Before we can start work on the designs we will come to see you and talk through what you want to achieve. Most clients want more spacious living accommodation with the popular open plan kitchen/dining/family living area across the rear of the home being high on the list, as well as more bedrooms and bathrooms with perhaps a loft or garage conversion.
Some people have specific requirements such as a dog wetroom or runner’s shower (or somewhere to send muddy football-playing kids) downstairs, convenient to an exterior door so the muddy one can be within the bathroom quickly before too many drips fall, or an integral bike store for those expensive items that are too valuable to leave out in a shed. We’ll ask you questions; a family with independent teenagers has a different set of requirements to parents with young children or babies who want a large kitchen/family room downstairs with maybe a play room and bedrooms close together upstairs.
We will help you to reconfigure the existing layout as well as adding additional rooms depending on your family circumstances so, for example, elderly parents in need of some close family support can enjoy the company of the youngsters but have privacy and peace when they need a snooze or just time alone.
Once we have taken photographs, made sketches and formed a careful note of all necessary measurements the creative work starts. We will give you a full set of plans and elevations of the existing property as well as a range of options for you to choose from for your new project. Once the drawings are ready we’ll arrange to see you again so we can present our ideas to you and talk through with you which options we think will suit you best. Sometimes clients make an immediate decision as to their favourite set of designs, more usually people ask for a day or so to consider at their leisure. That’s absolutely fine, just let us know when you’ve decided.
We’ll make any amendments completely free of charge, and then submit the planning application if necessary on your behalf. The government charges £206 in planning fees for an extension to a residential property. The process takes around eight weeks – four weeks for the neighbour consultation period and a further four weeks for the appointed planning officer to visit the site, consider the application and then make a formal decision.
Planning permission, once granted, lasts for three years although once you’ve started constructing the project the permission never expires. This is one area where we can be very helpful – if you hope in the future to, say, have a loft extension but right now only have the budget for an extension we could draw both projects as ‘Phase 1’ and ‘Phase 2’ so when you were ready to do the second project you’d already have the plans drawn up. Great value, and inspired forward thinking.
If your property lies in a Conservation Area we’ll make sure our designs are sympathetic to the surrounding environment. We’ll give you advice about the likely implication of a Tree Preservation Order on an extension you’d like to construct as well as other guidance such as if the property lies in a Flood Risk area.
Even if you do not need planning permission for your extension because you are using permitted development rights, you must get Building Control approval. The Building Regulations set out minimum requirements for structural integrity, fire safety, energy efficiency, damp proofing, ventilation and other key aspects that ensure a building is safe and comfortable to live in.
Most repair work or renovations to the existing building is excluded from the Building Regulations with the exceptions of replacement windows, underpinning and rewiring. However, apart from certain new buildings such as sheds, outbuildings and some conservatories, all new building work, including alterations, must comply with the Building Regulations.
Typical examples of work needing to comply with Building Regulations:
- Home extensions including a loft or garage conversion and basement.
- Internal structural alterations, such as the removal of a load-bearing wall or chimney.
- Installation of baths, showers and WCs which involve new drainage or waste plumbing.
- New or altered openings for new windows.
- Installation of new heating appliances although the installer can be part of a competent person self-certification scheme.
- New chimneys or flues.
Our fixed fee includes the Building Regulation drawings and details that will be required by Building Control and your builder, and we can recommend a structural engineer to provide the structural calculations that Building Control will need.
Please don’t be put off by how complicated this all sounds! Trust us, we have done it all before and have enabled hundreds of householders to extend their homes without any fuss. We’re there for you from your very first idea to helping you select builders and then celebrating the finished project when that final coat of paint has been applied.
Why not jot your details down here and we’ll get in touch with you? Or please do give us a ring to discuss your ideas or ask any questions you might have on 01143 211787.