How do you go about extending your home?

Improve your home with a unsecured loan from Simple Fast Loans…

Spring is in the air, and at this time of year many of us begin to feel motivated to feather our nests and improve our homes. This is probably the case this year more than ever. The last year of lockdowns and other Covid restrictions has led to many of us spending more time in our home, and made us realise all the things that need to be done to improve it. 

In particular you may well be thinking about extending your living space if at all possible. But how straightforward is it to do this? What kind of permission do you need and how do you get started?

In this article we are going to look at:

  • Do I need planning permission to extend my home?
  • What do I need to do about building regulations?
  • Do I need to let the neighbours know?
  • Who is the best person to design and build my extension?
  • How much will it all cost?


Do I need planning permission to extend my home?

If you are hoping to add an extension or conservatory to your home you do not usually need planning permission. These building works are classed as permitted developments. 

Some examples where your work would need planning permission are if your extended area:

  • will cover over 50% of the land around your original property;
  • is larger than 8 metres from the rear wall for a detached house or 6 metres for semi-detached or terraced house;
  • extends forward at either the front or side of your property that faces onto a road;
  • is to be built onto a listed building or in a designated area such as a conservation area.

The best thing to do is to find out if your project will need planning permission by getting in touch with your local planning authority (LPA) through your local council.


Do I need to let the neighbours know?

If your new structure is going to extend further than 4 metres from your rear wall for a detached house, or 3 metres for a semi-detached/terraced, you need to let your Local Planning Authority know by making a Prior Approval application. 

As part of this process your Local Authority will then consult your adjoining neighbours to advise them of your planned development. If any of your neighbours raise any concerns or objections, the local authority will investigate these and then make a decision as to whether your plans can go ahead.

Even if your new structure is not large enough to require the Prior Approval process, it is still a good idea to let your neighbours know what is happening. They may be affected by noise or dust from your building work, so it is courteous to prepare them for this. 

Also by letting them know in advance you reduce the risk of any complaints about your work afterwards. For example, if a neighbour feels that your new structure is going to block their light, it is better to try and sort this out in advance than possibly risk ongoing conflict – or even legal action – once the work is completed.


What do I need to do about building regulations?

Whether or not your extension does need planning permission, you will definitely need to comply with Building Regulations. There are two ways of doing this.

  • Full Plan Submission

This is the more detailed way to check that your work complies with building regulations. You will need to submit your building plans for approval before the work starts. You apply to your local authority building control team. They will approve the work before it starts, and also arrange for a building inspector to visit your site as work progresses to check that it all complies.

  • Building Notice

It can be quicker to start your work and inform your local authority building control team at least 48 hours in advance. This is known as a Building Notice. You need to confirm that the work will comply with building regulations and accept that building inspectors will inspect the work at regular intervals to check this and advise you of any problems.

If you do not want to deal with your local authority yourself, this side of things can be handled by your builders if they are registered with a competent person scheme. Let’s take a look at what this means.


Who is the best person to design and build my extension?

Apart from the compliance procedures we have just been looking at, the key thing to make your extension succeed is finding the right person to design and build it for you. Someone who can convert your dreams into reality.

The easiest thing is to find a company or tradesperson who can both design and build, and who can oversee everything for you. A good place to start is the Competent Person Register. This is a list of tradespeople who are authorised by the UK Government to self-certify that their work complies with the Building Regulations. This can save the time and effort of having to liaise with a building control team.

It is also good to find reliable companies and tradespeople through word of mouth. So ask around to see if anyone you know has had a recent positive experience of an extension or conservatory installation. Online reviews with independent sites such as TrustPilot can also be helpful.

Whoever you choose, make sure that they are well-covered for professional indemnity insurance, just in case anything goes wrong. It is also a good idea to get a warranty for your building work, so that you are covered for any structural defects or faulty workmanship that emerges later on.


How much will it all cost?

Costs will vary enormously depending how large your extension is, the type of extension you want, and where you are located. A very rough guideline is around £1000-£2500 per square metre.

You can save money by keeping to a design with a simple shape and flat roof, and sticking with cheaper building materials such as concrete. Also consider whether there are parts of the work that you could finish off yourself, such as plastering or flooring, to keep the costs down.

If you need any additional funding during your building work, remember that Simple Fast Loans are here to help. An unsecured loan could bridge the financial gap and help you get that work started sooner rather than later.


Good luck with your new extension, and remember to check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Simple Fast Loans.