22 August 2021
By Roger Jones
Adding an extension is one of the biggest decisions you can make as a homeowner,
it’s also by far one of the most exciting projects you can embark on!
Like with all big decisions in life, proper planning and research is absolutely essential in order to achieve the best results. AD Services have put together a top 10 list of things to consider when building your dream house extension.
1. Be sure that your Extension adds value
For a house extension to make financial sense, you really need to make sure that the overall value added to the property is greater than the cost of the project itself. This can be a difficult thing to assess initially, but with a bit of research you can find properties in the locality that have undergone similar transformations and check out how much they’ve sold for.
2. Figure Out What Type of Extension You Want
Before deciding to embark on the project you’ll have to narrow down what sort of extension you’ll want to construct. It’s imperative that you spend some time examining how you currently use the existing space in your home and that the work you’re about to undertake will improve the overall quality of life in the space. More often than not, people dive headfirst into a building extension without thinking about what they actually need, instead they’re merely just adding space on. Don’t simply settle for a quick fix, put some thought into what will really benefit you in the long run – This could be a bigger kitchen, a sunroom extension or just an overall expansion of the living space.
3. Set your budget early
From the outset, you should have a realistic budget in mind and prepare a list of things you’re not willing to compromise on and some trade-offs you’ll allow along the way. Prepare this budget before any work begins and also put aside a contingency fund – During the building process it’s not unheard of to discover underlying issues like damp or problematic structural areas that will need rectifying. It’s very easy to lose the run of yourself and include every single thing on your wish-list but this is a sure-fire to find yourself in trouble, especially if you’re stretching your budget from day one. Be open about your budget, consult with a member of our House Extensions Cork team about the work you’d like done and they will assist you in modifying your plans to ensure you stay within your financial comfort zone.
4. Planning Permissions
Depending on the type of build you go for, you may not need planning permissions but in most cases you do. If you are in doubt you can get in touch with your local authority and request a Section 5 Declaration to be absolutely sure, this will tell you whether or not you need planning permission for the build. From here it’s absolutely vital to abide by all building regulations in order to avoid fines and other sanctions.
5. Consult your neighbours & Do Your Research
For obvious reasons, you should always touch base with your neighbours and inform them of plans. Regardless of whether you need planning permission or not it’s common courtesy to make those living next to you aware of your build. This can also be a great source of information as neighbours may have engaged in similar works and know more about the foundations of the homes or other useful knowledge about the site. Also, when it comes to choosing a contractor that’s right for you, again ask your neighbours, they may have a personal recommendation! Failing this, search “builders Cork” or “Construction Companies Cork” and find an option that suits you.
6. Simplistic Design
In terms of the actual shape your extension will take, try to keep things as close to square as possible. This will allow you to place a nice, clean roof on the extension that avoids dealing with complex details like dips and valleys. A flat, insulated roof is a great option especially when paired with a skylight – This is also the cheapest option by far. However, you can opt for a shallow-lean type roof with relatively inexpensive concrete cladding.
7. Time Is Money
Think about how long the works will take – You’ve got to factor in a number of elements.
- 1 month for surveying and design time
- 2 months for the planning process
- 1 month – 6 weeks for working drawings and planning approval
- 2-4 weeks to tender an overall project
- 2 weeks to organise a contractor to begin works.
Also be prepared for delays to happen, allocate additional time so you’re not caught off guard. Planning permission (If required) can sometimes be quite a drawn-out process so keep this in mind.
When work begins on your site your contractor should be able to give you an estimated timeframe on how long it while take to complete the build. Depending on whether you will be occupying the space while the build takes place, some elements may need to be completed on a phased basis. You may also need to account for our lovely Irish weather which may impede construction.
Improving the overall thermal performance of your home and lowering running costs should be at the forefront of any decisions made. Older properties have the most to gain in this sense as they may be suffering thermally from things like poor ventilation, lack of attic insulation and more. It’s important to consider cavity wall insulation, energy-efficient windows, heating (will your current system be able to handle the demands of your new plans?) and even things like solar panels.
When entering into the design stage any decent architect will be able to advise on the best overall strategies on how to improve your homes overall thermal performance.
Do you want your extension to make a statement? Or would you prefer it to blend in naturally? Ultimately, the materials you choose will bring the structure to life. Be sure to do your homework before diving in but also collaborate with your contractor and architects in order to make the right choice. Timber cladding is becoming more and more popular as homeowners are striving for a rustic feel, alternatively, large spans of glazing and grey slates are a trendy option for a modern approach.
10. Choose Quality & Know-How
Choosing the right building contractor is the most important aspect of all. Your dream can very quickly become a nightmare if you end up with a contractor who is out of their depth. By working with AD Services, you’re getting over 20 years of experience in every aspect of the building field. At AD, we specialise in house extensions, refurbishments and restorations. Whether you’re looking for kitchen extensions, loft conversions or even bathroom renovations, we have the expertise required to handle the project and make the entire process as relaxing as possible.
Before you embark on building that extension of your dreams, get in touch with AD Services – Specialists in extensions, restorations, conversions and more. With over 20+ years’ experience we bring far more to the table than your average Cork builder.