Looking for home extension advice? Want to understand how to navigate the complicated journey of translating your needs into a practical, affordable scheme? In this blog we aim to explain how best to manage the initial design and budgeting stage of your building project.
Summer is often the time when we all decide to definitely go ahead with that much longed-for house extension project. CLPM often get calls from potential clients, who have just returned from their summer holidays with no more really than a sketch on a paper napkin, and who say they want to start building as soon as they can.
Whilst we’re obviously delighted to hear from them, and very happy to help, the first bit of advice we always give them is don’t be in too much of a rush! If you want to make sure your home extension project goes smoothly, then approaching it in a patient, structured way from the outset is crucial.
Home Extension Advice : Use an Architect
Before you rush headlong into finding a builder, think first about what you want to achieve for your home:-
- How are you using the rooms in your home at the moment?
- Is every space being used effectively?
- What do you feel you need the extra room for?
- Could it be that some refurbishing and configuring of the existing space could be enough?
- Perhaps a combination of remodelling and extending would work?
- How are your needs going to change in the future?
Simply building a big chunk on the back or side of your house with no design-input can look clumsy. Whilst this may have been OK back in the 1960’s, homeowners are now a more discerning bunch. Nowadays even more modest new build starter homes have features such open-plan kitchen diners with French windows or bi-fold doors. Buyers are increasingly looking for houses that deliver the lifestyle they’re looking for. If you forget this, you could end up spending money on your extension that won’t translate to adding any value to your house.
It may be worth looking at what your neighbours have done, or talking to local estate agents to get a feel for how best you could add value to your home. A visit to an event such as Grand Designs Live or the Home Building & Renovation Show will probably give you some ideas too. (By the way, if you do go to Grand Designs Live you could pop along and meet us – we attend both their London and Birmingham shows as their Project Management Experts)
Once you’ve got a better feel, and maybe have thought of a few options you’d like to discuss, then it’s time to talk to an architect. Architects and designers are adept at helping you think through the potential for your existing home. Good ones will also open your eyes to some more creative options you may not have even considered! While architectural designs come at a cost, they will save you money in the long run, and will definitely result in your home looking and feeling more cohesive. This, in itself, will make your home more attractive and sale-able in the future, and mean your building project money is wisely invested.
Home Extension Advice : Budget for your Build
Step 1 – Calculate your Maximum Budget
If you are planning to extend your home, don’t just aim to build the biggest extension you can afford. It’s always wise to consider how much money you actually should be investing in the property. Every street and house has a ceiling when it comes to its value. The value of your home right now, plus the money you set aside for your total building budget should always be well within the maximum ceiling for your home. If you’re unsure of the current value of your home then take a look online sites such as Rightmove and chat to your local estate agent.
Remember this budget will need to cover all the building works. This will be not just the cost of the extension, but any other works that need to happen to the existing house, such as re-carpeting, redecorating or upgrading your boiler and radiators in the current areas of the house.
The maximum budget should also always include a suitable contingency figure. This contingency amount is an extra amount to put aside for any unforeseen additional costs. Typically, this is set at 10-15% of the cost of the building works. Do not be tempted to cut this, as doing so will inevitably mean that you will overspend!
Step 2 – Discuss this Home Extension Budget with your Architect or Designer
Once you have determined what your maximum budget is, you need to share this information with your architect. Don’t keep it a secret or allow design ideas to snowball. It’s important that you constantly refer back to this budget and check that the plans for your home extension and architectural designs are developed with this sum in mind. As explained before, this is important not only from the perspective of current affordability but also to ensure you don’t over-develop your home and lose money should you need to sell it later down the line. Once you have completed the initial design stage it’s time to check your designs are affordable with a construction cost expert such as CLPM.
Step 3 – Double-Check your Home Extension Plans Match Your Budget
Most architects will admit they are designers, not construction cost experts. They will only work to a rough, average cost per square metre figure for their designs. For example, the cost of a single storey extension in the UK is generally thought to average out at around £1,200 to £1500 per square metre. In London and the South East the industry quoted construction costs for a single storey extension rise to approximately £1,500 to £2,000 per square metre. So, using these figures an architect would probably guess that a 10m by 5m extension in London could cost between £75,000 and £100,000. Construction costs also vary according to your level of finish – are aiming for a basic or a top-end look? Are you including a new kitchen? If you are, you may need to add anything from £5,000 to £20,000 to the figure for the extra plumbing plus the units and additional equipment.
As you can see, using these figures as your only guide would be quite inaccurate and dangerous. They’d really only be guesswork at best. It therefore makes sense to get a professional Quantity Surveying professional to use your specific plans to accurately estimate your individual home extension costs.
CLPM provide this service – we create a personalised estimated budget figure for you. Our budget report gives you a line by line breakdown of the anticipated cost for your architectural plans, including all the many often forgotten elements that will be required to carry out the build such as the emptying of skips or renting a portaloo.
It is this estimated budget figure which will then help you refine your designs with your architect. It will also form the basis of a benchmark for the quotations you will receive from the builders in the next step – going out to tender.
We go through how to approach the tender stage in our next blog – Home Extension Advice : Part 2 – Tender Stage.
If you’d like to understand more about how CLPM can help you with your home extension project then get in touch. Call 01923 896550 email email@example.com or complete a contact form.