What do I need before I build my extension?

Home extensions are complicated, there is no doubt about it. There are loads of decisions that need to be made by you (the homeowner); not to mention the different professions and trades that need to be involved during the process. House extension companies in London should be able to help guide you through the entire process. We are an architectural firm and provide architectural design, planning permission and detailed drawings (otherwise known as your building regulations pack). We also have a recommended builder who can take over the build phase for you is wish. Here at Home Tales, we fully understand the importance of feeling guided and secure during the entire process – not just one phase of it. For this reason, we also offer advice on anything that crops up during the entire process – be that Thames Water agreements, Building Control queries, Party Wall matters, and anything else that might arise. 

If you have made the decision to extend your home – fantastic! It’s a very exciting moment as you are just beginning the journey and your home is open to a whole host of possibilities and design options. It can also feel over whelming. That’s where having a great company by your side will come in useful. You need to feel informed and secure in the decisions that you are making, and that’s exactly what we work towards here at Home Tales. We thought we would talk you through some of the checklist items you need to cover before you can start your build. 

Architectural design 

This is the typically where most homeowners will begin their journey; mainly because the other checklist items require decisions to be made on the design before they can commence. Here at Home Tales, you get one architectural designer assigned to you and they stick with you throughout your project. They will undertake a full survey of the property which enables them to draw up your existing floorplans. They will also take the opportunity to sit down with you and discuss design options. This is when you can share any ideas that you have, and they will also talk through different options and ideas they have on how they feel the space can work. This enables them to draw up your proposed design options. You then go through an amendment period where you finalise your design. 

Planning permission 

Once you have reached a final design, you need to acquire the relevant planning permission. This can often be done via permitted development or via full planning. You can read more about the difference here. We would prepare the relevant documentation on your behalf and submit this to your local council. It generally takes 8 weeks to receive a decision. 

Building regulations pack 

You require a building regulations pack for two reasons. Firstly, when you appoint a building control officer to oversee your build, they will request to see this pack to ensure building regulations have been met. They are looking at the steel method, fire safety, access routes (loads of things). Your builder will also need this pack to show them the technical details they need to follow. This includes foundation depth, steel specification etc. We have a fantastic page wholly dedicated to explaining what is included within this pack which you can read here. There is also an example pack you can download for both a ground floor extension and a loft conversion. 

Party wall 

For most London homeowners, party wall is something you need to address during the preparation activities. Most of our clients like to run this alongside planning, as both are lengthy processes. You may need to notify your neighbours of your upcoming building works. Once the design has been finalised, a party wall surveyor can confirm exactly who you need to serve notice, and what notice(s) need to be served. If you are in a Victorian terrace and you are undertaking a ground floor extension and/or a loft conversion, it’s quite likely you will need to serve notice to both sides. A party wall surveyor can serve notice(s) on your behalf. After notice(s) have been served, your neighbour’s decision will affect what happens next. They might require no further information, or they might request a survey of the party wall is completed. 

Building control 

You will need to appoint building control to oversee your build. Once an officer is assigned, they will visit the build 4/5 times (for a typical ground floor extension), at certain times during the build phase. They want to see the steel going in, foundation depth etc. Once the build is complete, assuming they are satisfied that building regulations have been met, they will issue you with a building completion certificate. You will need this to prove your build has met the requirements. If you sell the property in the future, your solicitor will request this paperwork to pass onto your buyer. 

You can appoint building control via your local council or through an independent company. Both have pros and cons. The council is typically cheaper but they can be slower to respond and visit site. 

Thames water

If you are undertaking a ground floor extension, Thames Water might get in touch to ask for some additional information from you. In most cases, they want you to provide a simple diagram and some information on the subterranean drainage that is exposed during the opening up and demolition works. In many cases, your builder can assist with this. If you have a project manager, they should be able to assist with this service. 

These are the obvious checklist items you need to address before you commence with your build. No two projects are the same – so it’s important to recognise that you might need additional items. For example, if you live in the Dulwich Estate, you need to obtain additional approvals from them prior to commencing with works. If you get in touch with our team, we would be delighted to talk through the specifics of your own project. You can call us on 02070432378 or email us at hello@hometales.co.uk. You can also book a consultation directly via our online diary here. 


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