What do I need before I can build my extension?

The build phase of a home extension is very exciting. Breaking ground and seeing physical progress means you are in the homestretch and it’s all progress from that point. With that said, there is a checklist of items you need to get before you can begin your build. As architects and a home extension specialist, we thought it would be helpful to talk through some of the most common items that you need to address before you can begin the build. 

Appoint an architectural designer 

The first thing to do is select an architect. There are a huge variety of companies who offer different services depending on what you want. There is no right way – everyone has a slightly different process and it’s important you speak to a few companies to understand the options available and to decide what will suit you best. Some homeowners want very little involvement and someone to manage the process throughout. Others want to be involved and have oversight of all elements. Here at Home Tales, we offer a tailor made process with elements that you can mix & match. That means if you want us to manage everything from start to finish we can, or if you would prefer to take on bits yourself you can do that too. 

Architectural design

Your architect will measure the property and discuss design options with you. Here at Home Tales, we sit down with you to discuss everything in person, ideally at the property. We listen to your ideas and requirements. It’s important to experiment with different design options. For this reason, we offer unlimited design amendments on our floorplans. We encourage you to experiment with different designs and ideas to make sure you have no doubts when it comes to finalising your design. We also show lots of details within our floorplans including your kitchen layout, seating areas, desks, side tables, dog beds! You name it – we’ll place it on the floorplan. The reason we encourage you to think about these details is to make sure you fully understand how the space will work and interact. This makes sure it will be practical to use and that all of the space has been utilised efficiently. 

Planning permission

Once we reach a final design we will prepare your planning application. This can be either a householder application or a permitted development application. Both include a application form, a drawing set showing existing and proposed floorplans and elevations, and typically we include a CIL form within the application too. Depending on the application type additional documentation might be requested, such as a planning statement, design & access statement, parking provision form, a heritage statement, a flood risk assessment, a fire safety report (the list goes on!). We are familiar with all of these types of documentation and can provide them if necessary. Planning and permitted development take 8 weeks for the council to determine the application. We check-in with your case officer at various stages to ensure things are on-track for a decision on time. 

Party wall

If you intend to build within 1 year, we would recommend beginning the party wall process once we have submitted the planning application. The party wall process takes approx. 1-4 months depending on your neighbours and how quick they are to respond. It also depends on how they respond. We have an excellent recommended surveyor who can take care of this for you if you wish. 

Building regulations pack

Your building regulations pack is the detailed drawing pack that includes your structural calculations and technical details. It is the pack your builder will need to build the scheme. Your building control officer will also want to review the drawings to ensure building regs have been met. If they have any queries we are here to help and support throughout the build phase.

Choosing a builder

We have a fantastic, recommended builder who can assist with the build phase should you wish. Most of our clients will meet them and get a detailed quote from them but we would always encourage you to get at least two other quotes to compare the costs and services. Any builder can use our building regulations pack. 

Appoint building control 

Building control is mandatory and must be appointed to oversee your build. They check everything is being done to meet building regulations and they will issue a certificate at the end of the build to confirm compliance has been met. This document is crucial if you come to sell the property in the future. In a typical ground floor extension project you can expect your building control officer to visit 4-5 times at key intervals throughout the build (ie. to check the foundations and steel). You can either appoint building control via your local council or via an independent body which is typically called an approved inspector. 

So there you have it! A quick run down of the different items you need to implement before you can build. It’s important to recognise that every single project is different and there might be things that you need in addition to the list above. For example, some properties reside within estates that require additional approval before you can build (ie. The Dulwich Estate). Some of these items might not be relevant to you too – for example if you have a detached house with no neighbours within notifiable distance you might not need to serve party wall notice. If you get in touch with our team we can look into the specifics of your project and help clarify what you will and won’t need. Get in touch today and book a free consultation to get a no obligation quote. Call us on 0207 043 2378 or email us at hello@hometales.co.uk. You can also book a consultation online via our live diary here. 

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