There is nothing more exciting than the planning and design stages of your new house extension. Most people save up for quite a long time and have a real excitement built up about what they will use the extension for. So it can be really hard when something like COVID-19, puts a stop to all of those wonderful plans – even when it is for all the right reasons.
Currently, only builders that are doing critical jobs to the nation and/or the life of the economy should be continuing working during the current crisis. So this has left many homeowners wondering when they can move forward with the initial design and planning the house extensions. Although some say, the guidelines for these residential projects are not clear enough, at the forefront of everybody’s mind is the health and safety of others.
But actually, it’s kind of great news if you had been planning to have a home extension in the next few months. With the excessive amount of time that people are spending in their homes, due to many work restrictions, it gives you more time to actually think about the house extension you want and why.
There is something you need to consider though. If you are currently planning for a future house extension, then the chances are that other people are too. It is estimated that almost all councils are going to be inundated with applications, and this is going to cause serious delays in approvals. And while things seem uncertain at the moment, there will be a point where the restrictions are lifted – and work can move forward.
Which means all of those people who are planning a house extension that managed to get the application in early (like now), ahead of the lifting of the guidelines, will be first in line.
So what can you do now to help make sure that you aren’t stuck in the backlog?
The cost of any house extension is going to vary depending on what you want, how large it is, and how many stories. So make sure that your budget allows for exactly what you need with a little extra on top. Now you have the time to really look at your budget, and make changes where necessary to get the extension you want.
No matter what the purpose of your home extension, you’re going to need to get in touch with an architect i.e. Scenario Architecture. You need to discuss what you want the room for, how much space you need and get a little creative too.
Our process involves fully understanding how you live in your home, so now is a great time to discuss this and allow time to see habits forming, and the things you’d like to incorporate into your home.
And you might also need to speak to a structural engineer to produce some drawings and calculations to make sure that the building will indeed comply with all building regulations.
Regulations, Rules, and Permission
There are some extensions that require planning permission and others that won’t. Make sure that you understand all of the rules apply to you.
It is worth noting if you happen to live in a listed property, natural park, area of outstanding natural beauty, or anything in that sort of remit you still might need to get additional planning permission. Even if you were adhering to all of the guidelines for permitted development.
And suffice to say whether or not you need planning permission, you are going to have to comply with all the building regulations. And this will require you to make a full plan submission to stick to best practice, and reduce the risk of discovering areas that come under non-compliance. The great thing is when you’re working with one of our experienced architects they will quite often be able to give information and advice about what does and does not apply to you and work with you to design something that really matches your needs.
Great builders can be hard to come by, but with the current climate in construction, you might be able to get the cream of the crop much sooner than you have been expecting to. It is often the case that we will be able to guide you in the direction of builders that we have worked with before and who we trust in terms of quality, and experience.
Once you have a name, it is wise to give him a call to discuss your plans, while currently, you will probably not be able to move forward with anything; once all the lockdown rules have lifted slightly, you want to move forward as fast as possible.
So planning ahead and having these conversations are essential. Securing everything will be in your favour.
If you have a contractor, they will be taking care of ordering most of the materials you’re actually going to need. Things like plasterboard and bricks will be sorted, but there are a few things that you might want to take care of yourself. It is very important that if your home extension happens to be a kitchen or bathroom, quite often they will need to be ordered weeks in advance. Combine that with the likely backlog and delay in approvals, and you might be storing your kitchen for quite some time if you haven’t got your planning permission submissions in quick enough.
It is a great idea not to order any furnishings or any of those finishing touches until your space is almost completed. And in the current circumstances, the safety of delivery people, workpeople, and all the contractors will come ahead of that beautiful new rattan seating area that you have in mind.
So, in summary, there is actually no reason why you should postpone the initial design and planning of your home extension. In fact, there might not be a better time than now to start.
Ensuring that you get ahead of the inevitable backlog of applications that will happen as soon as the social distancing, and other guidelines have been lifted. Make sure that you are at the front of the queue and turn your plans into a reality sooner rather than later.