Step-by-step guide to house extensions

Building an house extension, Sheffield, 2001


Often we get potential customers contacting us enquiring about house extensions and they are not quite sure what to do to get started.

Hopefully the information on this page will help you get have a better understanding on how to go about having a house extension.

Before you start...

If you are a lease owner then the property you own may be subjected to restrictive covenants (Found in the title deeds to your house) which is an agreement between you and the land owners on how you can use the land. Some restrictive covenants may have clauses in them preventing you from building including extending any buildings on the property.

You need to get the landowners permission to build which often means a small admin fee is payable. Your ground rent may increased once you've finished the agreed construction.

Many home owners at this point tend to buy the leasehold.

Even if you are freeholder, you also may still be effected by restrictive covenants. If your home is a recent new build, then the property developer often includes a clause in the restrictive covenants that prevents you from building on your land especially if they are building many houses nearby. These restrictive covenants however normally have a time limit which typically last for around five years.

It is not all bad news if there is a restrictive covenants that is against you as you can appeal to the Lands Tribunal who may overturn it especially if it a rather dated clause that inappropriate to modern day acceptant.

All inclusive service including having plans drawn as well as building your extension

Some building companies offer to draw plans to your extension as well as building it as part of their all inclusive package. While we offer such services, we try to discourage potential customers from being tied to one company that offer these kind of inclusive deals.

It is not until your plans are drawn up and accepted by sheffield building control will you know the true cost of having your extension built. Having an all inclusive package means you skip the process of having several companies giving you competitive quotes based on the finalised plans. This process is useful to gauge whether or not the price of having your extension built is a realistic one by comparing each other.

The only reason we offer an all inclusive service is because customers who used us in the past and want to use us again insist that we do so.

Companies offering free plans drawn

Some companies may give special offers to draw plans for free as part of their all inclusive building services as an incentive to go with them. Everyone likes a freebie but do make sure you read their Terms and Conditions very carefully as there is often an exit fee attached which would at least cover the cost of having plans drawn as if the free offer never existed. Remember, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Choosing the right building company

Remeber cheapest is not always the best option. I had a discussion with an electrican who quoted for 5 jobs and he normally has a success rate of 40% (2 out of every 5 quotes). During 2009, this had dropped to 0%. He went back and visited customers who to enquire why they went elsewhere and it was because the price was less, only in every case it far less. In one case, the electricians were fitting 1 bulbs that are lucky to last beyond 2 months. My electrician was charging 50. Now before you all go "what? 50 for a bulb?" Consider this: These 50 LED bulbs lasts on average 15 years and not only that they are 10x more energy efficient. Replacing some of these bulbs which are often inaccessable and require dismanting the kitchen units in order to replace it meaning you need to get your electrican back each time you want to replace it. Even if they were accessible, can you see yourself visiting a DIY shops every 2 months to buy a packet of these? Within 5 years your 1 bulb option will probably cost you far more in petrol, time and energy cost than to pay 50 in the first place. The moral of this story is don't just pick the cheapest, spend some time enquiring why this material cost more than the other builder material.

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