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An extension to your home can be an extremely beneficial investment, especially for those who require more space but don’t want to move to another property.

By creating additional living space, you are not only building your ideal home, but you are also increasing the value of your home. However, as beneficial as an extension may seem, how do you actually go about creating one? In fact, there is much preparation work which needs to be completed in advance of an extension’s construction.

With vast experience in planning applications in Cornwall and Plymouth, Martin Perry has much advice to share on this area of construction. We look at the processes of getting your extension plan approved and offer some tips on the design and building process for an extension.

A white interior of a house with an extension

Find Out if You Require Planning Permission

The first step is obviously to confirm and create a plan for your desired extension. Once you have decided on the type of extension you require, you must next consider whether or not you are permitted to build it.

Either planning permission will be required, or your plan will be accepted within the rules outlined in permitted development rights. Below, we look at both in detail and explain what they mean in terms of building an extension.

Permitted Development Rights

Also known as PDR, permitted development rights are the entitlement to modify a property without the requirement of applying for planning permission. Instead of being authorised by local planning authorities, the rights are issued by parliament.

Generally, extensions and additions to a house are covered by permitted development rights, only if the changes fall within specific conditions and limits which are outlined by PDR.

These can vary depending on single or two-storey extensions, and the simplicity of what is considered acceptable for PDR can be complicated and is reliant on a whole host of aspects which need to be carefully reviewed.

Planning Permission

Planning permission is required if the proposed extension doesn’t fall within the categories outlined in the permitted development rights.

Planning permission is the acceptance by the local authority to go ahead with the requested construction plans of a building.

A balcony overlooking a sunset

What to Be Aware Of

Extensions such as some loft conversions have a separate set of permitted development requirements. Furthermore, terraces and balconies must seek planning permission.

Also, the following buildings and areas may have more specific permitted development rights and may require additional expert guidance for the planning process:

• Listed buildings.
• Buildings within conservation or designated areas.

For further advice on listed buildings, take a look at our FAQs.

Apply to Building Regulation Officers

Once it is confirmed that your proposed extension doesn’t need planning permission or plans have been accepted by planning permission, the extension will need to be approved by the Building Regulation Officers. Detailed drawings will need to be created by an architect and submitted.

Implement a Party Wall Act

The Party Wall Act ensures that the proposed extension doesn’t exceed the boundary of neighbours, thereby protecting neighbouring properties and essentially setting out the rights of the Party Walls.

Neighbours must be informed of any proposed work in advance. A Party Wall Surveyor will be responsible for producing a Party Wall Award, and this will protect you in any unfortunate circumstances where disputes arise with neighbours.

As qualified and expert Party Wall Surveyors, Martin Perry Associates can advise on the Party Wall Act, so please contact us today for further guidance.

Notify Council

Whether you have sought planning permission or are accepted within permitted development rights, your local council has to be informed about the extension plans for the purpose of their property records.

Inform Home Insurers

You should update your home insurance provider on the work you plan to pursue. For more information, take a look at our home insurance FAQs.

Tips for Designing and Building an Extension

Below are a few tips to guide the building process of an extension, once all the necessary permissions and building regulations have been accepted.

Contact Professionals Early

The sooner you get in touch with experts, the better. Contact the planners, contractors and builders as soon as you can so you have a clear idea of the scale of the project.

Determine a Budget

To start the design process, you need to determine a realistic brief which considers the finances of the project and the length of construction.

Included in the budget needs to be the fees for architects and designers. Even though this may seem like a lot of money to splash out on to begin with, their input and experience should save you money in the long run and avoid any costly mistakes as well as save time. Their advice can be invaluable, especially when applying for permissions.

An architect working

Create a Clear Brief

When planning the extension with the architect, it is integral that the reason why you want the extension is reflected in the designs. All the information regarding the purpose of the extension should be explained in a clear brief. The more information provided on the reasons behind the extension, the more the designer can utilise their experience on how to design it in more beneficial ways.

Choosing Contractors

Once designs are confirmed and all permissions are guaranteed, next comes the actual construction. Choosing the right contractor should be carefully considered, and you may want to consider the following:

• Decide if you or a professional will be the project manager.
• Thoroughly research potential companies.
• Ask friends and family for reliable referrals.

How would you design your dream extension? Why not let us know on our social media channels? We would love to hear your thoughts! If you are considering an extension, why not contact us today and find out how we can support your project further?