A house extension is a brilliant way to increase the living space within your home without having to up-sticks and move.
It’s also a great way to breathe a new lease of life into your house and can rejuvenate tired spaces. Your kitchen could become a kitchen-diner; that fourth bedroom you’ve always wanted can ‘magically’ appear above the garage – the possibilities are incredibly exciting.
Despite the reduced costs when compared to moving home, having an extension built is still a considerable expense. It’s therefore vital that you have a solid budget from which to work.
Step 1: Decide upon an achievable extension
It might be tempting to knock down as many walls as possible and extend as far as building regulations will allow, but it’s important to be realistic with your extension plans.
Decide on something that is achievable within your budget and avoid the temptation to build a castle you simply can’t afford. Be smart with the money you have available and make sure you save at least 5% of the total cost for unforeseen issues.
Step 2: List everything you want doing
In order to keep your aspirations in check, it’s sensible to list everything you need doing, right down to the last plug socket.
Take time with this step; you want to ensure you cover every base in order to avoid adding to the spec once the work has started (see step 6).
Step 3: Get the quotes in
With your list in hand, get at least three building companies to provide quotes. Make sure you provide the full list of requirements to the builders and ask them to visit the property to suss out every single possible obstacle.
If you’re feeling adventurous and have the time (and knowledge), it might also be worth project managing the job yourself, thus enabling you to source each trade separately. Doing so might save you a fair bit, but you’ll need to work from several quotes, rather than just one.
Step 4: Cross-reference the best quotes with your list
When the quotes start rolling in, be sure to cross-reference them with your original list. With so many things to take into account during a home extension, it’s easy for stuff to get missed – make sure everything is present and correct in order to prevent mid-project surprises.
Step 5: Start a spreadsheet
Your extension spreadsheet will become your best friend over the coming weeks, so make sure you start it now with the intention of keeping it regularly updated.
You can get as creative as you like with the spreadsheet, but make sure it includes at the very least a column for the description of every outgoing along with one for the amount and a separate table that details your budgeted costs for each element. The latter will enable you to regularly double check everything to ensure you’re not in danger of spilling into the red.
Step 6: Avoid the temptation to add to the original spec
Lastly, stick to the original spec as rigidly as possible. If you’ve followed step 1 properly, you’ll have a pot of money available for the unforeseen stuff, but adding to the original spec will quickly eat into that, no matter how tempting it might be.
It’s important to remember that home extensions require a significant number of individual trades to come together as one, and a lot of your time will be spent ensuring each job lines up correctly and doesn’t impact anything else. Having a solid budget to hand means you’ll have one less thing to worry about.