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Process of getting an extension underway?

Discussion in 'Building' started by clueless9000, 15 Mar 2016.

  1. clueless9000


    15 Mar 2016
    Thanks Received:
    United Kingdom
    Hello from a complete clueless newbie with what's probably a really stupid question - be gentle!

    Who/what should be the first port of call if you're wanting an extension built? I know that I'll need plans, but I can't figure out even a rough idea of what I want, as I don't know what's feasible - i.e. can this wall be knocked down, can that area be dug out, can you put stairs here, a door in there etc.

    Do I need to get a builder in first to give me that kind of info before I get an architect planner in? Or will a builder not be able to help with telling things like where the drains run, how the foundations are etc, and I actually need some kind of structural surveyor before anything else?

    If it makes a difference, the house is on a pretty big downward slope, so that the ground floor at the front of the house becomes the first floor at the back. Directly underneath that is an integral, unfinished (concrete floor, breezeblock walls) garage space - which is what I want to convert and extend. Here's a picture of the back if that helps (the window next to the garage is all the same area). I'm pretty sure that the garage doesn't have enough head height at the moment (maybe 6ft 4in or so). Here's a snippet from the survey I got when buying the house too, which describes the space.

    If it's a builder I need first, will any old extension builder do, or do I need to be looking for someone who does basement conversion too, as the garage will probably need to be damp-proofed?

    Any advice much appreciated - I've never gone through the process of hiring a tradesman before, or done much to the house beyond changing a lightbulb, so this is all new territory for me!

    Thanks, Lin
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  3. ^woody^


    3 Sep 2006
    Thanks Received:
    West Mids
    United Kingdom
    You need a 'designer' who can listen to what you want, and translate this into what you can have in terms of any regulations, what is possble in terms of the building and site conditions and what you can afford. And what options or alternatives are possible

    The designer is really anyone experienced enough to do all these - Architect, Architectural technician, surveyor, engineer, or even a builder with these skills.

    The designer has to know about planning and building regualtions and be able to think about what you want, and not just draw a box on the back of the house. He should be aware (or you make him aware) of your budget, and to design with that in mind.

    The work needs to be properly specified in terms of the materials, and properly drawn to show how it will all fit together. The better all this is done, the more accurate your quotes and less chance of you being charged for "unforessen" work by the builder

    Only once you have all of the above, can you then give the documents to a builder to give you a quotation.

    The more specialised the work, the more specialised and experienced a builder you will need
  4. roboughton


    8 May 2007
    Thanks Received:
    United Kingdom
    Well I started with the Architect and got my ideas to him (but I had an Idea of what I wanted anyway) he then drew it up, once it was agreed that what we wanted and that we were going to go ahead we applied for planning and started getting prices for the works.

    Passed planning, needed some structural calculations and a few changes to satisfy building control.

    Out of the 10 firms we asked to quote we only ever got back three prices, all varying in price hugely. We went middle ground and based on them being local and recommended.

    Funds were secured and dates booked.

    I was glad that I agreed to no deposit and weekly payments as the firm went bust as we got to wall plate (not a disaster as the roof was being done by someone else). Now I was lucky in that I hadn't paid upfront and the lads working were all out of work and were happy for me to pay them to carry on other works for me.

    Always over estimate the cost as its virtually never EVER cheaper than the quote!

    Good luck.
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    DIYnot Local

    3 Sep 2019
    United Kingdom

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