Factors to Consider Before Building a House Extension

30 June 2016
 Categories: , Blog


Building an extension to a house or an existing building can be an attractive idea for most property owners. An extension can add value to a property by giving you extra functional space. Proper planning can help avoid any disruptions and unforeseen costs during the project. You should have the following in mind before undertaking any work on an extension.

Planning permission

The first step is determining whether you need the local council's permission to build an extension to your property. Some projects will require a permit while others won't. You can have your building surveyor or architect file for the permit and handle all the paperwork as they will be inspecting your property. This will save you the hassles, especially if you do not understand the requirements of the procedure.

Risks associated with the project

Are there any risks that may arise from extending the building? An architect or structural engineer should inspect your building for any risks that may arise from building an extension. They should check for any structural weaknesses or signs of poor construction. They should also assess the load bearing capability of the walls and how the extension will affect the entire building's structure.

Extension design

Determine the extension's design and location and how it will affect the rest of the building. For example, if the extension is built on the lit-up side of the building, it can make the entire building look dark. Ensure the extension does not obstruct light into the other part of the building. Also, carefully consider the position of doors and windows in the extension to avoid a poorly designed structure.

Impact on the building's systems

What impact will the extension have on the electrical and mechanical systems of the building, assuming they will share these amenities? Will the heating system be able to handle the extra load? Will the water pressure be adequate? Is the wiring capable of handling the additional load? You can have your HVAC contractor assess these systems and determine whether the extension can use them. You may be required to upgrade some systems or install new ones in the extension.

Construction requirements

Once you have designed your extension and handled all the technicalities involving electrical and mechanical systems, you can get down to the construction work. Liaise with your contractor to ensure laborers and materials are available to avoid delays. Since the rest of the building has been inhabited, you should make sure that your contractor has laid down safety procedures to prevent damage to existing property.

Extensions can add value to a property and improve its appearance and functionality. It is important to have these factors in mind before undertaking work on an extension to ensure a successful project.

For more information or if you feel you cannot plan all of this on your own, consider contacting a structural engineering firm in your area, such as Jeffrey Hills and Associates.