Things to consider if you are looking to extend your house:  

When we start planning our home a lot of sentiments come through: excitement about the new task about to commence; happiness for the new and additional spaces being created for ourselves and our family; and anticipation about the possibilities being created for the future.

At the same time there may also be the apprehension:  facing an unknown area in life – details on how to get this new task done;  concerns about the financial commitment and time implications that the work will demand from your day to day life. While working with an architect can only empathise the former sentiments, for the latter ones the recommendation is to start working with a good one that can help you to clear all doubts and take away the negativity. Indeed that will eventually hit you while walking the path from inception to completion.

Consider this – every construction project is a journey where you want to have the best people as your companions, to give you advice and support you by highlighting the best options and helping you deliver it to plan.


My definitive punch list of things to consider when embarking on your home extension are the following 5 points:

1. Make a list of pros and cons on why you need an extension: while at the beginning the pros should outweigh the cons , during the construction process you will recall this list and it will remind you why you started this project in the first place.

2. Enlarge your prospective: from your list you will have a fairly good idea of how your extension should be and look like. Hire an architect to get specialist input and a wider point of view. He will not only give you more alternatives to the ones you may have considered but will also provide a wider perspective on what possibilities you have available in terms of space, configuration, finishes and a programme of works.

3. Think about the journey: to build an extension takes on average, 10-15 weeks but depends eventually on the size of the site. In case you need planning permission, add another 2-3 weeks to the design period and 8-10 weeks to get statutory approvals from your local council. In most instances, an experienced building contractor will be able to work on the extension while you live in the house, making arrangements for alternative entry and sealing off temporarily the inhabited portion of the house. A good architect working in conjunction with the builder will be able to prepare a programme for approvals and for the construction time to provide you with a clear view of plan the days ahead so that you can plan your life around it.

4. Think about finance: depending on the size of your intended extension and the quality of finishes and fittings you seek, on average, an extension of about 20m2 may cost from £40,000 and upwards. You will need to have the finance in place before work commences on site and your architect should be able to help you raise funds from a lender by preparing feasibility studies for you to demonstrate the potential of the project and it’s intrinsic value in creating future appreciation.

5. Make a visual board: start a pinterest board about 3 months before you wish to commence the works and where day by day you can add inspirational images to inform the project. This will give you time to understand what you want, get in agreement with your partner and better communicate your requirements to the architect taking away the pressure of last minute decisions on material finishes, fittings, etc.


Written by Ivan Lazzaroni Principal Director of OmniDe Architecture for Forza Projects

Architecture ++

RIBA Practice

T:   +44 (0)20 3475 9456

W:  www.omnide.com



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