During the seemingly never-ending night feeds I watched a lot of TV, two babies in two consecutive years basically meant I was awake around the clock. During the small hours there is an awful lot of home improvement programmes on. I became very well associated with Sarah Beeny, Kevin McCloud and Phil and Kirsty. In fact to this day I remember Sarah Beeny’s saying that more and more people are choosing to extend their property as opposed to moving to a larger property. I can’t say I blame them, we are the same. Especially as house prices are ever-increasing. I love my house and nothing short of a lottery win would entice me to move, unless it were to be back home to Bristol or say Spain. We love the location, the house, the garden, we even like the size but there are definite improvements that could be made to make it the perfect home for our growing family. By growing I don’t mean increasing (don’t worry Nan) I mean ageing and physically growing older and of course bigger. So really the extension is a no brainier.
The extension is all fun and games when you are designing interiors, planning fancy kitchen appliances, dreaming of sunny days with your bi-folds open, however there is a considerably less glamorous side to this ‘exciting’ project, the more mundane practicalities that should be considered when embarking on such a project. So here are some top tips for the practicalities behind the extension.
1. Plan Plan Plan
Fail to prepare prepare to fail and all that. From all my reading particularly of Home magazines and boy is there some reading there is one common underlying tip that everybody has passed on and that is planning. Have all your major, or even minor decisions made before the first brick is laid or knocked down. What you don’t want to be doing is being rushed and competing against the builders to make these decision. You need to consider electrics, sockets, plumbing these big decision need to be made but equally the smaller design elements such as fixtures and fittings are key decisions to be made beforehand. You want it to be right and you don’t want to regret or over spend by rushing. Make all these decisions or as many as you can before the heavy work starts to keep things running as smoothly as possible.
2. Filing, spreadsheets and organisations.
YAWN I know but it will be worth this will be worth it’s weight in gold. Keep a running spreadsheet of your total spend to keep your budget in check. Stock up on lever arches, plastic wallets, cellotape, clips, filing systems, suspension files – you name the stationary you will need. You can file away planning forms, guarantees, receipts, you never know what you might need to take back or what box will have something missing. I have already started storing important documents is plastic wallets in files. Yes it sounds neurotic but this is a big build and it needs to be right and as easy as possible. Engelbert Strauss offer a wide range of office supplies perfect for this with a wide range of offce supplies
3. Know your builder
Ok I am not necessarily talking about personally although it wouldn’t hurt, but knowledge is power here. I find when it comes to tradesmen word of mouth is the best recommendation you can get. People who have used and approved their services in the past. For example we were in talks with builders who had built houses for a friend on a strong recommendation and a builder who has done multiple large jobs for the same clients – plural. Repeat business, especially when a good proportion of your business is repeat business speaks volumes. There is of course always google, there are lots of sites out there which blacklist certain tradesmen. Alternatively there are larger companies that will come out, design, build and quote for an entire project. Using a single company for all stages certainly has it benefits, companies such as Plus Rooms offer these services and generally remain in high regard.
4. Remember your neighbours.
Whether in a semi, terraced or detached always think about your neighbours. I try to approach things with a treat how you would like to be treated approach. Keeping them informed of any plans and keeping the lines of communication will go a long way. Advising them of potential noise, addition vehicles outside the properties or deliveries certainly doesn’t hurt and you never know when you might need to borrow a bit of drive space to store some bricks. More importantly however if you are building up to a boundary wall then this is more important than ever. You’ll need a party wall agreement as well as written consent from your neighbours. If they object or don’t reply then you will need a survey to oversee the process to ensure no damage is done to the walls, which means more bucks to your budget.
There you have it a few less glamorous but certainly useful and more practical extension tips. Do you have any important ones that you would recommend?