1. Do you want to extend but just don’t know where to start?
  2. You’ve had the tape measure out, chosen the furniture, kitchen, tv etc and moved in!
  3. You’re somewhere between 1 & 2 above?
  4. Things have stalled and you need some pointers?

If you’re thinking yes this could be me then hopefully you’ll find the following useful.

Key points:

Go at your own pace and aim to enjoy the experience. Spend some time sounding out people such as friends, neighbours, designers such as myself and builders. You’ll be surprised at how helpful people can be! It’s ok and often beneficial to change your mind as you go along at this early stage!

 For simplicity let’s assume you really just don’t know where to start:

Well, the good news is you probably already have as you’ll have looked at your property, the size of your garden, how much you would like to retain if you build an extension and how big you would like an extension to be. You probably have also looked at the loft / attic and considered converting this instead and weighed up the potential loss of garden space versus converting the loft. You may also have thought about what changes, if any, you may want to make to the existing house other than just say extending or converting the loft.

Yes that sounds a bit like me:

It’s at this point people often start to seriously think about things such as… how much will it really cost, who do I need….what kind of builder… big?  small?  individual trades persons?  What about the building regulations, planning permission, do I need professional advice, how do I find a builder, how do I deal with builders, worried about getting taken a loan of…. do I need a building contract and so on.

Call me for a chat?

Gus Potter 0771 308 1597 or email guspotter@lamontpotter.co.uk

Many of the projects I work on start with an informal enquiry. A good few are as a result of a phone call, text or email from a Client perhaps a year or more previously. If you just want to explore options and talk to both a Structural Engineer and an Architectural Designer at the same time then I offer impartial advice and support to get you started, not just on the design side but also on the mechanics of dealing with builders, the local authorities, budget prices, time scales for getting the work done and other bits and pieces that I have picked up over the years.

What you can also do now if you wish.

There are a lot of basic things you can do now which will make life easier for you later and often save money. Some do require legwork but are worthwhile, some may seem to state the obvious and some may not be relevant to you but it’s surprising how often the basics are overlooked even by the experienced!

  • If you can, go for a walk in your local area, see what else has been built and what catches your eye.  Make a quick note or take a photo of what you like and just as importantly what you don’t like! You can also use Google street view if walking is not possible, although you can’t see the rear of many houses. 

    No matter what size your project is you will need to make decisions. Sometimes you’ll get stuck and a way to overcome this is to rule things out rather than in.

  • Check what existing properties and extended/ attic converted properties are selling for in your area and consider whether you will breach the ceiling price for your area then decide if this is relevant to you.  Once you have factored in the real cost of moving house then you may well be surprised.

  • Make a project folder. A good lever arch file is handy. Don’t rely on electronic versions alone. Sounds old fashioned but it’s a good policy.  Why? ….well lots of builders now are looking at the drawings and the technical specifications on their mobile phones and missing stuff! You, as the Client are in overall control and need to be able to see the big picture.

  • If you have a mortgage or need further finance get the documents ready to hand and check what conditions apply.  Also, check your house insurance policy documents to see what is and is not covered once you start work. As a bit of practical advice. When you call a builder they actually want to know how serious you are. If they see you have put some effort in so will they!

  • Get a copy of your land certificate / property deeds and titles and check your property boundaries to make sure you own what you think you do. If you are converting the attic or your house is semi detached or a terraced house then you want to be sure how much of the party wall you own. Unfortunately people do accidentally build on something they do not own or on land that have burdens attaching to them.

  • If you have vacant land next to you or your neighbours have ground that could be built upon or planted up later consider the impact that could have on your enjoyment of your new extension, could your view be blocked for example?

    On the other hand I have recently spoken to a client who had the opportunity to buy a small portion of ground next to his house that the local authority was selling at a good rate and this enabled them to extend in a more cost effective way and still retain a big open garden.

Lastly have a look to see what other planning applications have been submitted in your area. For example if you search the Glasgow / South Lanarkshire Council planning portal or view planning applications this will take you to the publically available information on recently submitted applications. Although often slow to load up the page click here for the South Lanarkshire planning portal or here for Glasgow