This article has been written in order to give some help to those who are considering the benefits and possibilities of house extensions. Depending on the size of the extension you are contemplating, it’s always best to separate the planning stages into smaller chunks to make them more manageable.

Perhaps the most sensible thing to do with right at the outset is to get your initial ideas on to paper – how big, what sort of budget you are contemplating, what is the purpose going to be when the project is completed, how you are going to pay for it. These will help the bigger picture out. Then take the rough ideas along to a specialist in the field – an architect who specialises in house extensions or a house extension designer and discuss your ideas with them. This doesn’t bind you to having to use them – you will be paying no doubt for your consultation anyway. However, they are the experts in the field and they will be able to tell you what is and what is not feasible and will give useful advice on such things as planning permission requirements, building regulations and choice of reliable builders.

If you are thinking of using the expertise of a house extension specialist then make sure you choose somebody who not only has the qualifications and registration with a recognised organization but definitely has experience in the area that is of interest to you. Getting in touch with some previous customers to find out what they thought of the design and work done by the people you are thinking of using is a great idea before you actually commit yourself.

Of course you might also have recommendations from people you know at work or in your own family or network of friends who are able to point you in the right direction when it comes to choosing the right designers to use.

Lastly, ask for a written quotation for the design phase and also ask for an idea of what they think the whole project is going to cost. Of course, realistically your ideas need to be much more organized and detailed if the quote is going to mean something, but at this stage you probably need to know whether your grand ideas are actually going to be realisable within your budget or maybe you might have to scale them down a bit.

The same sort of advice can be used when looking around for a suitable builder. The house extension designer or architects probably have their own favourites when it comes to builders but there is nothing wrong with looking around yourself. Again looking for a builder that is qualified and registered is self evident and make sure you choose a builder that has relevant experience in the sort of project that you have in mind – experience specifically in house extensions or regular work on residential buildings and not on commercial development. Watch out for builders who claim to give you a special rate. Some of these are not properly qualified and might be working on a part time basis only. The registered bodies to look out for are those like Master Builders or ICAS – there are a number of others too, but those are probably the most important.

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