DIY How To

3 Things You Should Know Before Extending Your Home

At the moment, more and more people are choosing to extend their existing space in favour of moving to a bigger property. However, there are a lot of pitfalls for the inexperienced when it comes to extending buildings, and many people are unaware of them.

Here are three things that everyone should know before embarking on a home extension project.

Points to consider when planning an extension

Construction Lesson 1: The Right to Light
According to the law of the land, a legally established right to light exists for every UK citizen. This right overrides any and all planning permission and permitted development rights, which means that your planned development must not block your neighbour's window or view, or restrict the amount of sunlight entering their home.

Construction Lesson 2: Ceiling Height is Important
In days gone by, Building Regulations contained a minimum ceiling height. Although this has now been removed as a legal stipulation, it remains as a practical point to consider. This is particularly relevant if you're thinking of an attic or cellar conversion, as standing space is often limited. As a rule, all rooms need a floor to ceiling height of at least 6'10 (the standard ceiling height is 7'10). In loft rooms, which often feature sloping ceilings, at least 50 per cent of the floor area should meet this minimum height standard.

Construction Lesson 3: Conservatories Don't Have to Be Separated from Your Home
Most people are confined to using their conservatory as a bolt on, rather than an extension of their home – but that doesn't have to be the case. The Building Regulations rules require that most conservatories are separated from the main property by exterior quality doors. However, this tends to have the effect of isolating the room from your home, turning it into an expensive yet rarely used space. Although doors can be left open to join the two, conservatories tend to lose heat at a rapid pace, making this less than ideal during the winter.

However, if you choose to spend a little more and remove a section of the exterior wall, you can turn it into a true extension. This will require you to dig deeper than a standard conservatory, so you might find that you need to dip into your savings or turn to a specialist loans company like Nemo Loans to finance the home improvement venture, but it will leave you with an extension that's actually worth the money you pay for it. Remember that a Nemo loan is essentially a home equity loan and is, therefore secured against your home, so you must be able to afford the monthly repayments before consider this as an option. You could use it, for example, to add a dining room next door to your kitchen, or extend a cramped living room.

You will need to meet specific rules if you want the space to be viewed as an extension rather than a conservatory. Your local building control department will require calculations demonstrating the amount of glazing in doors, windows and roofs, together with the amount used in the windows, doors and roof lights of the original property. Combined, these figures must not exceed 25 per cent of the floor space.

Now that you're prepared, it's time to start designing your dream home.

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