House Extensions & Alterations
Often a family can outgrow a property or may need to change its internal layout to a more practical configuration. There are several good reasons to add an extension to a house if you have space available. There may be a new addition to the family or you want an extension for a home office, playroom or garden room. Internal alterations, for instance to relocate a north facing kitchen or open out a ground floor with new stairs, may also be required to ensure that a new extension works properly. Often alterations are carried out piecemeal without a clear overall strategy. This can sometimes mean that work is put up and then subsequently taken down, or that future proofing has not been considered. Many properties have untapped potential, and renovations can make a home more enjoyable to live in as well as adding to its market value. Recent figures show that fewer houses are being bought and sold. Instead people are extending because it often makes financial sense. The saving in agents selling fees and stamp duty can make a large dent in the cost of an extension. Single or multi-storey house extensions and the alterations they involve typically mean quite a lot of upheaval. However if well-designed and properly managed, they can be the most cost-effective way to get the home you want. Involving an architect will give you the best chance of getting a house that suits your current and future needs. Our work generally involves high end extensions to create superb family spaces with lots of light and direct access to the garden. We incorporate plenty of storage and features such as vaulted ceilings and even basements.
Many older houses suffer from being subdivided into small spaces with wasted opportunities. Over time several owners may have adapted the house to suit their varying needs. Poor planning can result in spaces that are difficult to use for modern family living and have little if any connection with the garden and views. Corridors are often put up and rooms partitioned with little thought given to the overall plan and flow of the house or how these areas will be lit. It is also surprising how often the main entrance of the house seems to be in the wrong place! Often our job is to tidy up mistakes made over many years taking a look at the whole house and needs of the occupiers current and future. It may be that we can help you achieve your objectives simply by reconfiguring your existing space.
Many older properties come with bags of character but require work to bring the property in line with modern expectations. Outdated heating systems, failing windows and a lack of insulation mean that they become expensive to maintain. We can advise on alternative options and the likely financial and time costs.
Schedule of Work
We generally draw up a written schedule of work, which itemises the work required to be carried out in detail. This information is extracted directly from the model of the project. Planning drawings are generally fairly simple in terms of detailed information. Once planning approval has been granted, we add further construction information to the drawings while preparing the schedule of work. There is a cost in terms of preparing a detailed schedule of work, but the savings compared to cost overruns mean that this is the prudent course of action. It allows the client to see exactly where the money has been allocated within the budget. It avoids misunderstandings and simplifies the process of valuations. It should also identify potential issues which might otherwise cause a problem.
Finding a suitable builder can sometimes be the trickiest part of a project. Some builders are quick but lack attention to detail while others almost finish a project, before moving on to the next or, alternatively, try and juggle with two or three contracts. After discussion with the client to select a list of potential builders, we generally suggest using a competitive tender process. The builder uses the schedule of work and can read this in conjunction with the drawings to put a price against each item of work. This allows all the competing builders to submit their prices based using matching information (rather than each builder making different assumptions where the information provided to them is insufficiently detailed). We can generally suggest local builders or carry out further investigation and research into suitable alternative contractors.