A few tips to consider before you build your Extension
8th September 2010
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If you have decided to build your new extension in Richmond upon Thames you probably can’t wait to get started, but a few hours spent thinking it through at the start could save you a lot of time, money and heart ache.

You can appoint a professional to do the designs for you, and run the project  (which is advisable) or if your are the adventurous type you can have a go at designing and project and  managing it yourself. Whatever time you think it will take you to do this double it and be prepared for a few highs and lows before its finally built. Whichever route you choose , good luck and here are  few tips to help you on your way

Designing your New Extension

Designing your new extension is the fun bit, but to ensure you get the best design possible you will need to create a simple design brief which will help you or your designer create the right space.

The design brief lists out what elements you want in your extension, for example, folding patio doors, granite kitchen surfaces, wet rooms, storage space, extra bedrooms, down stairs toilet etc.

Planning Permission & Building Control

The next step is to prepare sketch plans and decide on the design that works for you. This will then be worked up into detailed plans and submitted to your Local Authority (Richmond Council) for planning and building control approvals.

Getting Quotes

To ensure you know what you are getting for your money you will also need a specification of work. This lists out in detail what materials and fittings are to be used. This will allow the builders to price the work accurately. It will allow you to compare building quotes on a like for like basis and also avoid any arguments with the builder at a later date regarding what is and what isn’t included in the price.

Building Your New Extension

When you have chosen the builder you want to use you should have a prestart meeting. Make sure the contractor has insurance for his work and is aware of the dates you expect the work to be completed by. Agree regular dates to discuss progress and review costs and progress of the work.

If possible keep minutes of the meetings and give a copy to the builder so you have a record of what was agreed and when.

Simple Building Contracts

For smaller projects a JCT minor works contact is often used to create a binding agreement between contractor and client. This will set out payment protocols and what the processes are if you have a disagreement with the builder.

Party wall Award

You may need to appoint a surveyor to prepare a party wall award if the work is close to or cuts into your neighbours boundary or party wall. The party wall award notes the condition of your neighbour’s party wall(s) and protects you and your neighbour’s interests if any damage occurs as a result of your building works. It is important to establish this, as your neighbour  may legally be able to stop you proceeding with the work  if you have not given them sufficient notice of the proposed work.

Good luck with your project!

Article provided by Conrad Merrin

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