Here are some of the questions we are asked the most, and based on our experience, the answers…
Q – How much does an extension cost?
A – This is a tricky one as every house, every extension and everyone’s requirements are different. As a general rule of thumb, in order to get some kind of budget figure from the outset, around £1,500 + VAT per square metre of extension (on plan), per floor is a reasonable assumption. This will make some allowance for plumbing, drainage and electrics, plasterboard and plastering, but will not cover your flashy new kitchen or your £750 bath taps. As with any building project, the builder will need to have detailed plans to work from in order to provide an accurate quote – That’s where we come in.
Q – How much does a loft conversion cost?
A – Just as tricky as the extension cost above, for the same reasons. Assume around £35,000 + VAT for a fairly simple one with a roof extension. The costs of loft conversions vary greatly and will never be known until the detailed design has been completed – this is mainly becuase the requirement for structural alterations can be very different from one house to another, and needs to be calculated by the Structural Engineer.
Q – How long does it take to get planning permission?
A – Once the design of your building or extension has been completed and submitted to the Local Authority, the target deadline for a decision is eight weeks. In some cases we may get a decision a little sooner, or later if there are complicated matters to consider or to fit in with the next planning committee meeting, if applicable.
Q – How long do I have before planning permission lapses?
A – For most houses and domestic extensions, you must commence the approved work within three years and for most commercial applications this is five years. Note that you only have to commence, and not necessarily complete…
Q – What can I add to my house without having to apply for planning permission?
A – ‘Permitted Development’ rights allow for many kinds of extension to houses (NOT flats or commercial premises) without having to apply for planning permission; mostly single-storey side and rear extensions and loft conversions, but in some cases two-storey extensions. However, the rules and criteria are fairly complex and can’t just be explained in a paragraph – we will be happy to visit your property and advise you on how these rules affect your particular house, and what we can achieve within these limits.
Q – I want to build a conservatory, but assume I won’t need planning permission because this is a ‘temporary structure’ – is that right?
A – No. A conservatory is treated as an extension to your property. However, it may benefit from ‘Permitted Development’ rights as above – we will be happy to advise you accordingly. Please note that this also applies to car ports, garages, sheds and other ‘out-buildings’ – they may also require planning permission.
Q – What is the difference between ‘Planning Permission’ and ‘Building Regulations?
A – ‘Planning’ is where the local authority control the impact of buildings and their use upon their surroundings, the town or city as a whole and the people who live or work in that area – for example: Is that building necessary? Is that building’s appearance suitable? Would that building cause any harm to others if it was built? ‘Building Regulations’ are the rules governing how a building should be constructed, primarily with regard to safety, robustness and energy efficiency. Approval under ‘Planning’ and ‘Building Regulations’ are two separate processes, dealt with by different people.