Hello homeowners.

Earlier we brought you an article on 5 Things you need to know before adding a Home Extension. But, you can never have too much information, so we introduce the next 5 important things you need to consider before planning a home extension.

1) Consider making use of the in situ conservatory

If you have a conservatory, it’s worthwhile considering integrating this outbuilding into an extension of your home.

It is a requirement of Building Regulations that doors between your home separate conservatories. However doorways between rooms on the ground floor can lead to the feeling of isolation when you attempt to move around your home. This can lead to conservatories being expensive underused space, only called upon on those rare hot days in the short lived English summer.

Opening double doors between a conservatory can help to make the room feel like part of the house.  But bear in mind that double glazed conservatories lose heat rapidly and so most homeowners end up closing their doors off for the winter months to help keep their house warm and those pesky fuel bills just that little bit lower.

If you are mindful of the Uvalues that govern the amount of heat a house loses over time, it is possible to redesign the glazed area to reduce the loss of heat. The exterior flank wall between the conservatory and the house can be removed by employing the right local building contractor who is competent in engineering works.

As most of the conservatory still remains usable, for example, the floors, lighting, electrics and central heating, the room immediately becomes a usable home extension.  You may then consider extending the dining room, relocating a new kitchen or installing a ground floor bathroom.

2) Permitted Development rights

Permitted Development are Planning rights extended to homeowners.  They allow  homeowners to carry out minor improvements, for example converting a loft or building ground floor rear extensions. The rights allow you to make these changes to your home without the need to submit and application to your local authority.  The rationale behind this was to free up the backlog of applications processed by the Local Authority.

You can carry out works under permitted development provided you adhere to the strict limitations of the aspect of design, for example the depth of a rear home extension must not exceed 3m for an attached property or 4m for an unattached property.

Permitted development rights are not extended to owners of flats.

3) Minimum Room Sizes

It can be tempting to try and subdivide existing and new space into as many bedrooms as required, particularly if budget or the size of the extension permit­ted is restricted. However, there are minimum sizes beyond which rooms will not function.

When considering applications for conver­sions, most local authorities have recom­men­ded minimum room sizes which planning applica­tions must conform to. However, the rules about sizes are more applicable to social housing and are usually relaxed for private accommodation.

Description of room    Minimum Size

Double bedroom           10.2m²

Single bedroom              6.5m²

Living room                      13m²

Hallways and landings 900mm width

Dining room                     9.5m²

Kitchen                              7.2m²

Lounge                             15m²

Bathroom and WC         3.6m²

Bathroom                         2.8m²

Toilet only                         1 .3m²

Kitchen                              12m²

4) Get to know the party wall act

Your neighbours cannot stop you from carrying out building work up to, or even on, the property boundary.

The Party Wall Act etc. 1996 allows homeowners to carry out work up to your neighbours’ property and or buildings.  These elements of planning your home extension are not monitored or governed by your Local authority planning dept, neither do they fall under the jurisdiction of Building regulations. However, they are very important items to address as most homeowners consider works to properties boundaries are handled carefully and withn the law. Consider employing the services of an expert to investigate possible party wall obligations and restrictions.

5) Be careful of removing trees

Be mindful that some trees are protected by law, with the classification of Tree Preservation Orders. Even if your home extension can be constructed under permitted development rights, you cannot disturb or attempt to move a tree that has a Tree Preservation order.  Planning permission must be sought in the first instance before action can be taken against such trees.

Hope this information was helpful. The Diligent Team.

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