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5 Things you need to know before adding a home extension

Why move when you can improve!

The cost of up-scaling your home has become out of reach for so many.  But improving your home to add some additional space is still within the grasp of most home owners.  But, home owners must be mindful of the laws and restrictions that govern more substantial home improvements.

Here we list 5 things to be mindful of when considering larger home improvements.

1. Your neighbours have a right to natural light.

Your neighbour may attempt to block your plans by claiming they have a legal right to light to one or more of their windows surrounding their property.

Natural light can be bought, sold or even transferred between property owners. Rights can be registered, granted by deed or acquired by having a minimum of 20 years enjoyment of light through a window. Once a window has received over 20 years of unobstructed daylight, it automatically earns itself a Right of Light.

There is such a thing called the 45-degree rule.  This usually involves drawing a straight line from the mid-point of the sill of a window, which is potentially affected by a neighbour’s home extension.

If the proposed home extension crosses that line it is most likely to be unacceptable. You must be mindful of these considerations at they supersede Permitted development planning rights in certain instances.

2. You can place a toilet anywhere in your home where practical to do so.

In the old days, it was a Building control  requirement  to install a door lobby between a toilet and another room.  This was mainly due to prevent smell nuisance impacting mostly ground floor kitchens and reduce cross contamination to neighbouring rooms.

Although it is desirable for reasons of privacy to locate toilet off landings and hallways, this is no longer a Building Regulations Requirement. However, it is necessary to install a wash hand basin and a method of mechanical ventilation.

Whether you need a ground floor bathroom for elderly or mobility impaired person, a swanky new kitchen, more bedrooms or extra living room space, we’re ready to provide you with a complete design and build home extensions service


3. How low can you go?  Are minimum ceiling heights to consider?

The minimum ceiling height has recently been removed from UK Building Regulations. However, most Building inspectors still require a  practical minimum ceiling height for home extensions and loft conversions.

You should design your space to achieve a floor to ceiling height of at least 2.1m. However, a height of 2.4m is generally desirable.  However, if your room has a sloping ceiling at least 50% of the floor area should achieve a floor-to-ceiling height of at least 2.1m.

4. Avoid access from one room via another.

We understand that space is at a premium in most London homes.  Traversing from one end of your home to the next can sometimes turn into a journey through a labyrinth.  Careful consideration should be given to planning the layout of your home extension.

Try not to slice rooms in half to gain access to rooms of a similar size.  It is common to place a corridor of 1m width through a large room to gain access to a smaller room. However, it is not a good design to sacrifice a small room to provide access to another at the expense of, for example, rendering that room unusable, or turning it into a storage cupboard.

Using an existing room to access an extension rarely works unless it is sufficiently large to remain usable after space has been consumed to provide secondary access.

5. Make use of that old basement.

If you have an existing cellar, you can convert this into a usable space without using up the volume allocated to you under per­mitted develop­ment rights. Extending your home into your basement is still considered a valuable home extension.  You might have to consider some structural waterproofing, otherwise known as basement tanking to ensure the space is dry and usable.

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You can install much need utility rooms underground, kitchens or bathrooms. Just bear in mind that these types of extensions can be slightly more costly than conventional above-ground home extensions, but they are worthwhile just the same.

If you feel that selling your property is more advantageous than improving your home then please refer to our article on 5 More things you need to Know before you carry out a Home Extension.  Alternatively our article on House Extension Planning.

Hope this information was helpful. The Diligent Team.

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