The Outlook For 2014
Prompted by an uncertain property market, and arguably, more work-at-home families – home extensions are on the rise in the UK. Homeowners who are satisfied where they live and already located in areas that can support the added value afforded by an extension are opting to extend rather than relocate. Interest rates are improving and for most of people packing, moving, and changing schools is problematic – so extending the existing property is often more favourable than a big move.
For many extensions, the government has established new guidelines. However, if you are adding a ground-level extension, you can add up to 50 cubic metres, as long as the structure does not exceed 4 metres above ground and is not greater than 10 percent of the existing floor plan without approval by the local planning authority.
Part L of the new regulations applies to the extension’s thermal efficiency. The amount of glass can be limited unless it is energy efficient with excellent insulation ratings and features low emission (low E) double or triple glazed panels. These panels meet the Part L requirement.
Fuelling The Extension Boom in The UK
The primary forces behind the increased interest in extensions in the UK are social and economic considerations. While the property marketplace is on the mend, there are already rumours of a boom. Many homeowners like where they live and would rather stay put and add the space they need.
One trend that is contributing to the increase in extensions is the fact that more and more Brits are working at home. This means that many are requiring a dedicated at-home workspace that must be comfortable and quiet. The rebirth of the study is an unexpected result of the work-at-home culture.
Another trend contributing to the growth in extensions is that the centre of the home has shifted from the front of the hose to the back. When we cook, we want to be social with family members and friends. Furthermore, while we are socialising, why shouldn’t we take advantage of our gardens and beautiful landscape? From a great new kitchen extension, we can enjoy the view and the sociability in the privacy of our outdoor space. It is also reported that adding space to your kitchen and attached open rooms can increase the value of your home by as much as 40 percent.
And, in many cases, extensions are needed to remain in the house and accommodate the growing family. Adding an extra bath and bedroom can increase the value of the property by as much as 20 percent.
Of course, understanding the value of the property is critical to adding an extension.
In the past, many extensions looked like, well… extensions. They were clearly not part of the original home and tended to stand out. That is no longer the case. The most popular extensions are conservatories that feature seamless connections and offer panoramic views of the property. Bright and airy space is in.
The glass is insulated and secured with double and triple glazed panels. Under-floor heating is also very popular as are glass doors that can open or close the room when in use. High ceilings, bright lights add to the feeling of spaciousness.
Many new rooms are removing carpeting in favour of hardwood floors and throw rugs. Creating casual and comfortable space is in. If the extension can be added to the kitchen, the investment is most likely very astute.
Homeowners are gravitating to extensions that complement the existing structure. This can be accomplished by conforming to the roof line, ensuring a seamless merger and using materials that complement the existing materials.
Residential property expert, Michael O’Flynn says; “Buyers like spaces that suit their lifestyle and aspirations, and side extensions and large living/dining areas appeal to the way people live now. Having a large, well-lit family space that has access to the garden is a big selling point.”
In the meantime, the work-at-home adult for child is moving to the front of the house or upstairs.
Setting the Budget
As with all things in property, setting a budget is an important part of the extension process. One of the first decisions will be how will you add? Will you go up, down into the basement, out the back or alongside the existing home? This decision will greatly affect the cost of the extension.
In most cases, the decision is to add onto the back of the house, creating a new living, cooking and entertaining centre for the home. The cost of the extension is impacted by personal design choices, materials used and ease of construction. Most experts suggest planning in an extension cost of about £150 per square foot. However, that is merely a ballpark and many extensions are in the range of £100 per sq. ft. The way to approach the extension is as if it will be a large part of your home life for the rest of your life. Then, let good judgment be your guide.