A useful article here from homebuilding.co.uk.
Some key points:
1. Your neighbour always has a “Right to Light”, so make sure that you always consider your neighbour’s sources of light. Basically, don’t block anybody’s windows.
2. Don’t sacrifice space to make space! If you are planning an extension, don’t butcher one of your existing rooms to allow access to your new one. Make sure you make best use of the space
3. Converting your basement won’t chip away at your permitted development rights (limits the amount you can extend your house), so it won’t stop you adding an extension down the road (dependent on other factors). Building basements from new is expensive, but conversions can turn an undesirable space into a new bedroom, living room, utilities area or clean storage area.
4. Building a bedroom? Make sure there are enough bathrooms. One bathroom to one bedroom may be excessive, but one bathroom for five bedrooms is not enough. Make sure you find a balance, especially if letting out your house – if multiple occupants share similar schedules, morning showers can become a hassle, one that busy Londoners could do without.
5.Check building regulations! You may not need planning permission, but you still need to meet all building regulations. If all are met, you should be able to begin work 48 hours after notification.
6. Check the rules in YOUR area. Do you live in a conservation area? The rules may be different from a conservation area a few minutes down the road. You may be lucky too – if neighbouring houses have been approved for projects that may contravene these rules, you may be able to obtain planning permission for similar works – it is no sure bet though. You will almost always need planning permission in a conservation area, assume you do.
7. Is your building listed? There is a lot of inconsistency in this area as it is down to the conservation officer’s personal opinion. Obtaining permission will require more hoop jumping and in some cases may not be possible.
8. Check the minimum room sizes that planning will allow. Of course, a room that falls below these sizes will not be useful for anything but storage.
9. Think open plan. Sometimes knocking down a wall can really increase your usable space. Works great for kitchens and living rooms…not so much for bathrooms.
10. Think it through. Think every stage through. Make sure you are building something you want or need and optimise it for that purpose. Check planning permissions, regulations. Plan how much you wish to spend, but make provisions. You may find that halfway through you want to add something, it may make financial sense. For example, you may be planning fix up your the gas pipes under your house at some point in the future – if your are already lifting up your floorboards, it may make sense to do it now. The builder that includes this in their quote, is the builder that won’t surprise you by shooting dramatically over your spending expectations and deliver a project overdue. Building is not an exact process, so only trust the builder that tells you this upfront, don’t let them use it as an excuse down the line!
For advice from one of our experienced project managers or a consultation from one of our estimators call us on 020 7978 7840 – quotes are free! We also provide free planning drawings for loft conversions, extensions etc.. (terms here, dates are flexible).