5  MORE THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE STARTING HOME IMPROVMENT

  • ROOMS LEADING TO OTHER ROOMS ARE BEST AVOIDED

You don’t want to send your visitors on a guided tour of the house, just to find your downstairs loo.

Likewise, you might find it a tad tiresome having to traipse through the entire house and its occupants, every time you want to take a leak.

  • IF YOU CAN’T BUILD UP OR OUT, WHAT ABOUT BUILDING DOWN?

If, for practical or legal reasons, it is a non starter to convert your loft or extend your house length wise, then it may be worth considering building down.

Admittedly, at £3,000-4,000/m² creating a whole new basement may be an expensive luxury, really only worth it for home owners in London. But if you already have a basement which is not in use, this is a serious idea for development.

The good news is that you usually don’t need permission to put in basement windows and doors. However, do not do anything without checking the regulations first!

  • OPEN PLAN LIVING RULES – BUT CHECK BEFORE REMOVING ANY SUPPORTING WALLS!

Everyone loves the open plan way of life, but take care before you demolish a supporting wall!

Assuming that your plans comply with building regulations, there are other ways to subtly denote a border to your living space, than a wall.

These may be; the use of different flooring to separate areas out visually, the strategic positioning of furniture such as kitchen islands, tables etc and the use of different types of lighting.

But firstly, it is an idea to check if the open plan lifestyle is suitable for you. This may depend on the number of occupants in the house and whether the privacy of separate rooms is a help or a hindrance to you.

  • CONVERTING A LOFT

One of the most popular conversions is to the top of the house. A loft is often an underused space which can be successfully opened up to habitation.

However, there are things to consider.

Although you may not need to seek permission to extend your loft, there are times when it would be necessary.

These would include raising the roof. There are often good reasons why you would want to do this.

Loft conversions can end up lowering the ceiling in the loft, because of the necessity to have 150mm of insulation as well as a 50mm air gap in the roof.

Because of this, you may consider extending the roof, which is when you may need to seek permission.

Other times that you would need to seek permission include extending the roof outwards by more than 50m³ (or for terraces 40m³)

  • WHY ESTIMATES AND QUOTES ARE NOT THE SAME THING

Finally, a word concerning estimates and quotes.

An estimate is just that. This is a figure that can change and probably will do.

An actual quotation from a builder is a written document detailing all the costs and charges involved in the work. Make sure you study this carefully and check whether things like VAT are included.