THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE STARTING HOME IMPROVEMENTS
MAKE SURE YOU ARE INSURED NO MATTER WHAT THE BUILDER TELLS YOU
First thing is first. Your builder may swear blind that they have the correct insurance for your building project, but you might like to verify that fact for yourself.
Better still, you want to have your own insurance. The reason for this is, even if your contractor does have insurance, you may have to prove his liability for whatever it is you need to claim for. That could get litigious and expensive, not to mention acrimonious.
If you have the right type of site insurance it saves all that. You will usually need to purchase this separately, as it is usually not included in home insurance.
GET LEGAL – DON’T DO ANYTHING WITHOUT KNOWING THE REGULATIONS
It should go without saying that you shouldn’t do anything without thoroughly checking with the regulations.
These would include, but not be limited to;
- Knowing what your permitted developments are. These are the types of work you can do without needing to seek planning permission.
These can depend on the type of residence you live in (a house, a flat etc) and the area of the country you live in.
- An understanding of the Party Wall Act and how it affects you and your neighbours. Beforeyou build anything.
- Knowing which renovations need permission. These include home extensions, some loft conversions, removing supporting walls, installation of bathrooms and WCs. This list is not exhaustive.
- Listed Buildings; if your building is listed you cannot just change it under your permitted development rights. You will have to ask for permission to make any alterations and be prepared to work closely with your local authority.
- Conservation Areas; If you live in one of these, check with your local authority about what is permitted and what needs to be requested. Don’t just assume your permitted development rights would be the same as anyone else.
- Trees; This one could catch you unawares, but before taking the axe to that old oak, just check it doesn’t have any protected status! This could occur if you live within a conservation area.
YOU HAVE THE FREEDOM TO FLUSH WHEREVER YOU LIKE
Crazy as it sounds, not that long ago there was a rule about where exactly you could put a toilet or bathroom, but now you can more or less do what you want, within certain guidelines. You will need to include a hand basin and adequate space and ventilation.
YOUR CONSERVATORY IS LONELY. TRY AND INCLUDE IT IN THE FULL HUB OF THE HOUSE
If you have got a conservatory that is sitting unused and unloved, because it is cold and rather separate to the rest of your home, this could be a chance to bring it into proper play.
With some clever remodelling, a conservatory can be brought into the bosom of the home. But a careful eye needs to be kept on building regulations.
To make sure it complies, you may need to re jig the glazed area to solid wall ratio.
If this meets requirements, it could be possible to remove the exterior wall separating the conservatory from the main house and turning it into a ‘proper’ extension.
THE RIGHT TO LIGHT IS ENSHRINED IN LAW
Particularly if your property stands close to your neighbours, tread carefully.
Your neighbour may have grounds to object if your extension completely blocks out the light into their property.
However this does not mean that they can block your proposals, just because they may be able to see your extension from their window.