Planning a home extension can be a very exciting time, but it can also be quite daunting, especially if you have little experience of home improvement or of dealing with builders and architects. By following these 7 simple rules, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and heartache, and improve your chances of completing a successful project.
Extending your home may well add considerable value, but it’s not a guarantee – areas have a property ceiling price that it will be very difficult to exceed, and depending on the finish you want for your extension you may or may not make your money back. Extending a property, not matter how well the project is managed, will disrupt your life and requires significant financial outlay, so it’s not something to gamble on – only extend if it will make your life in your home better and meet your needs.
- Don’t start the project unless you’re sure you can afford to finish it
It’s pretty usual for projects to go over budget – builders commonly come across unexpected things once they start the work, so you should ensure that you have a sizable contingency of around 10-15% of your project budget.
- Don’t get your heart set on a completion date
Delays are not uncommon in building projects, so don’t get too attached to a completion date – it’s a little like a due date when expecting a baby, and only 5% of babies arrive on their due date!
- Don’t expect the project to manage itself
Projects need driving forward – it’s your job to keep the momentum going! Agree realistic timescales at the start of the project and expect detailed explanations for any delays – every extra day costs money, so it’s your responsibility to ensure delays are kept to a minimum.
Be clear at the start about what you want to achieve – making decisions as you go along will cause delays as you fall victim to supplier lead times. If your project is well planned you will always be ‘one step ahead’, ensuring you have everything in place for the next stage of the build.
- Don’t accept the first quote you’re given
How can you tell if it’s a realistic quote if it’s the only one you’ve had? Getting 3 quotes for any job will help you make the best decision. Make sure quotes are detailed and itemised so you know what’s included and what will be charged on top, and make sure it’s a formal quote and not just an estimate. Any changes to a quote should be agreed before the work is carried out, so there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises when your final bill arrives.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you feel that the project is overwhelming and too much for you to handle along, the hiring of a project manager should always be considered an option. It will eat up a significant chunk of your budget, but they should save you time (and therefore money) if you’re unconfident or inexperienced, so will be worth their fee and ultimately could make the difference between a successful project and one you can’t afford to complete.