Top 10 tips to creating a successful house extension | The perfect guide

How to build a successful house extension…

Are you happy with where you live but would like that bit more space? Extending your home is the way forward! Every home is unique to the people who live in them so here are some tips on how to successfully extend your home.

10 – Get all approvals first

This is where the experts come in…depending on the size, shape and scale of your new extension, you may need to apply for planning permission but don’t panic. As each local council is different there is no straightforward rule of thumb for designing extensions which can only mean one thing; find a designer who is willing to go the extra mile and push the boundaries! You will find that most council websites provide a lot of information and design guides which are provided to ensure your local area is complimented by architecture and not destroyed so it’s not a system to be knocked!

Even if your extension does not need Planning Permission it will need Building Regulations Approval which is there to enforce construction standards across the UK. Building regulations safeguard designs by making sure the buildings are built correctly and inspections take place along the way which helps prevent unprofessional procurement and the dreaded ‘cowboy builder’ which is always a good thing!

For more information on Planning Permission and Building Regulations visit –

9 – Talk to your neighbours 

Get your neighbours on side! Sometimes it’s your neighbours that can make or break a planning application in the eyes of the council as an objection to your proposal is never an easy hurdle to overcome. A simple chat with them can go a long way so show them what you’re planning and explain the design and give reasons why this is your dream. It will definitely help them understand your proposal more and then hopefully there will be limited or no objections.

8 – Set a budget

This might sound a simple step towards making your dream reality but it’s common to overspend on even the smallest projects. The general rule is to allow for £1,000-£2,000 per square meter and then allow an extra 10-20 percent contingency fund. Even better practice would be to issue the designers drawings to Quantity Surveyor for them to provide an accurate cost.

Also bear in mind that not only do you have the build budget, there will be the designer’s and consultants fees, government VAT and also local authorities fees for the applications too. So, be realistic with your budget as to create the perfect dream home, it is not all about the new build extension alone. Lots of factors collaboratively create a beautiful and functional space.

7- What is the purpose of the extension?

A question most people think they know the answer too, however there tend to be more answers to this question than space and budget will allow so compromise is generally required or a really good designer who will work hard with you to achieve your dream extension! Whether you’re a young couple in the early stages of living together or a family of four whom have lived in the same home for many years, for each person within that home will require a different and varied outcome of the space/s. For one person it may be a tranquil environment to return to after a hard day at the office and for the other it may be a social environment to host friends and have a good old natter. Therefore make sure you consider who will use this space, when it will be used and what it will be used for. Is it an extra bedroom you are looking for or are you craving a bigger, brighter kitchen/dining open plan living space?

6 – Consider the location and setting

Where your home is situated is paramount to the design of your extension. The best extensions out there are those sympathetic to their surroundings or across the spectrum those which contrast their surroundings. From a rural village to a city suburb no one extension is the same so why not use your surroundings as an opportunity to push the boundaries of construction technologies and compliment or contrast your innovative designs. Are you near a babbling brook? Noisy train line? Woodland wildlife? Busy urban street scene?

5 – Research different materials

Material choice is crucial to the design of extensions as it is the material finishes that bring the structure to life. Whether you want your extension to stand out from the crowd or be a subtle improvement, there are many options to choose between with many manufacturers and suppliers of the same product all who offer different services, so be sure to do your homework before entering the minefield!

Timber cladding is a material choice that is becoming more frequently used so if you are looking for a rustic feel to your extension give timber the thumbs up! If you would prefer a clean, crisp finish to a contemporary extension maybe a mix of white render and grey slate would work well with large spans of glazing.

4 – Think outside the box

An extension can be upwards into the loft, outwards as an addition or downwards to a basement therefore no extension is the same so make yours stand out from the crowd and give it the wow factor! Maybe add some quirky details to the design that sets yours aside from the typical extension – whether it is the shape of the extension or a hidden glazing panel where the new meets old. Remember to keep on pushing them boundaries and proving why residential architecture is exciting!

For more innovative ideas click on link –

3 – Landscaping

This, you may ask why it is in the top ten…but…a great architecture designer will take into consideration the surroundings and incorporate it into the proposal because after all, we all love the outdoors! Architecture is complimented by nature so if you have a view use it, if not create one in your outdoor space.

When showing your new extension to friends and family do you really want a tired looking garden or would you rather show off your home as an entirety and be proud to call it all yours?

2 – Choose the right builder

Choosing the right builder is crucial to constructing your dream as with the wrong one your dream will very quickly become a nightmare! So make sure you research builders long and hard, visit previous projects they have done, carry out numerous chats with them (as let’s face you have to be able to work with them!) and take a look on websites for reviews. Some local council panels have set up schemes in their boroughs to assist with this decision and created directories for you with only the local builders who meet the high standards and are recommended by other people in your area so search through them!

1 – Finding the right Designer or Consultant!!

This is the most important part of all (slightly biased I know but it is fundamental!). If you want to stand out from the crowd and have the best extension on your street, choose a designer with a mountain of experience in residential architecture.

You will go through many designers’ websites looking through portfolios of previous work but be sure to notice if the company have won any awards for their work. Awards indicate not only that they are experienced and creative at what they do but also they are highly respected within the industry too which is second to none for you as the client.

To get the most out of your experience with the designer you must be open and honest because your dreams will be made reality in the hands of their interpretations from your brief.

Extending your home can be immensely rewarding and can make a big difference to your lifestyle and with a little insight and some useful advice you will soon be well on your way to living the dream!

Author: Architectural Designer – Hayley Pearse – Find out more about Hayley (click through our team) if you would like to discuss the future of housing or your own development contact us.