9 Extension Mistakes to Avoid

If you need more space that can’t be granted thanks to an interior remodel or conversion of existing space like a loft or garage, then adding an extension is the next best option if you want to remain in your existing home.

It helps to be aware of the most common mistakes made by extenders if you are to avoid making them yourself. Here are some of the top extension pitfalls to give a wide berth.

1. Being Unrealistic with Your Schedule

Ok, so you might be the exception to the rule, but a huge number of projects take longer than anticipated. Being aware of this from the very beginning can help to manage your expectations and avoid stress, especially if you are living onsite during the project.

When adding a sympathetic extension to this listed cottage, it was essential that the roof pitch and roof material matched the existing cottage

2. Long Planning Delays

Having a chat with the planners before submitting plans can help avoid delays and disappointment. Find out what is likely to be acceptable and you will be able to get an idea of whether or not you are going to run into problems.

3. Running out of Money

There is nothing like a half-finished project, ground to a halt by an empty bank account, to get you down. Get fixed quotes rather than estimates where you can and try to have a contingency fund (around 10 percent) to give yourself a bit of breathing space.

Thinking of extending your home? For expert advice visit the Homebuilding & Renovating Show. Get two free tickets here.

4. Being Indecisive

We all change our minds and it can sometimes be the case that once a project is underway, part of the design no longer seems the good idea it initially did. But changing your mind can have a knock on effect when it comes to both project duration and cost. Sticking to the original plan as much as possible will avoid delays and overspending.

Planning constraints gave rise to the concept for this truly unique extension in Hampshire

5. Choosing Bad Tradesmen

Don’t let your project turn into a series of arguments and let-downs. Choose tradesmen based on their previous work and trusted recommendations — not on the cheapest quote.

Find a tradesperson

6. Forgetting Bathrooms

If you are adding bedrooms, you may well need to add a bathroom, or at least a shower room. If you are having more than three bedrooms, you will need more than one bathroom — otherwise future buyers could be put off the house.

7. Getting Windows Wrong

A surefire way to ruin any project is to get the window design wrong. If you are trying to build an extension that matches the original building, then match the windows exactly. Don’t think that plastic look-a-likes will suffice next to timber — they won’t.

Likewise, consider the impact that the new extension will have on the existing windows and light. Making existing windows smaller to accommodate a new roof, for example, can mean things start to look out of proportion.

Modernist-style rear extension to a converted mill

8. Forgetting Extension Insurance

By taking on a significant building project, like an extension, you could invalidate your existing home insurance policy. It only takes one mishap to completely derail a building project, and raise the question of who is legally, and financially, responsible.

Secure piece of mind by taking out a specialist policy for your project.

Get a quote now to protect your extension project

9. Missing Chances to Keeping Things Running Smoothly

There is plenty you can do to ensure that each stage of your project gets completed with minimal fuss, meaning the next stage can commence without a delay, and the stress on you and your family is reduced.

Things that may seem low down in terms of priorities on your to-do list can actually make all the difference. Take the provision for toilets, for example. You might think you are ok with tradesmen using yours, but you may change your mind after weeks of having builders traipsing in and out of your already disrupted home with muddy boots and dusty clothes — making a tricky situation worse.

Some contractors will provide their own portable chemical toilets, which cost around £45 per week to hire.

Other opportunities to remember:

  • Regularly hiring skips will also help keep building-related rubble under control, rather than letting it pile up into huge unmanageable and unsightly mounds
  • Remember that tradesmen will require access to water and electrics – think about how you can make provision for that in a manner that causes the least disruption to your daily life
  • Make sure you are in regular communication with your builders about what is happening and, what will be happening next — especially if you are acting as project manager. Knowing that the electrician or plumber will be required before work can continue on an aspect of the build, or that materials are going to be needed next week, is vital if things are to keep ticking along at a good pace

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