A guide to building a house extension in Northern Ireland
- Posted by Ryan Hood
- On 5 December 2016
- 0 Comments
- Architects, Builders, Costs, House Extension, Northern Ireland, Planning Permission
A house extension in Northern Ireland can be a great way to improve your home without moving. Quite often a simple solution can dramatically change the character of a house and provide that extra space required for a growing family or changing needs. Extending your home can be a great investment, adding space and improving your homes market value.
What options do I have for extending my home?
Over the years, we have extended many homes in a variety of ways. Each house extension is unique and one solution will not work for every scenario.
The most common types of extension are rear extensions, side extensions and a wrapped extension. It may be possible to also extend to the front of your house but this tends to be a little more restrictive and less common.
How much will it cost?
Planning and calculating Total Costs is one of the most important parts of a project.
The complexity of the project can have an impact on the cost and an architect can offer you advice based on their experience working on similar projects. An appropriate builder can guide you on budget costs at an early stage.
Most people start a project and quite often only think about the build costs. How much for the bricks and mortar, the kitchen and bathrooms, the tiles and décor? These are all very important elements but there are also other costs that need to be factored in to ensure that the project is achievable. Let’s look at what some of these could be.
Costs and details to consider :
Professional Fees – Architect, Structural Engineer
Statutory Approvals – Planning Approval and Building Control Approval.
Contractor Costs – Will you engage one main contractor for the build or employ direct labour?
The cost of insurance – Insurance cost depends on whether you use one main contractor or employ direct labour.
As you can see there are many things to consider, therefore it is important to speak to an architect early in the process.
Do I need drawings?
Yes. Construction projects are all about communication and the best way to communicate the details of your project is through drawings. These will be required for obtaining statutory approvals, quotes from builders and finally used as construction documents for the builder when they are onsite.
Do I need Planning Permission?
In some instances, it is possible to carry out a small house extension in Northern Ireland or make alterations to your property without planning permission. This must meet specific requirements which are set out under Permitted Development.
This webpage gives a simple overview on what falls within permitted development.
If your project does not fall within permitted development criteria a planning application will be required. This application will require you (or your Architect) to submit an application form, a set of existing and proposed drawings and a fee to cover the application fee.
Is this the same as Building Control Approval?
No, Building Control Approval is a separate requirement. So, what are they for and why do I need it?
Building Regulations for a house extension in Northern Ireland are necessary to ensure that an acceptable standard of construction is achieved to protect the health and safety of people in and around buildings and to regulate access to buildings and apply energy conservation regulations.
Building Regulations apply to most ‘building work’. This requires you to make an application before proceeding with the work. Building Control applications must be submitted to Building Control Services within your local council. Applications are required for new build, property extensions and work of a minor nature; particularly installing fittings, new heating appliances and systems, altering a building’s structure, changing the use of a building or building work affecting fire safety.
How do I find a Builder?
If you have employed an Architect, they will be able to recommend several good builders that they have experience working with. Quite often our clients will suggest builders that have worked for their family members or friends and have come recommended.
In all cases, we would always ask for a few references from previous employers, especially from employers who have used the builder on similar projects to theirs.
Ensure all your documentation is in place before seeking quotes. For example – Drawings, Specifications & Approvals.
Get Quotes from at least 3 Builders to ensure you are getting a competitive quote.
Make sure that your builder is fully insured.
Ask your builder do they offer any form of guarantee, or better still, insist that they enter a building contract covering all parties during AND after the works.
In our next BLOG post we will look at design options to consider when planning your house extension.
Related: Our guide to buying an old house in Northern Ireland