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When you are extending your property you have to look at three things; the planning, the aesthetics (what it looks like) whether it's in keeping with the area, the building regulations (this looks at the extension being built to a minimum standard (note the word “minimum” and not “best” standard).  The other areas are conversation listed or a tree preservation order. Surprisingly you can’t just build what you want on your own property which is a good thing, see this photo of an Edwardian property with plastic windows put in!!

There are various options available to you when you run out of room in your house.  One is to move to a bigger or different house and the other is to extend.  You can extend upward into the roof (which is a loft extension) or extend outwards or sideways, but normally to the front of the property unless it’s in keeping.  A question that we have been asked recently is “can we have a shower into the front of the property?”.  Some extensions if they are very small don’t need planning permission or building regulations, like a porch or like a shower room extension.  Please see the attached sketch below as a guide for when you need planning permission.


So you’ve decided to have an extension built what next?

You have several options.  You can call in a designer such as an architect, building surveyor, interior designer.  The advantages of using a designer is that they can often see in 3D and use the space to the best advantage.  One obvious drawback that we have come across before is that some of them have got limited knowledge of costs. 


The other option is you can go to a builder who knows a designer.  The advantages of this is that a builder knows and understands costs and lives in the real world, the disadvantages are that he may be too practical with no flare or style or he may delay the process to ensure it coincides with him being able to do the work.  Overall the biggest disadvantage is that you can’t go to tender to different builders as you won’t have adequate documentation to do this.  Having said that, producing detailed drawings and what is called specifications of building quantities can in themselves be very costly.  It is certainly not as simple as they make out on the TV programmes!


For further information or advice telephone 1st Associated on 0800 298 5424 or visit


You can usually do the work shown without getting planning permission but there are a few exceptions so contact your Planning Department of your Local Borough Council first.


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