House extensions are a popular choice in 2021, as people need more space, either to work from home, or to provide for a growing family without the disruption of moving house. It can be a time-consuming process, but putting some effort into the planning stage should ensure fewer hiccups later down the line. Here are some points to bear in mind.
Sort the planning regs first
Most single-storey home extensions are allowable under Permitted Development rights, unless you live in a listed building or in a Conservation Area or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Rear extensions must be no more than 4m depth for a detached house, and 3m depth for a semi-detached or terraced house.
For side extensions, the width of the extension must be no more than half the width of the original dwelling. The materials used must be similar to those of the main building.
Make sure you have building regs approval
Building regulations approval is usually needed for home extensions, even where Planning Permission is not required. They set out the minimum requirements for structural integrity, fire safety, energy efficiency, damp proofing, ventilation, and other aspects which ensure the building is a safe space to live in. Some outbuildings and conservatories may be exempt.
Be aware of the Party Wall Act
If you are extending your house up to the boundary of your neighbours’ property, or will be digging foundations within 3m of the boundary, you will need to comply with the Party Wall Act. This will pre-empt any disagreements with your neighbours, and give you a clear legal case should any problems arise.
Party walls can include floors and ceilings between walls in flats; shared boundary walls, such as those between semis and terraced houses, and garden walls or other boundaries between detached houses. It is good practice to talk to your neighbours about your plans first before issuing the notice.
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