Will this add value to my house?

Provided it is done correctly – ie that any necessary planning permission has been obtained and building regulations approved by your local authority – then an extension should increase the value of your home. If the work has been carried out professionally then it will definitely add thousands on to your home’s value. Recent research carried out by the Nationwide Building Society, for instance, showed that a bedroom extension with en-suite had the ability to add up to 23 per cent to the value of a property. A kitchen or bathroom extension added six per cent to the value. So, not only does an extension increase the value of your current home, it also makes living there much more comfortable and enjoyable!


Do I need an architect?

An architect can help with designing and planning your home extension. Unless you want a simple, basic extension with no bells and whistles then go ahead and do it yourself. However, in most cases, an architect is essential. An extension costs a lot of money after all – it deserves professional attention. Not only that but an architect will be able to keep you up-to-date with architectural trends, provide ideas you’d never considered before, and produce drawings necessary to show your local authority Building Control and Planning teams. An architect will also have contacts within the industry to help you access specific materials you would like to use.


Do I need an engineer?

When removing a load-bearing wall it is always necessary to have an engineer onboard to oversee matters. He or she will oversee the installation of reinforcements such as metal ‘pillars’ and scaffolding so that the roof of your home – or another adjacent wall – doesn’t collapse the moment the load-bearing wall is removed. It is actually your structural engineer that will normally apply to the council’s Building Control team for permission to remove the main outside wall. Their application will consist of detailed and scaled drawings of your home and the action they intend to take during the removal. At Sovereign Home Improvements we can do this for you.


Can I knock the back wall of the house down?

Many home extensions require the back wall of the home to be altered – especially if the plan is to have a contemporary, open-plan living space. In this instance the brick wall is replaced with floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors or bi-fold windows. And, if the extension is added on to the home in an open-plan format then, again, the wall will have to be removed to allow free movement from the existing property into the extension. The back wall is a load-bearing wall ie it supports the roof so approval will need to be sought with the local authority Building Control team. Sovereign has its own structural engineer who will calculate all the steels ready for our team to install.


Can I have Velux windows?

Velux windows are always placed in the roof of an extension and are an excellent way to add light and a feeling of space to the room. To maximise their potential the windows should be installed in the centre of the roof – rather than above a door or opposite a window. That’s because it is the centre of the new extension that will be darkest and require the most daylight. In total the windows installed in the roof of your new home extension should be equivalent to around 15 to 20 per cent of the floor space. Meanwhile, it’s also possible to buy special windows for conservation area to ensure your house doesn’t look out of place and will pass English Heritage guidelines.


Will I need a soakaway?

A soakaway helps prevent flooding of your new extension and home. That’s because it is basically a large hole in the ground which collects rain water from your conservatory or orangery. It should be between five to eight metres in distance from the extension and at least 2.5 metres away from the boundary of your property. The soakaway itself is usually a plastic crate which has a felt membrane to prevent twigs etc falling in and blocking the flow of water. It’s very common for a soakaway to be used for an extension, provided that extension is not built on soil which is dense with clay. That’s because in this case a soakaway wouldn’t work and some other solution would have to be found.


How deep will the foundations be?

The foundations for a new house extension must be at least one metre deep. This figure increases depending on how much clay is in the soil and whether there are any trees nearby. This is because over time the roots of the tree will seep moisture out from the ground around it, including the clay soil in the new foundations which in turn will cause them to shrink. If the soil contains sand or chalk it could be susceptible to frost so the foundations must be deep enough so that frost cannot penetrate (usually at least as deep as 450mm). If there are any drains or sewers in the vicinity then these will also affect the depth of your extension foundations.


Do I need planning permission to build an Extension?

The rules surrounding whether or not your home extension requires permission can be quite complex. This is the reason why here at Sovereign Home Improvements we are happy to deal with this side of matters for you. In the main though, planning permission isn’t required provided you meet certain requirements. These include your extension not being more than 50% of the size of your house and the roof and eaves being lower in height than those of your existing property. The extension must be built on the rear or side of your property (not the front). Also, the materials used to build your extension should be similar to those of your house so that it doesn’t ‘stand out’ too much.