An extension is a worthwhile investment that can add 20-30% to the value of a property while simultaneously providing a much nicer and functional space.
A well-designed extension which performs well in terms of heat retention will yield a significant return on investment; in many cases over 100% - paying for themselves.
However, choosing the right design, setting a budget, finding a builder and managing the process can seem like a daunting task to most.
In addition, we all know those renovation horror stories; builds going on too long, running over budget etc. etc.
With this in mind, here are my three top tips to get your project off to a good start...
1. Get the design right
It is vital that you get the design right for your new extension. Many people avoid using architects to save costs but this could mean that you do not actually get the best out of the extension.
Even if you do use an architect, it is unusual for the architect to be kept on through the project, which means in many cases the client does not actually get the extension they want/was originally designed.
Working with an expert will make sure you think about all the possible design options in the right way.
2. Pick the best people to work with
Putting together the right team to deliver your extension is one of the hardest parts of the process to get right. You must choose the best structural engineers, builders, and consultants which can be a very daunting task.
It is vital that you choose a good, reliable, stable builder with a track record of quality projects. You must also make sure to get the extension priced properly – if you do not, then there is little chance of the project being successful.
Ask your builders to provide a fully broken-down quotation, which lists every job they are going to do with a price next to it. Avoid builders who provide a long list of generic tasks with a large price at the bottom. You will have no way of knowing exactly what is or is not included in your price. This will cause problems.
Discount any builder that says they do not offer itemised quotes.
3. Make sure you manage the project delivery
Project managing effectively is vital when it comes to delivering a quality extension. It is worth considering employing a project manager who specialises in construction projects. They will charge around 5% of the project sum but it is worth the investment.
How your project is managed will dictate if it is on budget, on time, and on quality. The quality of works is not just related to the finish; it is just as important that the works you cannot see are carried out to the highest standards.
Managing the progress of the works is important. Use a Gantt Chart to schedule jobs and tasks. The speed at which a budget can run out of control is amazing.
Your budget needs to be linked to your program to help keep control. You need to have weekly meetings with your project management team - if you are project managing the job yourself, still have the meetings.
Do not forget to add a contingency, you will most likely need it and if you do not then you can put it back into the project. Keep your figures up to date updating them daily if you can.
I have recently joined forces with architects Studio Anyo and property developer Syon to launch a company called InFrame which uses modular construction methods.
Thanks to Studio Anyo’s experienced team, our clients benefit from access to the full architectural services throughout the project, whilst InFrame deals with all procurement. Other benefits of working with InFrame are:
◦ Architectural design extension as part of our service
◦ Trusted supply chain
◦ Extension completed in weeks not months
◦ Fix Price – Guaranteed
◦ 80% less waste
◦ Highly insulated and eco-friendly extension
◦ Guaranteed build quality
◦ One trusted point of contact
◦ Get exactly what you paid for, quickly, cost effectively
◦ Save on relocation fees as standard extensions completed in just 1 month
*Kunle Barker is a property expert, writer and TV presenter who began his construction career whilst studying for a MA at the University of Leeds. His knowledge is in high demand and he has delivered high profile TV projects for Alan Titchmarsh and Sarah Beeny as well as co-presenting the TV shows.