Home renovations are always exciting. Not only are you given a chance to correct aspects of the house to make it work better for your lifestyle, but it also allows you to get creative in making aesthetics and functionality meet.

One of the common options you have is extending your home. Be it vertical or horizontal, this type of remodeling requires an experienced building contractor to make sure that the project goes as planned.

On top of that, there are seven things you must think about to avoid unnecessary headaches during the construction. Read on to learn more about them.

1. Research About the Local Building Regulations

Before you can go ahead with your remodeling project, you must first make sure that your plan complies with the local building code.

Most repair works don’t usually require additional permits. However, extensions may need additional approval from authorities. To be safe, it is best to check with the local building regulations in your neighborhood.

For instance, Dubai issues permits to contractors for minor modifications and structural additions that don’t involve additional calculations and parking requirement. In general, the local government permits projects that don’t alter the building design or affect its usage.

In comparison, you may only need to apply for building permits in the United Kingdom for projects such as home extensions for purposes of adding a bedroom, lounge, or kitchen.

2. Choosing the Right Person for the Job

Several types of experts can do designing house extensions. These include architects, architectural technicians, specialist designers, licensed general contractors, and package build companies with in-house design teams.

When looking for the right people for the job, you can start by seeking recommendations and referrals from friends and family. Your neighbors may also have some decent candidates whom they worked with previously.

You may also research online, which is particularly helpful in finding people who have experience working on projects that are similar to what you wish to build. Thorough researching can help you come across professionals who offer an initial consultation at no cost.

Also, keep in mind that while the experts are fully capable of delivering a good output, the result will still depend on how much information you can provide. The more details you can offer, the more accurate the estimated cost will be.

3. Get the Neighborhood Pulse

Certain projects entail digging into the Restumping of nearby properties. If this is the case for your expansion project, you may need to talk to your neighbors. Those who might be affected by the extension of your home should be consulted first.

Keep in mind that your neighbors cannot prevent you from vertically expanding your home or maximizing the use of your land by extending it to the boundary. This is true even when you require the use of their land to do so with appropriate government permits. Still, it is best to avoid disputes by talking to them about your plans.

4. Cost Estimates and Contingency Budget

The budget is probably the most significant consideration homeowners have when it comes to a remodeling project. It also determines the extent of your home expansion and how detailed it can be.

To make sure your budget is realistic, talk to your chosen builder for a cost estimate. As suggested earlier, you must make sure that you get all the details out during your consultation to estimate costs as close to the actual expenses as possible.

Working out costs can be challenging, particularly due to unexpected expenditures. Your builder’s quote should be able to detail almost everything in their proposal. Even so, you should still expect to see extra costs like professional fees, decorating expenses, and application fees for when your project requires a government permit.

Because of this, you should make sure that you’re not caught off-guard by having a contingency budget ready. A good contingency budget should be somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of the overall construction cost.

5. Creating Continuity in the Old and New Structure

Extension projects can be trickier to design than an entirely new structure built from the ground up. This is because you have to make sure that the new structure sits well with the old one.

When it comes to the design, you can decide whether the two structures complement or contrast with each other. Either way, you should make sure to talk it out with your builder and ask for a perspective view so you can see how it would look like when the project is done.

6. Consider Temporarily Leaving the House

Living in a house that is being renovated is possible, but you have to understand that it would entail several unpleasantries for both your family and the builders. For one thing, you would have to deal with the dust and mess. Secondly, your builders’ work may be slower than expected as they would work around your life.

To avoid these consequences, you should consider moving out of the house temporarily. This should make the builders work faster and prevent your family from being disgruntled by the chaos. You can choose to live with relatives or friends, sign a short-term rent for an apartment, or stay at a hotel.

7. Plan Vertical Expansions with Care

Planning vertical expansions requires extra care, especially if the original structure wasn’t made to handle the additional load. Consult builders first to see whether your house has shallow foundations or has steel frames that need to be strengthened. In some cases, it is more cost-effective to demolish and rebuild rather than extend upwards.

A Final Word: Before You Extend Your Home

Expanding an existing structure is often the best way to accommodate changes in one’s lifestyle or additions to the family. Make sure you do it properly by taking these considerations into account first and avoid facing extra costs and headaches later.


Rachel Hennessey manages the Pools and Landscaping Division of Hennessey LLC. She also works on Tender and Pre-Qualification and brings in new business to the company’s Construction, Interiors and Civils Division.