Types of Extensions


When it comes to creating extra space in your home, the options for extensions are endless. Even on properties where it seems there is no extra space to be gained, a good architect or designer will nearly always be able to create something impressive.

After all, until a few years ago most people had never thought of filling in the side return on their Victorian properties. Fast forward to today and by filling in the narrow side return, some of which are as little as two meters in width, thousands of families have been able to create large, open-plan living spaces with skylights, kitchen islands, and folding-sliding doors opening out onto their gardens. Some even go further to have a bedroom or two added above.

Extensions can be single, double or multi-storey and can be added to the front, side or rear of your house. That’s not even listing conservatories or outhouses.

Gaining extra space on one part of the house doesn’t mean simply moving more stuff into that room. While you are extending it’s a good time to think about changing the internal layout of your rooms. If, for example, you have three or four small to medium-sized rooms on the ground floor, why not convert to one or two large, open living spaces.

The beauty of having an extension is that your home can grow with you as your family does. Most homes that were built for Edwardian or Victorian lifestyle are not perfect for today’s modern living. You don’t need to move when you love the area so much, just change it!

What roof options are available for an extension?
Pitched roof: Generally, this has a pitch of 15 degrees or above and is tiled with clay, slate, asphalt or concrete.

Flat roof: This has a pitch of 1 to 15 degrees. Each roof has to drain slightly, but it can be a tiny slope.

Glass roof: This can look very effective, but unless you have very thick glass, you can lose a lot of heat.

Instead, you use different materials on your roof to create a multi-faceted roof. For example, you can have a pitched roof that goes to a flat roof with some glass.

What exterior options are available for extensions?
Face brick is the most common. Otherwise, render, which is an external plastering that can be painted to match your home. Wood cladding can also look very effective by using timber on the outside of your home.

How do you go about getting planning permission and approval to build?

It’s the same as when building a loft conversion.

You need approval from the local authority on what you are going to build. All households have a right to develop unless it breaks any of the following regulations. There are two main applications:

  1. The Householder Application for Planning Permission: Your design plans must be in keeping with the existing property and comply with supplementary guidelines. This is not the same as planning permission but looks at fire resistance, structural stability, ventilation, thermal insulation and drainage, rather than the siting, design and external appearance of the building. An architect or designer will understand these regulations.
  2. Permitted Development / Certificate of Lawfulness: As a property owner, you have an ‘allowance’ of what you can build. These are black and white regulations that if followed allow you to build without neighbours objecting

If your proposal involves building over or near to public sewers or any new connections, the agreement of Thames Water Utilities Ltd must be sought before work is undertaken. Where a formal agreement or a CCTV Survey are requested, a fee is payable. Thames Water is responsible for maintaining 80,000 kilometres of public sewers, which are sometimes located within the boundaries of residential properties. Any building works over the top or within three metres of a public sewer require a prior agreement with Thames Water to ensure that no damage is caused to it or restrictions made to the use/maintenance of the sewer.

With the submission of a Full Plans Application the responsibility lies with your local authority to consult Thames Water when building over or near to a public sewer might occur. If a sewer has already been identified by your architect or engineer you can apply for an agreement personally, and this can speed up the process of your Full Plans Application.

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