Ask a Tradesman
Where do i start??
I have recently moved into a 3 bedroomed detached 1960's property and would like to make some external and internal changes, not having done any structual work before am in need of help. The front of the house is flat but the front porch, attached garage and downstairs wc extend out the front with a flat roof. Firstly we would like to extend the ground floor out to the level of the porch making the living room larger. We would also like to either convert the garage into a hall moving the stairs and the wc from the current side of the wall to the garage side of the wall making the lounge a square. At the end of the garage the house recedes by the width of the garage, we would like to do a double extension a door width short of the garage (access to outside) to make the kitchen bigger and also the single bedroom upstsairs into a small double. Failing this demolshing the garage and building a double storey extension leaving access at the side. This would make the upstairs bathroom, landing and bedroom bigger. We have various inside renovations as well, but, don't know whether to contact a builder first or to contact our local council for advise (as we don't know if we will need to move drains soil pipes etc.,) or to contact an architect first. Any advise would be helpful as we just seem to be going round in circles!!!! Thanks
Option 1 - Planning is going to be your first hurdle. Most councils offer a free "Duty Planner Service". If you take some photos of your property, go down to their offices and discuss your ideas with them, they will give you informal advice as to whether your ideas are worthy of an application or not. Based on this information you will be able to make a decision of how you want to proceed with your development and then get an Architect or Architectural technician to design the extensions and internal alterations. You may be able to get an estimate from builders but they probably will not be able to give you a quote until your Building Regulation drawings are complete.
Option 2 - If your local Planning dept charge to see the duty planner, it may be worth speaking to an Architect/Architectural technician first. Some will charge for their consultation but others will be free if local to you. They should be able to advise on Planning as well as all other alterations including drainage.
Just so you are aware there are 2 applications required to the council - one is for Planning where they determine how the development affects the street scene and neighbours etc and the other is a Full Plan Application (known as Building regs). This application will contain detailed drawings specifying materials to use, drainage alterations, steel beams etc. From these drawings the builders will give an accurate quote and also build from.
Hope that helps
Answered 22nd Jan 2013