16 August 2022

How to make your dream home extension a reality in 2022

By Renovation Plan

Extending your home comes with many benefits. Not only does a building extension increase the value of your home but it also lets you adapt your living space to suit your lifestyle, with an extension that’s tailored to your precise needs. And with today’s property market more competitive than ever, extending your home means avoiding all the stress, hassle and expense of moving house.

But home renovation can still be hard work, especially in the current financial climate. Rising prices and changing regulations are squeezing the market, creating new challenges for renovators. So how can you turn your dream home extension into reality this year? Here we cover everything you need to know, from potential pitfalls, to workarounds, to the right home renovation insurance.

What is challenging about home extensions today?

Material shortages

As many building materials are sourced from the EU, it’s become harder to get hold of essentials like cement, mortar, timber and roof tiles as a result of Brexit. This has been made worse by the pandemic, which put unprecedented pressure on supply chains, combined with a drop in key skilled workers like HGV drivers – all adding up to material shortages that make it more challenging for you to crack on with your building extension.

Higher prices

The shortages in materials have had a knock-on effect on price. The sustained higher demand for renovations since the pandemic, and the effects of infection and self-isolation on the availability of builders, has contributed to an overall rise in prices. Contractors are charging more both for their services and to cover the rise in costs of materials, so these days you can expect a house extension to cost more.

Regulatory changes

Extensions are subject to certain planning rules and building regulations. Recently, as part of the government’s Net Zero policy, changes have been made to building regulations that will have an impact on future building extensions. The new standards set tighter restrictions on energy efficiency, increasing insulation needs, which mean walls could become thicker and floor space smaller. This in turn could influence the design and space you need for your extension, so it’s important to be aware of these changes before you get going on your project.

Ways to make your home extension work

Stick with smaller

The more complicated an extension design, the more complex it will be to build. Start with size – a smaller extension is less likely to need planning permission and more likely to fall under your permitted development rights. This means you can overcome a big regulatory hurdle straight away.

As a rule, it’s usually extensions that will cover at least half the area of land surrounding your home, or when you’re planning to increase the overall height of your property, that need planning permission. Check with your local authority before you get designing so you know what falls under your permitted rights.

Keep it simple

In the face of rising costs, consider a simple design for your extension. A straightforward rectangle with a standard pitched roof will be easier to build, making it more cost-effective than an ambitious irregular-shaped design.

The materials you use matter too – simple building materials, combined with standard fixtures and fittings rather than bespoke options, will be easier to install and cheaper too, while the position of your fixtures can influence how much time is spent installing and connecting essentials like plumbing or power.

Have a clear plan

Liaising with builders early on in the process will help you get your extension underway faster. Contractors are in high demand at the moment, with many being booked up months in advance. Start to look for your contractors while designs are still in progress so you can get a realistic timeline in place – and try to keep to your end-goal as much as possible.

Constant changes of mind may hold up the process and cost more in the long-run as your contractors have to reschedule and source new materials. So while you may need to be flexible in terms of minor adjustments along the way for budgetary and timescale reasons, sticking to a clear plan will help things run more smoothly.

Keep your renovation covered

Building an extension can be a long and complex process, and if anything goes wrong – from an accident on site to damage to your existing home – your dream could quickly turn into a renovation nightmare. Many renovators aren’t aware that standard home insurance rarely covers your home while works are underway – leaving them exposed. So before your works start, look into home renovation insurance to make sure your time, money and renovation dream are all safely protected.

At Renovation Plan, we can offer self-build extension cover that will keep your home protected throughout the building process, enabling you to make your dream extension a reality with complete peace of mind. Just get in touch to find out more.

Want to find out more about extension insurance?

You can find further useful information on our extension insurance page. If you’re not ready to get a quote yet and would prefer to speak to someone, you can find the details by clicking here. We can’t wait to find out all about your project!