Many homeowners having spent a fortnight at home with the family decide that they need to make changes or add more space. This might be space to host large dinners for a growing family, a spare room for visitors or somewhere to work on all those new years resolutions - perhaps a home gym or project room. To help you with your decision making we have put together some tips to consider when deciding how to improve your home.
If you need help we offer a free phone consultation and our home design consultations are the ideal first step to take. We wish you the best of luck with any home improvements you might be considering this year.
1. Decide what you need
- What do you want to be able to do but your space is not allowing you to do?
- How many people does the space need to work for?
- What spaces do you have now and how do you use them?
- Are there any unused or underused spaces?
- Where do you get the best light and views and are these important to you?
2. Set a Budget
When considering how much to spend make sure you include costs for the following:
- professional fees: architect, structural engineer, quantity surveyor, party wall surveyor, etc
- local authority applications: planning and building control
- possible extras: storage, rental / holiday elsewhere during the work, professional deep cleaning afterwards, more takeaways and meals out while the kitchen is out of action
- VAT: remember to take into account the likely extra 20%
- contingency: setting aside an extra 5-15% is wise, particularly if the work involves an existing building
We recommend employing a quantity surveyor to put together a budget cost plan based on our sketch designs as this helps early on to ensure that the works carried out are in budget and give you the best value. To give a finger in the air idea of how much the extra space might cost to build we use a rate of £2k per m2. Although nowhere near as accurate as a quantity surveyors estimate, this calculation helps guide initial decisions on how much space is worked on to suit the available budget.
3. Consider build options
We offer assistance throughout the construction phase and can inspect works, provide advice and solve site problems, carry out contract administration and act as your eyes and ears if you're away. Contact us for details.
These are some of your build options with pros and cons:
- design and build: one company that carries out everything from the design to the completion of the build. This gives you the least design and quality control but the most cost certainty. Typically this is the most expensive option as the companies which deliver this option take on all the risks of keeping the project on time and in budget. There is the potential that they may reduce quality to offset unexpected expenses incurred during construction.
- main contractor: you employ a design team to carry out the design and apply for permissions, then a contractor to manage and carry out the construction. This gives you full control of the design and quality and allows you to make changes during construction. However, we recommend that changes during construction be avoided by making the right decisions during the design stage. Be aware that usually the later changes are made the greater they impact on cost and time.
- self managed with sub contractors: you employ each member of the design and construction team, giving you maximum control on design, quality and cost. For inexperienced project managers there can be a risk that the project will take longer and cost more.
- self-build: you employ specialists as required but largely carry out the work yourself. This gives maximum control of design and cost but quality can suffer unless you have sufficient skills and it can take a lot longer to complete construction, especially if you have a full time job to fit the build around. Remember that to comply with legal requirements some work must be carried out by a fully qualified tradesperson.