Home Extension Costs Building costs Building advice

Home Extension Costs Building costs Building advice

Reducing home extension costs

There can be opportunities at several stages of the process to reduce costs. Here are some possible ideas:

    Home Extension Costs Building costs Building advice
  • Do you actually need to extend or are there ways of rearranging the existing accommodation? If not entirely doing away with the need to extend it might reduce its size. See Internal alterations
  • Are there underutilised parts of the building such as integral garages, lofts etc. which may be more cost effective to convert?
  • Are there suitable parts of the building that may be built over such as previous ground floor extensions which might save on foundation costs etc? It does not necessarily need to be exactly the same size as the proposed extension, particularly with lighter weight forms of construction it is often possible to cantilever beyond the building below or set the building in and retain some roof around the lower building.
  • Does extending to other parts of the building save possible problems and expense of perhaps moving drains or other services?
  • If you live in a semi detached or terrace house is there potential to build at the same time as a neighbour? Party walls are generally cheaper and take up less room than two separate external walls and a larger project might obtain more competitive quotes.
  • If over 100m 2 it may be subject to a Community Infrastructure Levy in which case it may be worth reducing the size. It may still incur a charge even if under Permitted Development under the ‘Notice of Chargeable Development ‘ procedure.
  • A flat roof is often cheaper than a pitched roof; the materials used have improved so a longer life can be anticipated from it than was typical a few decades ago. It can also give a more contemporary appearance and can be particularly advantageous over irregular shaped buildings.
  • Consider contrasting wall materials particularly where the existing might be expensive materials such as handmade bricks or stone. Although it needs to be done with care to avoid it looking cheap, contrasting materials such as render to timber boarding can work well with other materials. Be aware though that you may not be within the definition of similar appearance under permitted development.
  • Bi-fold doors have become popular but are often more expensive than more conventional hinged or sliding doors which in turn can be more than windows. A combination of conventional hinged or sliding doors and windows may be more cost effective and give similar amount of light, whilst they may not open up as much how often is British weather suitable for that? With upper floors a full depth window may give a similar effect to doors and a Juliet balcony but at a lower cost.
  • With kitchens it is sometimes possible to combine carcases etc. from cheaper outlets with higher quality work tops etc. or even reuse existing carcases with new doors. Place orders for kitchens etc. during sale times provided they are prepared to hold onto them until actually required.There are also companies around dealing in second hand or ex-display designer kitchens which can enable you to purchase a quality kitchen at a fraction of the new cost.
  • Consider whether solar panels may be suitable, in the longer term it may be more cost effective to fit them to an extension rather than potentially fitting them over the finished roof in years to come. The feed in tariffs that are paid to some approved installations might help to pay towards the extension!
  • With extensions such as raising the whole roof, this can sometimes be done in a way such that the existing structure is left in place until the new roof is weatherproof avoiding the need for expensive temporary roofs.
  • Find out when builders in your area are generally less busy and try work around this for a more favourable price.
  • If you live in one of the more expensive parts of the country for building works see if recommended builders from outside the area would be prepared to travel in or if you can provide accommodation are willing to stay overnight.
  • It can be more of a gamble dealing with more recently established companies but they may be willing to negotiate a better price and may not be registered for VAT yet.
  • If you are prepared to spend time searching on the internet you may be able to get better prices for some items than tradesmen using their regular suppliers. This probably works best where you are employing them on a labour only basis although you may be able to come to some arrangement with them in other circumstances.
  • Where the work is fairly extensive consider moving out altogether if this can be done without significant costs as this enables the builder to program the works in a faster and more efficient way.
  • For very extensive works it may be worth considering demolishing the existing building and starting again. As well as potentially saving the VAT (see HMRC website ) on new builds it may avoid any compromises in using the existing structure and would mean the building fully complies with new standards of insulation etc.


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