Why the trend of extensions and loft conversions is BOOMING in Essex and Hertfordshire

Extending living spaces. Adding new rooms. Converting cramped old lofts into wonderful, sunlit attic rooms. There’s no doubt about it – the trend of extensions and of conversions is booming in Essex and Hertfordshire. More and more people are getting planning permission to turn their home into the dream space they always wanted — but why is this? Let’s take a look.

Moving house is getting more expensive

 

There are dozens of unexpected hidden costs involved in moving house that are just waiting to leap up and bite you. From legal fees to mortgage broker fees to the simple cost of getting all your possessions boxed up and in a van, moving house is a virtual minefield of ways to unexpectedly empty your wallet. And this is without even going into the uncertainty of the housing market and how changeable it can be. Many people believe home extensions are expensive but compared to the cost of moving house they’re a much smarter investment. We explain all in our blog 12 Myths About Property conversions

 

Finding the time

 

We’re all busier and busier these days, and moving home is a time-consuming activity before you’ve even found a house that you want to live in. With this in mind, it’s not hard to see why many people are opting to take on the comparatively easier task of remaking their current home rather than finding a new one.

 

Boost the home’s value

 

Even for those who have their heart set on moving, it still makes sense to extend. Home improvements and extensions are time-honoured way of increasing your house’s value, and if you’re nervous about putting it on the market, making it into a nicer place can assuage your fears. Be careful though — you might end up liking the new, improved home so much that you end up wanting to stay put!

 

Home improvements are getting more creative

 

Architects and designers have been coming into their own with home improvements in recent years, and there have been some amazingly inspiring projects that have completely transformed the clients’ homes. No more are builders simply sticking a boxy extra room onto a Victorian-style cottage — now you can dream up glass kitchen/diner rooms, chic loft-based living spaces, glazed walkways to connect outbuildings and more, and talented builders can make them happen! There’s never been a better time for home improvement creativity. Read our blog on 7 Smartest Ways to Spend Your Money as a Homeowner For some fresh ideas! 

We love our area… and our homes!

 

And there’s no shame in that. People grow to like where they live — they find friends, hobbies, and good schools for the kids. Uprooting your entire life to move a few miles down the road feels like a needless chore, and yet you can’t imagine living anywhere further than a few miles down the road.

 

What’s the solution? Extend, extend, extend! Bring the dream home to you and turn your existing property into the happy home you’ve always wanted. Not sure where to start? Give us a call today and tell us about your ideas — we’re betting we can turn them into reality.

 

 

 

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How to Solve the Problems with Garage Extensions

Thinking of extending or converting your garage? Great idea! Many home garages are less than efficient uses of space, and can be converted to much greater uses to really transform your home. It’s important, however, that the conversion is done correctly and certain common pitfalls are avoided. These include…

 

  1. Not paying attention to building regulations

 

This is where it pays dividends to have a reputable company taking charge of your extension. Your new garage will need to comply to many different types of building regulation, including energy efficiency, sound insulation, heat insulation and more. Don’t be the homeowner who charges in without thinking about these things — talk to us about your plans and we’ll make sure they’re in keeping with regulations.

 

  1. Not planning utilities early

 

You may have the look and feel of your garage conversion planned out in your head, but have you thought about electricity supply? Water supply? Heating? These things need to be planned out well in advance, before any building starts, and your best bet is to get a professional assessment of how best to supply your garage conversion with everything it needs.

 

  1. Not considering foundations and structure

 

Your garage walls and foundations may not be equipped to support your grand plans, and this is something you absolutely need to know before you start. It’s best to get a professional builder or architect’s verdict on your proposed plans. They can inspect your garage in person and verify exactly what needs to be done to make it safe for your dream conversion.

 

  1. Not taking existing features into consideration

 

Many garages are used to house necessary but unsightly home appliances, such as a boiler. When you planned your conversion, did you take this into account? Do you plan to move the boiler, or work around it? A professional can help advise you what would be most cost-effective and least disruptive, and how you can get that dream conversion without compromising on the safety and effectiveness of your appliances.

 

  1. Not using the space to its full potential

 

Here’s a question you may not have thought to ask yourself — am I dreaming big enough? Have you thought that your garage may be tall enough to handle a split level with raised areas? Could you get even more natural light in there with some extra windows? Would glass doors leading to an outside recreational area make the room into a relaxing space all year round?

 

It’s your conversion — don’t be afraid to get exactly what you want! Get in touch with us today and let us know how we can help.

 

How to Solve the Biggest Problems with Loft Conversions

Loft conversions are a hugely popular type of home improvement, however there are many common issues that prospective converters can run into. Here is our guide to a few of the most common and how to solve them…

 

  1. Is the ceiling too low?

 

If you want to convert your loft full of cardboard boxes into a liveable, usable space, you’ll need to take a look at the ceiling height. This can vary dramatically from loft to loft, but as a guide, the minimum height that’s generally accepted as suitable for conversion is 2.3m. If your loft isn’t this high, then don’t worry! There are plenty of fixes, including lowering the ceiling of the room below, or removing and remodelling sections of the roof to create space. This latter solution does require planning permission, which leads us to…

 

 

  1. Do I need planning permission?

 

As you might expect, whether you need planning permission depends on what exactly your plans are. Likely, you won’t, however, if you are planning alterations to the roof then you may. Additions of up to 40 cubic metres roof space on a terraced house or 50 cubic metres on a detached house do not require permission, so unless your conversion is a majorly expansive project, you should be fine. Finalise your plans with your architect and go over all regulations before you start building.

 

 

  1. Have I thought about stair access?

 

It’s all well and good planning an elaborate new playroom for the loft, but not if you don’t think about how you and your family are actually going to get up there! It’s critical to plan with the lower floors in mind, and have a concrete idea of where the access stairs for your new conversion are going to go. This is something your building firm can help you with in the planning stages.

 

 

  1. Will there be enough natural light?

 

You want your loft conversion to be a space that’s enjoyable to be in at all times, and nothing makes a space feel cramped and unwelcoming like a lack of natural light. A rear dormer conversion is the best idea, as it generally doesn’t require planning permission, and it can transform your loft from a dark, unused room to the brightest in the house!

 

 

 

  1. Have I considered building regulations?

 

This is why it’s so critical to trust a reputable firm with your loft conversion. There are many regulations to bear in mind when you’re planning a loft conversion — accessibility of fire exits, thermal efficiency, the ceiling joists below, and more. You need to be sure that your building firm understands these regulations and can make sure your loft conversion abides by them.

 

 

 

Want to avoid these problems? Put your loft conversion in the hands of the professionals. Give us a call today and let us know what we can do for you!

12 Myths About Property Extensions

Thought you knew it all? Think again!

 

Many people are put off the idea of extending their property because of the same tired old saws that get trotted out by people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Well, no longer! We’re going to bust a few of the most famous myths about property extensions and explain why there’s nothing stopping you from getting your dream home.

 

1. It’s expensive

It doesn’t have to be! If you agree a concrete plan with your contractors in advance and know exactly what you want, getting an extension on your property can be managed for a very affordable price.

 

2. It’ll take ages

Again, this is where it pays to be prepared. Jobs like property extensions only tend to balloon out of control when people are unclear or unsure of what they want to get out of it. In reality, it can be a simple matter of weeks before you have your home looking exactly how you want it.

 

3. I’ll need planning permission

This puts many people off the idea of an extension, but the reality is that unless you’re planning something seriously big, you very likely don’t need planning permission at all. It always pays to check — your local authority can help you if needed, but there’s a good chance you’re safe to start extending without having to fill in any forms.

 

 

4. Planning permission will take ages

If it turns out you do need planning permission, then don’t lose heart — as long as you take time to check all your documentation is in order, you can see your application through in a matter of weeks and get to building.

 

5. I need to ask the neighbours

In a similar vein, many people assume they need their neighbours’ consent before making any changes to their property. In some cases this is true, but it’s always worth booking a free home consultation, so we can spot any party wall issues.

 

6. The neighbours will never agree

If it transpires you do need your neighbours’ assent for the build, it’s easy to be afraid that your plans will fall at this hurdle. However, most people are reasonable, and if you provide your neighbour with realistic assessments of how everything will work and how long it’ll take, really they have no reason to turn you down.

 

7. I’ll have to move out

Building work can be disruptive of course, but there are many steps you can take to minimise this. From building a makeshift temporary kitchen to erecting stud partitions to ward off the dust, there are plenty of ways to stop an extension from disrupting your life and allow you to continue enjoying your home while the work goes on.

 

8. It’ll completely disrupt my life

Work on your home can be intense, but you’d be surprised how many people who’ve had work done on their house will tell you how easy it was to cope with. Again, planning and preparation will pay dividends.

 

9. I should only use builders my friends recommend

This is a common sentiment, but in reality it’s not always so simple. You can often find a much better deal by doing your own independent research and comparing the work of builders yourself. Don’t simply assume that someone who was the right fit for a friend is also the right fit for you!

 

10. People only extend to sell their homes on

It’s best not to think of it this way. If you’re in your forever home and couldn’t dream of going anywhere else, an extension can still be a wonderful thing for you. You might want more space, or find yourself wishing you had a space to entertain friends, or even find yourself facing the prospect of a growing family. Extensions aren’t just about selling — they’re about making homes.

 

11. I just don’t know where to start

Not everyone is a building maestro! You can set the level of involvement you have with your extension at precisely the level you’re comfortable with, whether you’re competent to draw up plans yourself, or you’re happy to completely leave it in the hands of the pros.

 

12. I’ll just never get round to it

That’s something we can fix right now! Give us a call and we’ll see what we can do for you.

 

Case Studies: Laindon

 

The area:

It’s always a treat to visit the parish of Laindon, a truly ancient village that can be traced back to the thirteenth century! These days it’s a peaceful but thriving community, where many happy families have made their homes, and are keen to make them better. That’s where we come in!

 

 

The brief:

Our clients in Laindon quite simply wanted more space! Their house was at capacity, and they needed not only bigger bedrooms for the kids but also a  larger living space where they could spend quality time together once the little ones were tucked up in bed. Having the right amount of space is key to a harmonious family life, and we were only too happy to accommodate in making this family’s dream a reality.

 

 

The job:

No one has ever accused us of doing things by halves, and from the start we could see that this job would require some major overhauling of the house. Indeed, a whole new room! We constructed a rear dormer loft conversion to house the brand new master bedroom for Mum and Dad, a peaceful space for them to relax and get a good night’s rest in peace. Doing this meant that the original master bedroom was freed up, and this is turn was available for one of the kids to move into — privacy gets all the more important as they grow up, as any parent will tell you.

 

Hey, presto! We’d transformed their three-bedroom property into a four-bed, thus bumping up its value on the market. We weren’t done yet though — next on the agenda was a rear extension downstairs, with bi-fold doors that opened fully and gave a lovely sense of space and opened up the living space for the family to enjoy.

 

 

The result:

The family were thrilled with the result of the work — a lovely, big open-plan kitchen and dining area that made for a great family space to spend time in. This also freed up the living room for cosy evenings on the sofa together, both for the kids and the parents.