What is a home extension?

An extension can take many forms but is essentially a way of building outwards, upwards, or downwards from your existing property, to build upon the land surrounding your home or into a basement or attic.

Creating an extension is a great way to provide some extra square footage, without the hassle of having to move. This is an ideal option for growing families, or if your requirements change, for example, you start to work from home and need extra room for a home office.

Can I extend my property?

Deciding whether you can build an extension depends on many factors:

  1. What sort of budget you have. Smaller, ready-made extensions can be cost-effective and simple to erect. Large, multi-storey extensions are far more costly, and will likely require professional architecture services to design. Decide on what budget you have available before setting your heart on your dream extension!
  2. How much land you have to build on. Increasing your floor space is an attractive option, but keep in mind that the larger your extension, the less garden space you will have remaining.
  3. Whether your home is suitable for an extension. Most properties will require some sort of structural work to create the foundations for a new extension. If you live in a conservation area or a listed building, it might be difficult to obtain planning permission so it’s a good idea to do your homework before you invest any time or money into your extension planning.

What types of extensions are there?

A home extension is tailored to your property, and the only limitations are your imagination!
Some of the most popular extensions include:

  • Loft conversions
  • Side return extensions
  • Wrap around extensions
  • Sunroom and conservatory conversions
  • Rear extensions, single or double-storey
  • Garage conversions

Why do homeowners choose extensions?

An extension is a cost-effective way of increasing the floor space within your home, without the upheaval of having to pack and find a new home.

Homeowners with equity in their property find this a great way to add value to their home and increase its future saleable value without any major disruption.

In urban living spaces, square footage can be extremely expensive, and adding space through converting out, down, or up is a smart way to add an extra room, increase property value and capitalise on the potential of your home.

A simple rear extension like a single story conservatory or sunroom can be completed in as little as one month, so is a much faster process than looking to sell your home and relocate to find some more living space. Extensions are also highly flexible; existing rooms can be knocked through to expand their size, new spaces can be created for living, utility areas or bathrooms, and rear extensions connect your garden with your interior for better-connected living.

What are house extensions used for?

House extensions can be used for any purpose that suits your family ad lifestyle. Some of the most common uses include:

  • Sunrooms, conservatories or reading areas
  • Home offices
  • Playrooms
  • Utility or laundry spaces
  • Extensions to existing kitchens or living areas
  • Downstairs bathrooms

How you use your extension is up to you; remember that works to combine an existing space into a larger room will require internal as well as external works, so be sure to incorporate those costs into your budget.

How much does an extension cost?

The answer here is that it could be between a huge spectrum, depending on the size, scope and purpose of your extension project.

Extension costs in complex builds and with unusual design specifications will be more expensive than straightforward builds.

Whether you use a pre-fabricated shell, standard building materials or tailored, handmade products will also heavily impact the cost.

For example:

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take to extend my house?

The simplest extensions can be completed in as little as four weeks, with larger or more complex builds taking up to six months.

If you require planning permission and professional services then it is wise to extend the total project timeframe to around 12 months from start to finish.

Do I need planning permission to extend my property?

Possibly not! Permitted Development (PD) allows homeowners to build extensions without permission, provided the build falls within a set of criteria.

If your extension is a single story and not large in comparison to the existing footprint of your home, then chances are you will not need permission.

Larger extensions, those close to neighbouring properties and within proximity of your land borders are more likely to need formal permission.

Remember that if you live in a listed building or conservation area you will need explicit permission before work can begin, so allow extra time for this process.

Can I build my extension without a contractor?

Yes, you can! You aren’t under any obligation to use professional services if you have the skills, the time and the resources to complete some of the work on your extension by yourself.

There are options to purchase a shell only extension, which includes only the erection of the external structure. You then take over from there to complete all the internal works, fit-outs and utility connections.

However, it is important to remember that any structural work requires a level of experience, so if you are in any doubt as to whether you can complete work safely, it is best to seek professional advice.

How much does planning permission cost?

If you are unsure whether you need permission, it is advisable to contact your local planning authority who will be able to confirm either way. They usually charge a small fee for this advice.

Should you be required to seek permission, the process currently costs £206 for a householder application and takes between 8-13 weeks to complete.

Summary and final thoughts

Adding an extension to your home can be fun and exciting, but also a lot of hard work. There is no easy way or short cut you can take to extend a bungalow. You will need to go through carefully planned steps and make sure it is okay with your local council. The cost of a bungalow extension can range from a few hundred pounds to more than a few thousand, and you will want to know your plan before taking out a loan.

Some contractors will come and give you an estimate on how much a project would cost, and from there, you can make the decision to continue with the project or not. Adding and renovating your home can be a great way to add space and light to your home, creating a whole new vibe.

Not only can it be good for a new atmosphere, but it can also be an excellent way to add value to your house. Whenever you move, the realtors looking at your house will want to see how much your house is worth and how much everyone would be getting. This project could help you get much more for your home than you ever thought was possible.

Be sure to take the correct steps and do what feels right. Talk to as many people as you can, compare prices, find out what materials are needed for the project, and be sure to look at the pros and cons of doing the project. Above all, have fun with adding an extension to your bungalow.

Mike Alexander
Hey there, I'm Mike - writer and part time home improvement expert at Refurbb. Since owning and refurbishing my own property in 2018, I've since been developing rental properties, writing about my home improvement endeavours, sharing what I've learned and connecting readers to reputable tradespeople in the UK.

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