Homebuilding and Renovating recently asked me and other Architects to offer some tips for extension projects.
Don’t start with too rigid a brief; although you know your house better than anyone, it can take an outsider, your Architect, to spot issues and opportunities that could otherwise be missed. Although for most an extension may be the right route, it’s not always extra space that’s ultimately required. A reorganisation of space, maybe a small strategic extension, can often unlock a home that currently doesn’t function to its best potential. A better arrangement of rooms and spaces, better daylight and strategic fitted furniture can all make a house much more enjoyable and give a perception of spaciousness without the cost of an extension.
When complete, an extension can make up a large proportion of the external envelope of your home. So it makes a lot of sense to make this as energy efficient in its construction as possible. This can improve the comfort of your whole home and ensure your bills are as low as possible. You’re unlikely to ever revisit the construction of an extension so get it right first time. I would also suggest that everyone should aspire to retrofit their home to a high standard. Most people won’t be able to afford the cost or disruption of this at the same time as an extension but to plan this in at the same time is useful. We aim to ensure any works we do allow a house retrofit to achieve the AECB standard or similar; the extensions we do ensure this remains possible and, thinking ahead to strategically plan these measures, that you won’t need to undo anything if this work becomes possible in the future.