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5 Things You Must Consider Before Building a House Extension

building-a-house-extension

Feb 2022

Adding an extension is a fantastic way to add value to a property whilst also improving its functionality and raising your living standards. It can be the perfect solution for when you need that extra space, but you aren’t keen to uproot the family and move to a new house. Here are a few main pointers that you should bear in mind if extending your home is on the cards.

building-a-house-extension

Budget

It’s a bright idea to make sure that you are 100% happy with the design of your extension before you begin the project, as alterations mid-way through the building process can be expensive (not to mention, a bit of a headache).

The key here is preparation: Be fastidious in your planning and it will help cut costs in the long run.

You will, most likely, experience some unforeseen road-bumps (as is the nature of construction), but if you’ve already spent time coming up with alternatives or drawing up a Plan B, you can be much more confident in staying on-budget.  

Another way to save some money is simply to live onsite whilst the extension is being built. This means you don’t need to shell out cash on hotels or rental properties. Sometimes, though, living onsite may not be a feasible option. In some circumstances, you might find your home without stairs, windows, or even a front door for a few days. The lack of privacy, security, and comfort can be too much to deal with, especially if you have kids.
​If you really want to pinch pennies but don’t want to live on a construction site, exploring options with friends and family members who live nearby is a good idea.

Another smart move is to calculate your budget excluding all the little extra costs that you will come across further down the line. Money for permits, approvals, and other small amounts may seem insignificant when looked at individually, but they can add up fast!

You can also save big bucks and do your part for the environment by remembering the mantra: reuse, recycle, repair. Source unwanted or surplus materials from local vendors or the community and get thrifty! Repurpose or repair that which is broken, rather than creating more waste. These individual touches can contribute to your property’s charm and uniqueness.

As tempting as it is to go with beautiful bespoke fittings in every corner of your shiny new extension, be sensible with what your budget allows. Nowadays, there are such a variety of off-the-shelf options to choose from, you shouldn’t have to look far to find something great. 

how-is-the-climate

Regional Climate

Here’s an interesting fact for you; 40% of the total energy used in a typical house goes towards heating and cooling. That may not even be surprising for those of us that have been hit with some pretty shocking bills when we’ve rinsed the air con all summer long.

Luckily, smart design can reduce the amount of energy, and money, that you spend on temperature regulation to next-to-nothing.

Climate-wise, Tassy is located in the cool region of Australia, and experiences a large range between day and night-time temperatures. Armed with the local climate data, we can make wiser design decisions to maximise the benefits from Mother Nature. Below are some ideas:

  • Install large north-facing windows (and use double glazing) for optimum solar gains
  • Configure furniture placement to avoid chilly through-draughts
  • Use roof fans or closable roof ventilators to keep roof spaces sealed in winter and ventilated in summertime
  • Adjustable shades on any west-facing windows will allow you to enjoy the afternoon sun in winter whilst giving you more control for spring and autumn months
  • Air seal all spaces, including airlocks between lower and upper floors
  • We recommend using bulk insulation for exposed floors, walls, and ceilings
play-by-the-rules

Australian Building Regulations

You should contact your local council to discover whether you can build on your property or not. They will also let you know if your building type requires a permit, and which type of building approval you’ll need.

In Tasmania, you may only start building once your have the appropriate permits (if a permit is required). Before you move into an extension, you will also need a Certificate of Occupancy.

Although there is a National Construction Code, there are specific regulations according to state, so it’s always best to read up on your local requirements and speak to an expert if you need help. The good news: most application forms are now available to be filled out electronically!

what-you-are-working-with

Your Current Home and Landscape

The existing configuration of your property will act as a guide and can help to influence the style and layout of your new extension – which is, by definition, an appendage. As such, it’s important to visualise how the extension will complement your current building, and how to avoid making the new part look like an after-thought or an obvious add-on. That being said, those of us bolder in the field of design might be aiming for a juxtaposition of styles; so it comes down to your preferences in architecture.

If your home is one storey, you might think that extending outwards on the ground floor would be the cheapest, simplest, or best choice. This is not always the case, as the extra costs involved for the removal of soil or other materials, the general site preparation, and excavation can make it a far more financially strenuous task than the alternative first floor extension.

Also known as a “home addition”, a ground floor extension will also require the sacrifice of some of your outdoor space in your back or front garden. For this reason, often building upwards with a first-floor extension is more viable solution.

Another vital factor you’ll want to look at is the landscape surrounding your home. For example, is the land sloping? This could mean more excavation or retaining walls are needed, again adding to the complexity of the building work as well as eating into the budget.

what-will-the-neighbors-say

Neighbourhood

As the saying goes, love thy neighbour and be considerate of them when building a house extension. Something like that, anyway.

Think about if your finished property will be in keeping with the character of the street, and if the materials, colour, and design are fitting to the local community. Nobody wants to be the resident of the new “local eyesore”, or the owner of an unsightly and mismatched annexe, which would undoubtedly become the hot topic for upset neighbours.

Research the history of your house and learn about any traditional elements that may be incorporated into it. Taking a drive around your neighbourhood and really noticing the nearby architecture will also help you develop an understanding of what should be appropriate, or not, in your building project.

For your own benefit, it’s also prudent to think about who’s living next door when planning the layout of your new addition. The placement of windows should be in such a way that doesn’t compromise your privacy or invade that of anyone else. Imagine just how pleased you’d be with your beautiful new en-suite when you realise that the neighbours have a perfect view of you in the shower!

money-money-money

Home Extension Planning in Sumarry

It may seem like there are a lot of things to consider when undertaking such a project (there are), but by being organised and using careful planning, you can give yourself a better chance of things running smoothly. 

It can be overwhelming to attempt to tackle something like this alone, so we would always recommend dedicating time to finding the right building contractors.

Choose a team that has a full understanding of what you want to achieve and holds the right level of experience and skill to accomplish it.  

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