Contrast or Complement, that is the question.
Adding an extension can add 25% to the property value, so it’s worth doing well. Here are a few points to bear in mind when considering this important task.
- 1. Redesign the layout
Aim not just to add new space, but also to ensure that the addition adds value by reworking how the combined space is used. This might entail the removal or addition of walls and doors to make the property be more open, or more private if desired.
- 2. Maximise the area
Try and stretch to a double storey instead of just the single storey in order to use the same area of foundation and roof. While a double storey is more expensive that a single, it is not double the price since you don’t double the roof or foundation areas.
- 3. Contrast or Complement
Early in the decision making (briefing process) one needs to decide whether the new addition will blend in or stand out from the existing building. This is more achievable when going for Full Planning instead of Permitted Development.
(Read more about this topic: Do you need Planning permission?)
- 4. Material Choices
Decisions have to be made regarding the choice and quality of building materials and finishes. In relation to #3 above, the choice of contemporary material like aluminium and zinc can be chosen instead of the traditional brick finish which is too common.
- 5. Let in the Light
Large openings for windows and doors allow for a more modern and open way of living, plus create a greater interaction with the outdoor or garden space. This natural light reflects on the interior finishes and creates an atmosphere not possible otherwise.
- 6. Rights to Light
While your neighbour has a legal right to light, this does not mean that your project can be stopped by argumentative neighbours. The law provides that only light that is reasonably required is protected, and this matter is dealt with by Council Planners.
- 7. Frame the views
Always position the windows and glazed elements to take advantage of the prominent views as if looking through a picture frame. Be mindful not to direct the view directly into the neighbour’s property or open up your own privacy to be undermined.
- 8. Party wall Act 1996
This Act legally allows you to build right up to or on your neighbour’s boundary line. It also allows you to enter your neighbour’s property to carry out the works provided that you have Planning Permission. Party Wall Surveyors are needed for such matters.
- 9. Removing trees
Some trees are protected by Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) that means you are not allowed to trim or prune without planning permission. In a Conservation area, all trees with a diameter greater that 75mm are protected by legislation.