Extensions – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

When it comes to home alterations the biggest thing most people will ever undertake is an extension. Of course, some people really go all out and build another storey on a bungalow or even knock down and rebuild most of a home but these are relatively extreme. For the most part extensions consist of smaller building works and to that end these works can often be done “on the cheap” or even as a DIY project. While a very small extension may seem like a small thing it can have far reaching effects when it comes to selling your home and living safely in it!


Let’s start with the great things that can be done with extensions. If properly planned, quoted for and undertaken by true professionals and extension can add extra space to a home and increase the value. Some people chose to lose a bit of garden in favour of indoor space and who can blame them after a British winter of not using the garden at all. Done in keeping with planning laws and the original building an extension is unlikely to cause any issues with the neighbours. When it comes to buyers getting a survey before purchasing your home it is also unlikely to cause any issue with the surveyor either.


Here is where things get a little less pleasant. For some people the idea of an extension is a very exciting one but the cost perhaps isn’t. So during the quoting phase they may end up speaking to a local builder who can do something a little cheaper for them. Often these quotes omit the correct types of insulation in the roof or flooring or even the walls too. They may even miss out some structural things that are considered critical. For example, turning a garage into an office sounds simple to many people. Remove the garage door and brick it up and put up some stud wall etc. The reality is that any brick wall over around 2-3 ft needs to have a foundation so the builder should dig down into the driveway. This can be expensive and is the kind of thing that gets cut back on cheap quotes from friends and associates. The result? Well at best a poorly done extension can just be a bit cold and damp and look poor which really wont add anything tot he value of a home and would certainly be picked up by the surveyor. At worst it might be dangerous to be in or around, damp, cold, leaking and more!


There are some real extremes that any surveyor will be happy to describe but thankfully they are rare. In some cases people take it completely upon themselves to create an extension. Often these structures have little or no plans drawn up, no footings at all, and the materials used are all wrong. Sometimes plywood walls with no insulation are used, flat roofs with poor weather proofing and more. What this creates are damp, leaking, dangerous places to live in. Often the electrical work laves a great deal to be desired and coupled with poor insulation and weather proofing a perfect storm is just around the corner.


As with most important things in life there are no real shortcuts. The key to adding value, living space and a safe addition to your home is to get professional advice from the outset. Get advice on the type of extension that is best for your home and then get a range of quotes from reputable building companies. With investment comes reward and the assurance your home is safe, worth more and a better place to live in. It also means you should never have to fear the arrival of a buyers’ surveyor!

If you are looking at a property with an extension please get in touch to discuss how this may affect the survey and property.




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