I’ve been to many houses that clients have just bought that have major design flaws, so we have to unpick very expensive work. This will help you avoid their mistakes by highlighting the common ones and suggesting solutions.
Having a Conservatory
Having a conservatory is a mistake. They are hot in summer, cold in winter, they block light into the room that’s been extended by the conservatory, and they block the view of the garden from that room. They become unusable rooms.
While you can put solid roofs on conservatories these days, you need to be careful they make the rooms attached to it even darker. Don’t take the doors off a conservatory, as you will be in breach of building regulations.
Not Exploring All The Options First
If you don’t look at the overall view of the house – if you don’t master plan the house, you may do something that is beneficial in the short term, but that stops you from doing something in the long term.
For example, putting a new bathroom near the stairs may prevent you from doing a two-storey extension, so you may have to unpick £10,000 worth of work just to extend the stairs slightly. Before you start, I recommend that you do a concept design workshop for the whole project, to make sure you don’t put the bathroom or kitchen in the wrong place, forcing you to spend a fortune to recover.
Designing Around the Boiler
People often design around boilers, thinking that having optimal plumbing is more important than maximising the space. While moving the boiler may cost a reasonable amount of money – £2,000 – not moving it may stop you from realising the full potential of the space, as having a boiler in the wrong place can stop you from putting the kitchen or the extension in the right place.
You should approach the project in the following way: look at the big picture first, then structure, then services.
Not Getting Planning Permission
People think that because something is permitted development, they can just go ahead and build, but you need to prove that it was permitted development at the time, so you’ll need to get a certificate of lawful development.
However, it can really restrict you on heights and overlooking others – it’s really easy to be in breach of this.
We would therefore always advise that, if you are extending, you should get everything drawn out properly, and then ascertain whether or not it is permitted development. Knocking down an existing part of the building, like a coal shed, can start a planning application, so you need to be careful.
Not Getting an Architect to Design the Project
Not getting an architectural professional to design your property is a costly mistake.
If you use a builder, you may be talked into a cost saving solution that compromises the use of your space, such as having central columns in the wrong place or sticking a toilet on the outside wall, because it is closer to drainage, but this blocks the view of your garden.
Spend time planning with an architect at the outset of your project; our concept design workshops are relatively low cost for a high value – at between £300 and £500, which can help stop you from making costly mistakes.