16 ways to cut the cost of your extension
Extensions can be a costly affair? So here are a few tips to help you cut the costs.
If may be that you have to rethink your plans and extension design to bring it within your budget, but this could be something as simple as swapping which brand you use rather than taking bits out altogether.
KEEP YOUR DESIGN SIMPLE TO CUT EXTENSION COSTS
Having an alternative shape to your new extension can be quirky and unique however Curves and corners are costly to build, so ideally you want to try keep a more simplistic design shape.
PLAN AHEAD IN DETAIL
You don’t really want to be making alterations later on so spend time on making sure you plan even the smallest of details such as socket locations, door finishes, and kitchen fittings at the beginning, this will save you money down the line.
STICK TO THE AGREED DESIGN
If you start changing the design that was initially agreed along the way then you will start to haemorrhage money. You need a it all planned out with what order works will be done, what items are to be purchased, what professionals are needed etc. With the costs alongside so you know where your money is going.
GO OFF-THE-SHELF NOT MADE-TO-ORDER
Everyone loves to get unique products that they have had made to order just for them however this stacks the figures up. Design the build around off-the-shelf products, you should choose materials that are readily available and easy to use.
AVOID COMPLICATED GROUNDWORKS
It’s not always possible but you want to try to avoid any complicated groundworks, such as building near drains, or other ground issues, as these will increase groundwork costs.
GET THE TIMINGS RIGHT
Getting the timings of deliveries right to save on wasted labour costs is vital. A site with no one working on it is costly, so materials need to arrive in plenty of time.
GET NEXT DOOR TO SIGN A PARTY WALL AGREEMENT WAIVER
If you are building on or near the boundary of a neighbour, your extension will need to comply with the party wall act, which can cost around £700 to you. You need to let your neighbours know in advance (8 weeks or more) by writing what your extension plans are. If they don’t object ask them to put this is writing and this will save having to get a party wall agreement done.
SAVE ON EXTENSION PLANNING FEES
For a simple, low-cost build, find an Architect who will produce planning and Building Regulations drawings for a fixed, all-in price. If your extension can be designed to fall within your permitted development rights no planning application will be required, which will save you a planning fee.
AVOID COWBOY BUILDERS
There are plenty of Cowboys out there (in any trade) and they may quote you completely wrong at the beginning this may be through incompetence or, possibly, deliberately to secure a job. They may then ask for more money for changes or extras. They could even demand some or all of the money up front, leaving you with no comeback if they fail to complete the work satisfactorily.
To avoid being ripped off:
- Always ask for references — and check them.
- Never, ever pay for building work in advance; pay only for work that has been completed and that you are happy with. If it is just a small project pay when the job is finished or for a larger job you could agree payments in set stages or interim payments.
MEASURE TWICE, BUT CUT ONLY ONCE
Making changes or mistakes that waste labour and materials is a major factor in the final bill for many projects. Measuring everything on site, rather than off your plans will help reduce wastage. Having accurate, scaled plans in the first place will help. The more time spent at the design stage, visualising the end result, the more problems can be anticipated and headed off. Once you have made up your mind, stick to it; changes always incur extra costs, often in ways that don’t reveal themselves until much later. Over-ordering materials can also waste money, but it’s better to have slightly too much than to fall short and have problems making up the difference. This will incur delays and extra delivery charges; worse, you may not be able to find the exact same thing again.
REUSE, RECYCLE AND REPAIR
Existing materials can be reused or sold don’t just throw things away. Old items can all be revived and reused, cleaned up and given a new finish and what you don’t use you could sell. Turning that around you can also buy used items instead of brand spanking new ones to help keep costs down.
NEGOTIATE TRADE DISCOUNTS
Find out where those in the trade buy their materials and aim to get the same wholesale/trade prices. Always negotiate and see if there is any discount for paying in cash. Bulk-buy from a single supplier and buy end-of-line deals will save you a fortune. To keep down costs, stick with a basic specification don’t go getting too complicated and fancy.
LIMIT THE RELOCATION OF SERVICES
When you’re planning an extension, consider the position of fittings, for example, a new toilet. If yours can be placed in a convenient position for the existing soil stack, you’ll save on labour costs.
CONSIDER AN ALTERNATIVE
Could you avoid the cost of extending and instead convert a garage or convert a loft space into useful living space? Both are likely to be cheaper than building a new extension from scratch
(real homes 2018)