Home extensions and adaptations are on the rise, but are we getting them right?

Home extensions and adaptations are on the rise, but are we getting them right?

Home extensions and adaptations are on the rise. In the previous and coming year, we could see more changes to existing dwellings than during any other period of recent history. But why? And how can architects and tradespeople ensure that these changes incorporate great design that will last the test of time, seamless flow throughout the house, and – most importantly of all – upmost safety?

Since mid-2020, Ball & Berry has advised on countless builds for households looking for more space. Whether to provide larger family areas as we spent more time together, forge out room for a home office, or both, so many of us considered making big changes to make our homes work for us.

Home working, in some form, seems set to stick around. Many families established new routines and found new enjoyment in togetherness at home. Both of these factors have driven the rise in extensions and adaptations.

An additional factor, also at play, is the somewhat more complicated question of relocation.

House prices outside of major cities have risen significantly as city workers realise that they no longer need to live as close to the office as they once did. Add the stamp duty holiday into the equation, and the result is that a wave of commuters and renters have suddenly found themselves with the opportunity to buy homes they would or could never have previously considered.

The result of all this change? Thousands of office workers are considering adapting recently purchased homes for their new lifestyle or releasing newly created equity in their current homes to fund extensions.

The changes we are seeing are varied in scale and style. For many, converting a spare bedroom into an office is a simple but effective solution, keeping costs down and planning approval at bay.

But for those taking a more radical approach, there are some key considerations to be made.

It’s crucial to understand the impact of home adaptations on an existing property. Does the plan block an emergency escape route? Will a fire door be necessary? What are the implications on the current smoke detection system?

For many, these questions are not front of mind when drawing up exciting new plans for home adaptations. Ignore them, however, and run the risk of forcing expensive and frustrating changes to plans later in the process.

At Ball & Berry, we always recommend discussing the requirements with a building control surveyor early in the design process. Our goal is to enable our clients’ vision for any project. With our understanding of regulations and commitment to finding seamless and design-led solutions, we’re able to steer your build in the right direction from day one, avoiding costly adaptions should the initial design not meet the current building regulation standards.

The best results stem from plans that have been drawn with regulations in mind – not those that have been hastily reconfigured to pass an inspection. By engaging building control surveyors early in the process, we can ensure that the current raft of adaptations benefit from thoughtful, functional, and attractive layout, that meets and exceeds safety requirements.

Whether reconfiguring an existing current space, extending to the front, side or rear, adapting a basement or loft, or even building a brand-new outbuilding, we’re here to advise and support. We believe in great building design, and crucially, that includes creating a home is safe for you, your guests, neighbours, and future homebuyers now and for years to come.

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