In the January Newsletter, people were asked to share their experiences about building an extension. So here are mine. A builder recommended someone to do the drawings and submit them for Planning and Building Regulations approval. The drawings had to be amended 3 times before I was satisfied. Something which I had entirely overlooked and which the Planning Department insisted upon, was that the new building should not touch the string courses. These are the rows bricks which project slightly from the wall and run just below the upstairs windows. This made it difficult to achieve the minimum roof-pitch needed for the tiles. A problem which emerged during tiling: n rows of tiles had less than the minimum overlap while n+1 rows had more than the maximum. The next question was the choice of builder and I approached various people on the estate who had recently had extensions. It surprised me that some builders were only known by their first name and telephone number. For me, it was a non-starter if the builder’s name and address was not on the estimate.

As with many extensions, the existing manhole for the drains would be under the new extension. I had expected this to be a problem, but providing a new soil pipe with manhole outside the extension went very smoothly and I was able to flush the toilet and use the sink for all but a few hours.

I learnt that it is advantageous to discuss with the Building Inspector what you would like to do, in my case, have a window a little wider than a naive reading of the regulations would permit.

Keeping a close eye on the work can prevent expensive mistakes. Sub-contractors are likely to turn up and get on with the job without being fully briefed: the carpenter and the pitch of the roof, the bricklayer and what happens at the corner. Decisions which I had postponed, suddenly needed to be made: exactly where do you want the power sockets? When finished, the internal dimensions were less than I had anticipated: wall cavities these days are 100mm and not 2 inches and the drywall plastering took up about 40mm.
After a year from concept to completion, I have an extension I am very pleased with.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment. Login »