15 Sep 8 ways to cut the cost of your extension in East Finchley
We all have dreams of the perfect home, but few have the budget to fully realise them. Therefore, we’ve put together a list of our top eight tips for keeping the costs down while building an extension. You may not be able to afford the chandeliers and Champagne yet, but that doesn’t mean you need to miss out.
Good weather means fewer delays; bad weather means greater chance of materials delays, men hanging around doing little but needing to be paid, and jobs stacking up because one needs to be completed before the next can be started. Weather damage can also be a cost factor with wind and rain not only putting you weeks over schedule, but potentially requiring you to start again on certain jobs if the extension was not watertight before the storm.
2. Forensic planning
One of the most common reasons for blowing the budget is ambiguity in the original plans. If your builder is not 100% sure what you’re after, mistakes can be made. Of course, a good builder should double, triple, quadruple check that they have all the information before starting and help you to identify any gaps in that information, but not all are that insightful. Decide on all the designs, fixtures and fittings, know what you want, where you’ll get it from, when it needs to be there and who is responsible for ensuring that it is. Changes to this plan can also add time and costs to a project, so forensic planning can help you to think about the extension and your expectations from every angle before work starts.
3. Avoid complex groundworks
Much of the construction costs for your extension will be sunk into your foundations. Plan your extension over sewers, near drains or around trees with roots that could cause issues now or in the future and watch the costs go up and up. Avoid this and your costs will be far more predictable.
4. Reuse, recycle, repair
Doors, floorboards, radiators, roof tiles, bricks and fireplaces can all be reused or purchased second hand from salvage yards or online. This is often going to be far too finicky or costly for your builder to do for you, but if you have the time and wish to make a saving, first speak to them about material costs and then see if you can economise by reusing, recycling or repairing.
5. Use a good builder
I know what you’re thinking, ‘you would say that, you’re a builder’, but it’s the type of builder you choose that will make all the difference. The vast majority of projects throw up issues along the way and if you’ve chosen the right builder, a problem-solving builder, they will be able to deal with whatever fate throws their way and you probably won’t even notice. Ask your prospective builder for examples of when they’ve faced a challenge and how they dealt with it.
6. A little something on the side
While you may have always thought of an extension as something built on the rear of your property there are cost savings to be made by choosing a side-return extension instead. Victorian properties often have these, or even more modern properties with space behind the garage – they’re areas where an extension can be created without extending beyond the rear of the building. As they can utilise at least two existing walls, they can be built more cost-effectively.
7. Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours
If you’re building anywhere near your neighbour’s boundary then they have the right to object, meaning you’ll have to seek a party wall settlement which could cost hundreds of pounds. Add to that your neighbour’s surveyor costs which you’d be liable for, and times that by two if your extension goes across the rear of your property and, therefore, affects neighbours on both sides and that’s a pretty penny to add to your extension costs. You could avoid all of this by getting on with your neighbours and, well ahead of time, sitting them down, explaining what you’re planning to do and getting them to complete a party wall agreement waiver, which means none of the above will be necessary
8. Keep it simple
Simple means reduced design costs, less likelihood of planning permission being rejected (if permission is required in the first place), off-the-shelf solutions more likely to be employed, swifter completion and more. Simple can be stylish as well. Start adding unique shapes and angles to your extension and see your costs rocket.
A desire to cut costs can lead you down a dangerous path. It may be tempting to choose your builder purely on price, but invite a cowboy builder onto your project and you’ll find their surprisingly low price starts to increase as they ask for more when they find ‘problems’, delays add more to the cost, and then there’s the quality of workmanship, whether the extension is structurally sound and meets building regulations, whether the builder is properly insured and has a reliable team working for them. The cheapest deal can so often be a false economy. This is your home: avoid the cowboys.