Extending your property is a great way to get the house of your dreams. More space, an extra bedroom, an en suite bathroom or a beautiful new conservatory can transform your home.

But it’s important to plan carefully, working out the best way to get more space, and booking contractors in plenty of time. It is also essential to go through the correct planning procedures, so you don’t trip over any legal hurdles.

Planning permission and building regulations

Most major changes to your home, such as an extension, need consent – known as planning permission. The government guide to planning permission will give you an idea of whether you need consent for your extension or conversion.  However, your local authority decides how planning is managed in your area, so you will need to contact your local planning office.

Building regulations set standards for certain building jobs. For some jobs this means that you will need to have them checked by your local authority to ensure that they meet these standards.

Neighbours and party walls

It is important to consider your neighbours and what effect your extension or conversion will have on them – they may lose sunlight or become overlooked. Talk to them before you seek planning permission.

You might also need a party wall agreement for semi-detached or terraced houses and flats, building on a boundary or excavating near a boundary – see our guidance on party walls.

If you have adjoining properties, your neighbours might be interested in extending in the same way, so you could cut the costs. You’d need to draw up a contract between you and then with the builder, just in case one party has difficulties paying or you disagree on how to move forward with the extension or conversion.

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