When embarking on a property renovation project, being organised and systematic is the first step towards ensuring a smooth process.
Whilst building your dream extension, basement or loft conversion is exciting and you want to start work with all guns blazing, it’s a good idea to slow things down and take your time in planning every little detail. You’ll be surprised about how many fine points you will need to consider.
We recommend starting the groundwork well in advance of when you want the building work to start. For many of our clients that means a year in advance give or take to obtain the necessary permissions, iron out any issues with neighbours and conduct in-depth research on builders, costs, kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, decking and all the nitty grittys of your property renovation project.
SDA Build London has created a FREE downloadable Project Management Checklist that might help you plan your project … step by step.
So, what are the aspects of a property renovation project that you need to consider?
The first step is to appoint an architect to create your plans and submit them to your council for planning permission. The architect is a vital member of your team as nothing can progress until the drawings and plans have been approved by the local council. It is advisable to choose a local architect who knows the rules and regulations of your area. If, for example, you live in a conservation area, planning regulations and restrictions will differ from those outside the conservation area. It’s usually the local architects who are aware of do’s and don’ts.
Planning permission approvals take 8 weeks from the date of submission, assuming there are no problems. If your plans need to be amended or your neighbour objects, this 8-week timeline might be stretched until the council, the neighbours and yourself are happy.
You will need a structural engineer to prepare detailed structural drawings so a builder can give you a quote. We’ve sometimes had clients ask us to quote based on planning permission drawings. Whilst we can provide very rough estimates with planning permission drawings, it’s impossible to prepare a detailed quote without structural drawings that tell us how much material we will need to complete your project.
You will also need building control permissions. Building controls are minimum standards for design, construction and alterations to almost every building. You will need to get building control approvals by applying via the Planning Portal. This is usually done or should be done by your architect prior to commencing work. Once you have given a Building Notice or submitted Full Plans, you can start work at any time, but you must give the Local Authority a Commencement Notice at least two clear days (not including the day on which you give notice and any Saturday, Sunday, Bank or public holiday) before doing so.