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side effects of a home renovation project

Recognise these? 5 Common Side Effects of Doing a Renovation

December 13, 2019

We love some of the articles in Houzz…they’re interesting, practical and relatable, like this one on the ‘side effects’ of a home renovation project. 


Living through major building works isn’t easy. Even if you’ve planned every last detail, the reality of having builders and decorators in your home for months on end can drive anyone slightly mad. Here, then, are the unofficial side effects of going through a renovation project – and some tips on how to come out the other side with your sanity, relationships and bank balance intact…. 


Read the rest of the article here… 



If you’d like some guidance on your home improvement project, give us a call on 02081917595. Or better still, book a FREE consultation with us and we’ll visit your property, discuss your ideas and share some of our recommendations with no obligation. 

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Single Storey extension

6 things you didn’t know about Home Extensions in London

December 6, 2019


We’ve talked extensively in our blogs on home extensions in London, whether it’s calculating extension costsplanning permissionpermitted developmentparty wallside extensions and rear extensions. It’s all there in our blog pages.  


We thought we’d share some pearls of wisdom, through our years of experience in the building industry, on the little things not usually discussed, but are ‘need to knows.’ 


Here goes: 


  1. Timing: Make sure you know the lead times of everything that you order. Usually lead times for kitchens are about 8-12 weeks and for glass sliding doors and windows, it’s about 9 weeks. Place your orders in time so your builders are not wasting time waiting around for your kitchen or doors and windows to be delivered. This will add to your cost and of course delay the completion of the project.  


  1. You can get private building inspectors. And most of them are reputable and trustworthy. But some can be dubious, especially if they are looking to ‘finish the job.’ The safest option is to use the building regulations services of your council. You can be sure that they will only approve things done by the book. You don’t want a pass certificate for things that haven’t met UK building regulation standards.  


  1. Make sure your builders have specialists in their team – certified electricians, plumbers, technology experts and lighting engineers – so that you get expert advice for all these aspects of your home. You will need gas and electric certificates at the end of your build, and these are provided by certified electricians and plumbers. Beware of the ‘generalist’ builder who says he can do it all. You might save some money, but you will have compromised on quality. Also, remember that no professional electrician or plumber will certify someone else’s work.  


  1. Get your neighbours on side. Having difficult neighbours can be extremely stressful. We suggest you invite them over for a cup of tea before you begin your extension, discuss your plans and get them on board. If, however, they still choose to object, don’t lose heart. They will have to raise a material planning objection and submit this to the local authority. It will fall to the case officer at the local planning authority to weigh up the objections, decide whether there are material considerations and determine if the proposals are acceptable.  


  1. Consider your neighbours ‘right to light.’ This is different from what the planning application considers and is a civil matterseparate from daylight and sunlight as considered by Local Planning Authorities. In England and Wales a right to light is usually acquired under the Prescription Act 1832. Under the Act a right to light usually occurs once light has been enjoyed through defined apertures of a building for an uninterrupted period of 20 years. An infringement may give the neighbouring owner the right to seek an injunction to have the proposed development reduced in size. If the loss of light is small and can be adequately compensated by money, a court may decide to award compensation instead of an injunction. You will need to hire a right to light surveyor to determine if you are breaching your neighbours legal right to light.  


  1. Try and purchase products that have good warranties e.g. windows, kitchen appliances, flooring and others. If something is going to go wrong, chances are they will falter in the first two years after the extension project. You may need to replace things and if you’ve purchased goods with a warranty, it will make your life much easier and stress-free. 


Do share some of your ‘must knows’ for a home extension project based on your experiences. I’m sure our readers would love to know. 




We have been working in the West London area for several years and are well-versed with the different types of house extensions across the city. Give us a call if you’d like to discuss your extension plans. We can be contacted on 0208 191 7595 or email us at enquiries@sdabuildlondon.co.uk to discuss how we can help.  


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SDA BUILD London rear extension

Will a rear extension add value to my home?

November 22, 2019

Building a rear extension to a property in London will not only create a space you’ve always dreamed of, perhaps a kitchen/diner, a living room, a home office or even a games room, but will also add value to your home. 


According to Homes & Property, a house extension in London with a medium-sized extension of 25 square metres is currently estimated to add an average of £59,000 to the  property priceOf course, this is only a guide. The actual value-add will depend on a number of factors including size of extension, quality of construction, use of the extension and the decor and the location of the property. 


You could have a single storey or a double storey rear extension, depending on space and budget.  


We thought we’d share some of our “things to consider” when you are planning to build a house extension in London.  


  • Research – we cannot stress the importance of doing your research. Visit kitchen companies, flooring companies, window companies, furniture shops, lighting shops and discover what’s available. Find out what you like and dislike, discuss costs and zero down on your budget. (remember to keep a 10% buffer). From our (builder’s) perspective find out delivery lead times. We recommend starting your research six months before your project actually starts.  


  • Architect – Appoint a professional architect; one who knows the requirements of your local council. This is one of the most crucial steps in your building project. It is your architect who will draw up the plans that will need to be submitted to the council for planning permission. It’s also your architect that will draw up structural drawings for your builder and building regulations. 


Why not download our FREE Guide to The Top London Residential Architects 2019. 


  • Make sure you have your neighbours on side. Unless you live on a property out in the countryside with no neighbours around, you will have to get your immediate neighbours to ‘not object.’ When your plans are submitted to the council, the council will send out letters to your immediate neighbours asking if they have any objections to your building work. If they do object, this can draw out the process of getting planning permission.  


So, we suggest discussing your plans with your neighbours before you submit your planning application to understand whether they have any concerns, reassure them that you do not intend to build a ugly structure that would impact their light and that your builders will be mindful of noise and disruption.  


  • You may need a Party Wall Agreement. Depending on the how far your wall is from your neighbours and how deep your foundation needs to be (this will be determined by the building inspectors), you may need a party wall agreement with your neighbour. A party wall is the shared wall, usually between a terrace or semi-detached house, and divides the homes of two separate owners. Find out if you need one here. 


  • Planning Permission- If you are building a double storey extension you will need planning permission. If, on the other hand, you are building a single storey extension, you come under permitted development, provided all the criteria are met. Find out if your project falls under permitted development rights here. 


  • Do you need to move out? Depending on the scope of your extension, you may need to move out of the property. If it’s a complete home renovation project, make sure you are prepared to be out of the property for a year. You will need to budget the cost of rent for that period if you are not staying with family or friends. If, on the other hand, you are doing a single storey extension and are planning to live in the property during the building work, make sure you give the builders an empty space to work in. You will save time and money if the builders are not delayed by having to work around your existing furniture. It might be a good idea to store your household items at a secure storage facility whilst the work is being done. You will need to budget storage costs. 


  • Decisions, decisions, decisions… You will have to make innumerable decisions. From something as small as colour of electrical switches to bigger ones like whether you want a mega flow installed or a combi boiler. To avoid delay, make your decisions as early on in the process as possible, especially if you are (like many of our clients are) someone who likes to take their time. Place orders for kitchens and windows at the right time as these are items that have a long lead time (12-14 weeks). You don’t want your work to be delayed because you did not place your order in time. 


  • To manage costs, lead times and purchases, we recommend that you keep a record of your project via a checklist. Download our FREE renovation checklist; a handy spreadsheet that will help keep you on top of your project.  


  • Last but not least… patience. A house extension project is not for the faint-hearted. Whilst experienced builders like ourselves can make your project as smooth as possible, you will need to arm yourself with patience, resilience and the ability to smile through unexpected situation e.g. deliveries being delayed, an underground pipe that you did not expect or a difficult neighbour.  


But… after all that, imagine how you will feel when you have the home of your dreams; exactly the way you have always wanted it in terms of space, décor and ambience. 


As an experienced building company, we have seen it all. The highs and the lows of a building project. But what we like to focus on is the look of delight on our client’s faces when they walk into their newly refurbished property. It’s what inspires us and makes what we do worth every second of stress.  


SDA Build London have been working in the West London area for several years and are well-versed with all things “extension” Give us a call [Symbol] if you if you need to discuss your home extension plans. We can be contacted on 0208 191 7595 or email us at enquiries@sdabuildlondon.co.uk to discuss how we can help.  





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SDA Build London Side extension

What is a side return extension?

November 8, 2019

If you are thinking of building a house extension in London, and don’t want to compromise your rear garden space, why not consider an extension to the side of your house? This is known as a side return extension and most common in Victorian terrace houses where the original building leaves a strip of land on the side of the house making an L shaped garden.  


Of course, they can be used in any home and often they are the more cost-effective way of increasing the living area in your home.  You could even consider a wraparound extension that combines a side extension with a rear extension.  


There are usually two reasons people choose a side extension over a rear extension – space and cost. In Central London, where homes usually don’t have large rear gardens or are terraced or semi-detached, a side extension is the only way to expand the living space… Remember, as space is at such a premium in London, any addition/ extension/ expansion will add value to your property.  


One of the first questions we get asked is by homeowners is “how much does a side extension cost? The simple answer is “it depends… 

The cost of building a side return extension is dependent on a number of factors including: 


  • The size of the extension 
  • The layout of the garden 
  • Ground conditions
  • Proximity to neighbouring properties 


But just to give you an approximate idea, typically, in London, a side return extension can cost anywhere between £3,000 – £5,000 per square metre. So, for a ten metre extension, it could be between £30,000 – £50,000 (+VAT and professional fees). This does not include areas like the actual kitchen, flooring, furniture, paint, heating… anything that makes the space actually liveable. This approximate cost … and we would like to emphasise the word approximate… is for putting in foundations, building an external wall and roof, installing insulation and applying internal finishing, including plasteringSource: designfor-me.com 


The other question we often get asked is about planning permission. “Do I need planning permission for my side return extension?” The answer is no. Side return extensions fall under permitted development. 


According to an article in propertypriceadvice.co.uk, a side return extension doesn’t need planning permission as long as it satisfies certain criteria. These are: 


  • It must be attached to a house (flats and maisonettes don’t qualify).  
  • Permitted Development rights may be restricted if your home is in a conservation area. 
  • To qualify for PD, a side return rear extension must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than three metres (if it’s an attached house) or by four metres (if it’s a detached house). Until 30 May 2019, these limits are doubled for both attached and detached houses. 
  • A side return extension must be single storey (no more than four metres high) and must not exceed more than half the area of land around the original house (as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948 if it was built before that date). 
  •  It must also be no wider than half the width of the original house.  
  • If the extension is within two metres of a boundary, maximum eaves height should be no higher than three metres to be permitted development. 
  • As well as satisfying these conditions, you’ll need to notify the local authority of your proposal and formally consult neighbours. If there are objections, the proposal might not be allowed, so it’s wise to seek advice before getting started. 



Like any other house extension in London, you will need to get building regulation approval and chances are that you will need a party wall agreement with your neighbour, given the proximity of properties in the central and west London areas. Under the Party Wall Act, you must give notice to your neighbours if you want to carry out any building work near or on your shared property boundary (the ‘party wall’). This must be done between two months and a year before you plan to start the work. Your neighbour then has 14 days to assess how the side return extension will affect their property and to respond in writing. 


As we have been working in the West London area for several years, we are well-versed with the different types of house extensions across the city. Give us a call if you’d like to discuss your extension plans. We can be contacted on 0208 191 7595 or email us at enquiries@sdabuildlondon.co.uk to discuss how we can help.  

To have a look at the kind of work we have done, why not download our free brochure? And if you need any help with managing your building project, our free project management checklist has been hugely popular.  


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What’s the best home extension for me?

October 25, 2019

So, you’ve decided that you are ready to embark on a “renovating your home” project and building an extension is the plan. The next big decision iso to choose they type of extension. Of course, the biggest factor in this decision is the budget. No doubt about that. You may have the budget for a large, double-storey extension but decide that a single storey extension will do just fine.  

We thought we’d give you a quick and easy guide to what types of extensions are out there for you to consider for your London home.  

  • Single Storey Extension  

As the name suggests single storey extensions are ground floor extensions out of the existing floor plan of the house. These can be at the front of the house, on the side or at the rear of the house. Single storey rear extensions are the most popular ones as they open up the house and connect it with the garden. People who decide to go with this type usually have a garden in the rear part of their houses and they can afford to lose a little bit of it for the sake of extending their home by few meters. By adding bi fold or sliding doors, you can create an open space linking your outside space with the internal. 

The design can vary from flat roof to pitched tiled roof. Even though pitched roof often looks better and lasts longer, you need to consider access to heights where maintenance is needed. 

  • Double Storey Extension 

A double-storey extension is an extension out on the ground floor as well as above, on top of the single storey extension. Get the picture?  

This type of extension is ideal for growing families where you might need more or larger bedrooms and probably additional bathrooms. Many of the homes in the West London area are inadequate for practical living in the modern world, with large homes being serviced by a single bathroom. Whilst this sort of extension allows homeowners to increase their living space, double storey extensions are harder to get through planning simply because of the impact they may have on neighbours and the surrounding area.  

Property type and overall design are the key facts that attention must be paid to. The extension must not cause any serious loss of sunlight to rooms and gardens of adjoining properties. Another important requirement is that the design of the new part of the house must match the existing property and fit into character of the neighbourhood that means – match the materials used, roof form and same type of windows and doors. It also cannot dominate the property. 

  • Garage Extensions 

Who uses their garage for their cars? It’s very rare, especially in London, for people to actually park their cars in their garage. For one, many garages are not large enough for the large family cars most families have, but also, why waste that space on your car, when you can use it for a gym or a games room or even an office? 

The great thing about converting your garage is that you can avoid losing coveted garden space that rear extension would. The main question comes whether the garage is attached or detached from the house. Both can be turned into the living space, although detached garages might need a planning permission.  

  • Orangery 

An orangery is a cross between a conservatory and a traditional single storey extension. Made with brick-built pillars, orangeries are usually designed to feature a raised glass roof structure that can flood the space inside with natural light. Orangeries are versatile and can be used as a kitchen, dining room, living room, play room, music room or office. And they are cheaper than single-storey extensions. 

In most cases, an orangery can be added without planning permission because it is classed as a ‘permitted development’ but specific conditions must be met to abide by this law. 

Available in a wide range of traditional and contemporary styles, orangeries are usually bespoke and designed to suit your existing property. This allows you to select the size, shape and roof style which will best complement your home’s interior and exterior appearance. 

Building an extension to your home requires time, patience, research and a decent budget. We recommend you begin the process by: 

  1. Appointing an architect that is aware of local planning rules – Find out how to choose the right architect here. Or why not download our FREE Guide to The Top London Residential Architects 2019. 
  2. Talking to your local council about what they will allow  
  3. Creating a detailed project management checklist so you are on top of all the little details that need to be thought through. Download your FREE Project Management Checklist now and make your home extension project smooth and seamless.  


SDA Build London have been working in the West London area for several years and are well-versed with the do’s and don’ts in the area with regards to what the councils will allow and what they won’t. We suggest you give us a call [Symbol] if you have any doubts or need to discuss whether your extension ideas… will get through planning. We can be contacted on 0208 191 7595 or email us at enquiries@sdabuildlondon.co.uk to discuss how we can help.  

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