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Living Bigger: Things to Know Before Planning a Home Extension

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Having a home extension built is a goal for many homeowners in Australia.  We'd all love a little more space to exist in.  Whether you're looking to add a bedroom, a library or just increase the floor space of an existing room, the process will be more or less the same.  However, it is quite a complicated process, so anybody seriously looking into having an extension built should prepare for a long run.  You can't start building tomorrow.  Here are a couple of reasons why that is.

Planning Permission

It's a good idea to contact your local authority before you start any other planning work.  They'll want to see your more detailed plans, too – but getting in touch early in the game will ensure you know exactly what your obligations are, and what constraints you'll need to operate in.  After all, these vary state to state.  Once you have full plans drawn up, you'll need to send them off for formal planning permission.  Some designers may offer to handle this for you, but you should be prepared to do it yourself if necessary.

Building Designs

You can't just hire building contractors and tell them what you're looking for – even with a detailed sketch including measurements and other key information.  No builder worth their salt will even touch your property before you have a professional plan drawn up, showing exactly where to place every inch of construction material.  As such, you should secure plans before you even think about hiring contractors.  Be aware that they can take a while to draw up.  The building designer will need to come to your home and take stock, even if you've already provided them with measurements.  They'll then take those away and come back with a computer-rendered design to show you.  Expect to pay a good amount for this service, too; it's highly skilled and takes a lot of time for a reason.

Securing Contractors

With work as big as an extension, you should vet your contractors carefully.  Not only should you secure quotes from several businesses, but you should also go to see some of their previous work in person where possible.  That way, you know exactly what kind of quality you're spending your money on.  Going with an experienced and well-established company is your best bet – but bear in mind that the best contractors may have other work scheduled months in advance.  You should be prepared to wait for the right contractor.

As hard as it can be to wait for something as exciting as an extension, the process could take up to a year in all – or longer, if luck isn't on your side with planning permission and scheduling conflicts.  However, rest assured that all this work will be worth it.  You've done your due diligence by paying attention to all of these important factors, so you can be confident in the end result.