Extend or Move?

by : Alan Olson

Why do people renovate and add onto their existing home? It may be that your family is getting larger or perhaps you've decided to run your business from home, or even simply because you would like a formal dining room. For some of us the first thought is obviously to move, but others are too fond of their home and neighborhood to want to leave it.

For a large number of us, our decision is influenced by the house prices in the real estate market. If the next step up in housing is too big of a step for the wallet, then the thought of extending our home comes to mind.

Expanding your home can take on many forms. There are loft conversions and basement conversions, both very popular. In recent years we have also seen the introduction of conservatories. (A conservatory is a structure largely composed of glass or plexiglass that is attached to the house at the ground floor level).

A conservatory is often less popular than a regularly-built addition, because it really needs to be double glazed in order to be usable all year round. However, it does have special appeal on sunny days as it warms up quickly and has a panoramic view over your back yard!

Before you decide whether or not to make the decision to move or extend, you will need to familiarize yourself with the building regulations in your area. You will also need to know if your proposed addition will come under the heading of 'requiring planning permission'. If it does, you may need to hire an architect or architectural technologist as they deal with the town planners etc all the time.

City Councils, municipalities and regional districts all have vast and varied rules. Some of rule-makers seem very blase and others almost want to know the size of the screws you use. Some of the indicators that you may need planning permission could include:

-If the proposed extension is closer to any highway than the original property.

-If a certain percentage of the original amount of land surrounding the house is covered by additional buildings

-If the extension is higher than the highest point of the original house

-If the volume of a house is substantially increased.

For large renovation projects, you can hire a contractor to supervise, since many renovation contracting companies are capable of handling both design and renovation work. If you need to prepare plans for your application, contractors, architects or renovators can submit a quotation based on these plans. These professionals may also provide their services to oversee your project.