Expanding your home via an extension is an exciting time and one that often turns a house that’ll do for now into a dream “forever home”. But these projects aren’t cheap and costs can spiral out of control if you don’t approach them in the right way. Here we explore some of the fundamentals for managing an extension budget and making sure you get the most bang for your buck.
Start with a dream, then make a plan
When you start your extension project, give yourself space to let your imagination run wild. Grab every gorgeous image that takes your fancy from Pinterest, make lists of everything your perfect extension should have. Then it’s time to rein it in. This doesn’t have to be a painful process, just prioritise your list into “must have” and “nice to have” items then cost them out.
Remember your interior can be changed quite easily and relatively cheaply, whereas the actual structure of your extension is harder to alter. Make sure you’ve got enough space in your extension and that all your key features like flooring, electrics, rooflights, bifold doors etc. are in the plan from the start. Also, don’t forget your garden. If you’re planning on your extension opening out onto a patio or remodelling your garden to suit a new extension, this needs to be factored in to the overall cost.
Create a budget and timeline, then stick to it
It can be really easy to get carried away when you’re in the middle of an extension project but you don’t want to end up in a situation where you run out of money to finish it. Create a proper budget taking into account labour, materials and decor, then make your choices to fit with this, rather than trying to scrape money together to do things differently. Be sure to allow for a contingency fund as something will always come up, no matter how well you run your project.
Set a definite timeline and manage your project tightly, holding all your contractors and installers accountable for delivering their part of the project on time. Time equals money on a project like this and delays can cause costs to skyrocket without you seeing any more value.
Assemble your team
A good architect can help you create your dream extension on a budget. They’ll be able to advise on things like more affordable construction techniques and how to make use of existing features to make the most of your build budget. Then you need to decide whether you’ll go with a general contractor or manage your own project bringing in specific trades for plumbing, building, carpentry, electrics etc.
There can often be immediate cost savings of managing your own project, but you need to be confident in choosing and managing your contractors to avoid expensive mistakes. Leverage the expertise of your team by asking them how to reduce costs in every part of the project and don’t always accept a quote, try to negotiate with your contractors and consider using sole traders who operate below the VAT threshold to save that 20%.
Bespoke ≠ Expensive
Bear in mind that bespoke doesn’t have to mean costly. For example, bespoke rooflights are often the same price as standard ones and enable you to have something unique to your home that’s a perfect fit for your vision and that compliments your personality.
Accept free help
Many manufacturers will offer support in planning, costing and designing parts of your project and the best ones can also connect you with their own network of tradespeople who come with expertise to help you build better on a budget.
Our Daylight Experts love to help create extensions that are drenched in daylight and can really help you make the most of your new space.