04 Sep 2017

From building materials to interiors, i-build has your extension queries covered


Here, experienced home extensions building expert, Ryan Abell – Director and Site Manager at Abell Building Services – shares his checklist for keeping track of a kitchen extension project from start to finish.

Prepare your materials

Like you would before you start a DIY flat-pack project, make sure that you have everything that you need. Just like with a wardrobe missing a vital packet of screws, not having a key component like mortar mixture or enough bricks ordered can slow everything down.

Materials list

•Door (if applicable)
•Electric components
•Plumbing components
•Skirting boards
•The kitchen fittings themselves
•Utility and white goods.

Planning permission

Once you have undertaken your research into style, configuration and materials and have decided where your extension will be (i.e. at the side or at the back of your property), make sure that you have the relevant planning permissions in place if they are required.

Architect’s drawings

You will need an architect’s drawing to make sure that your extension will end up looking exactly how you want it to look, with the features that you want included.

Choosing a builder

Make sure your builder has experience in kitchen extensions and ideally, see if they can project manage the kitchen extension themselves. This will save you having to get different contractors involved at different times, which can turn a six-week project into a six-month project.

Kitchen extension schedule

Tasks should be carried out in this order:

•Footings and foundations
•Damp proof coursing
•Installation of drains
•Floor foundation structure – usually concrete
•External wall building
•Internal wall building
•Structure of the roof building
•Roof covering installed
•Installation of windows
•Installation of doors
•Any carpentry
•Plastering of walls
•Installation of electrics
•Installation of plumbing
•Installation of skirting boards
•Window sills



Tips and tricks

Here, Refresh Interiors discusses the most common mistakes homeowners make when undertaking a home extension and offers its top tips for a straightforward process.

•Always do your research before hiring a builder. Make sure they are a reputable company and ask for references. Most builders are happy for you to view previous work and speak to their clients.

•Compare builders carefully – don’t just compare by the cost. Compare previous projects they have completed. Have they worked on a similar size or type of build before? Is there any specialist, complicated or unusual aspects to your extension that they have experience of dealing with before?

•Stage payments – only work with a builder who offers stage payments, i.e. payments only made once certain stages of works are completed. Never pay lots of money up front. •Do consider timber frame extensions. They have become more popular and often work out cheaper and can be built quicker than traditional brick and block extensions.

Common mistakes:

•Be realistic as to what can be achieved within your budget. Work closely with your professionals as to what you can achieve with your budget. Perhaps cutting back on fixtures and fittings will allow budget for more expensive items such as bi-fold doors.

•Always make sure you have the correct permissions in place. Never commence a build without planning permission or make any major adaptions to approved plans without getting the correct permissions in place, otherwise planners can make you knock it down. Planning permission isn’t always required for all developments, and in most cases you can extend your home with a single-storey rear extension up to 4m. Work closely with planning professionals to ensure regulations are adhered to so there are no nasty shocks later.

•Follow all regulations and make sure that you consult with neighbours and get party wall agreements in place.

•Wasting existing space. Make sure when designing an extension that you are utilising all existing space and not wasting areas. Work with your builder and planners as to how best to make use of space. Perhaps moving some existing internal walls will create extra rooms with your extension.

•Set a realistic deadline for completion on works with your builder. Reasonable delays can happen and can be out of control – e.g. extreme weather, however, make sure you set a realistic timeline with your builder and hold them accountable.

•Getting carried away with fixtures and fittings. Internal finishes can really push up the price of the build and blow a budget. Keep an eye on costs and work to find alternatives if it doesn’t fit within budget.

•When undergoing a very large extension, or major works, living on site can cause major stress. Where possible, it can be best to live off site until the major works are completed.

•Be aware of light. Adding a large extension to the rear can sometimes darken other rooms. Think about adding natural light. Use of VELUX roof windows or glass skylights can make beautiful features.



“A staircase in an extension has a duty to perform; both form and function. Functionally, it provides a means of travelling between levels – simply between floors of the newly-extended building or, more usefully– providing a physical connection between levels of old and new.

“A bespoke staircase, sympathetically designed to work with, or in the extension itself, should provide the aesthetic link between old and new. For example, a staircase in a contemporary extension to a period property might share elements of timber or forged metalwork present elsewhere in the house,” – Richard McLane, Design Director at Bisca.




Opting for wood?

Here Laura Keily, Head of Marketing at Accsys Group, answers your questions on using wood for home extensions.

Why is wood a viable option for a home extension project?
Wood is an extremely viable option for a home extension project since it is a low-maintenance option and easy to coat with a protector for a refined finish. In order to preserve the life of a home extension, we would recommend utilising a non-toxic, acetylated wood which will resist rot, defy the elements and stay strong for decades to come. Alongside such benefits, acetylated wood is incredibly sustainable since it is 100% recyclable, sourced from FSC-certified forests and is CO2-negative over its full life cycle. In general, wood is a natural insulator due to the air pockets within its cellular structure. This means it is 15 times better than masonry materials, 400 times better than steel and 1770 times more advanced than aluminium, reducing household energy needs (Makeitwood.org, 2017).

What advice would you give to those opting for a wooden-built extension?
We recommend opting for a material that is green and ecological and that will also add to the value of a home. The 50-year guarantee that comes with employing Accoya can be passed onto the new occupiers if selling the home. An acetylated wooden-built extension will also demonstrate complete stability and durability over the years ensuring it can withstand all weathers. Additionally, wood is a much quicker installation process compared to PVC and aluminium and can be constructed all year round in most climates, making it a more viable option.


Are there any aesthetically-led trends you are witnessing?
We have noticed that consumers are opting for wide cladding boards when choosing Accoya, which does seem to be a recurring trend. Painted coating also lasts much longer when applied to Accoya and, as mentioned, the material is incredibly low maintenance to preserve, ensuring painted coats retain their quality and colour over the years.

What are the possibilities when working with wood?
Wood is much more versatile than you might think and offers a lot of design freedom, as well as being naturally aesthetically pleasing. There is a high demand for innovate timber designs alongside designs that are strong, beautiful and original. With a varied range of applications towards wood, the only limitation is your imagination.




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