Renovations and Extension Tips for the NI Homeowner

Aim for a Balance when extending
If you are extending to add bedrooms, try and balance this by increasing the number of bathrooms. Future buyers will expect at least one bathroom and a shower room in a four or five bedroom house and without them the value will be limited.

Avoid Creating Through Rooms
Working out the most efficient and practical way to access an extension is often the greatest design challenge. There is no point in sacrificing more than you are gaining, eg slicing up a good sized bedroom in order to gain access to an extension that adds only one more bedroom of a similar size.

Consider Adding Basement Space
If you have an existing cellar, you can convert it into living space without using up your permitted development rights. All work must, however, comply with the Building Regulations. Visit the Basement Information Centre (link to for further info. Converting existing cellar space to bring it up to habitable standards costs from £1,000 to £1,500 per m2 providing there is already enough headroom.

Make Your Conservatory Part of Your Home
You can integrate a conservatory into the existing house to make it an extension to an existing room rather than as a bolt on but you have to be careful with the design. The Building Regulations require most conservatories to be separated from the existing house by exterior quality doors.

Have You Really Thought Through Your Loft Conversion?
Before an expensive attic conversion, think about the cost relative to the amount of useful space that can be gained and the impact on the existing accommodation. In order to comply with the Building Regulations, the floor may need strengthening and the roof will usually need to have at least 150mm of insulation plus a 60mm clear air gap. The result of bringing the loft space up to habitable requirements is that the ceiling height will typically need to be lowered by 60-100mm and the floor level raised by at least 15-20 mm.

A Shower Room Can be Added Anywhere – as can a WC
A basic shower room need measure only 900mm wide by 2.6m if it is to include a WC and basin and can really add value. The cost of creating a shower room within a bedroom will be around £2,500 providing the plumbing is within reasonable proximity.

It used to be a requirement of the Building Regulations for there to be a lobby between a WC and any other room. It is, however, necessary for there to be a wash basin and suitable ventilation to all WCs. Do remember that to work effectively the minimum size for a WC is 1.2 m2

Think Carefully about Minimum Sizes of Rooms
There are minimum sizes for rooms to function properly. As a guide a double bedroom should be 10.2 to 11.2 m2, a single bedroom 6.5 to 8.4m2 and a dining room 9.5m2.

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