We would all love to be in a position where we have our own house which is paid for and where we want to see out the rest of our days. Once we are in this position, many of us consider the idea of having remodeling done. For example, some people like the idea of having a conservatory or a porch built on the back or side of their property. Some want one for the extra room, some want one just for relaxing on a nice sunny day and some people want one to boost the value of the property. There are plenty of other reasons why but I would say are the main ones people have them built.
Now as we all know any building work does not come cheap, whether you hire a company to do it and pay for parts, labor etc. Or even if you just buy the materials and do it yourself or get a friend who has experience to do it, either way it's not cheap. Considering though what it costs and how much time and effort go in to it you would want to make sure it is done to the best standard and that it meets all planning permission rules and local building regulations, as the last thing you want is someone reporting you to the local council and them coming to tell you it is breaking the law and needs to be taken down.
The majority of people though are none the wiser of these rules and regulations for extensions and new builds, and in some cases it looks as though the builders are not either. I have researched this a lot and have spoken to many people about their problems and experiences. The majority of people I spoke to had not really encountered any major issues if any. Most people's complaints were to do with the estimated completion date. Now to me I understand that not all building work however big or small it will be finished on the exact date specified, because why they say the “estimated completion date”. The clue is in the phrase, if it's an estimate then it's not the exact date. This is just a small problem though that does not affect the usage of the extension only prolongs the time before you can use it.
Some of the major problems that can cause massive problems to the extension and sometimes even the property it is attached to. For example, I spoke to a couple who had just recently had a conservatory started by a company and after six weeks was still being built. They invited me round to see just how bad the job was, when I saw the “conservatory” that was being built I almost had a heart attack.
The builder had dug no footings what so ever and had built the floor directly on top of the mud in the garden, he had also decided to just throw over the proposed floor and leave it. He told the couple that this was normally how the floors are made in conservatories and that the flooring company simply laid the floor on top. I'm no professional but even I know that this is way off the mark. In the end the couple sacked the builder and lucky for them managed to be able to afford someone else to come in and re do the whole job.
Unfortunately though many people who have re modeling done to their house have saved for years and can not afford to have things altered if it goes wrong. Like a gentleman I have been emailing for the last few weeks. Here is his story in his own words.
“We had an unfinished basement built on a rectangle slab. There was a beam splitting the slab long ways. Instead of building a true doorway through supporting wall (this is an unfinished foundation after all), our builder is opted to simply knock out two or three of the supporting 2 x 6s. the center because of the missing 2 x 6's. We had drywall cracks all the way up the two floors above the unfinished basement.
A friend and I wrangled some floor jacks for the weekend and we jacked up the house an inch where it had sunken. We cut out a doorway with heads and created a proper passageway to go from one half of the basement to the other. All good, but we were not quite getting the feeling we were done. Why was there an expensive box of large expansion bolts left in a corner of the basement? Why was the caulking at the base of the home's back wall dropped over a 3/4 of an inch from its original position? We began to explore and found that the entire back wall, which supported three floors, was simply floating on the slab!
Digging through the wall's insulation, we found that every hole had been drilled through the 2 x 6 wood base and into the concrete slab, but no one bothered with the little detail of connecting the wall to the slab. With the center of the house sinking, it could easily have pushed the back wall clean off the slab! And we are talking 3 floors here, one very tall structure. The house would not have stood a chance of standing much longer had we not caught it.
It was a simple matter to open up the holes and drop in the expansion bolts to fasten everything down, but my goodness, what could have happened? Thank God nothing did. ”
The gentleman in question was lucky really considering just how bad the builder was. Things could of been a lot worse and even deadly if the problems had not been spotted early on. But it just goes to show that some rogue builders really do not care or consider the dangers to others of their shoddy workmanship.
These are just two horror stories I have heard, there are plenty of others out there some a lot worse. This is why I thought it would be a good idea to write an article on all the aspects and standards you should expect from having an extension built, so that in the hope no one has to go through the heartache and financial difficulties other people have faced . So here are a few paragraphs on the rules and regulations your new extension should meet. Just click on the link to see the official document for each regulation.
Part A – Structure
Part B – Fire Safety (Volume 1)
Part B – Dwellings & houses (Volume 2)
Part C – Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture
Part D – Toxic Substances
Part E – Resistance to the passage of sound
Part F – Ventilation
Part F – Ventilation 2010 Edition – Started Oct 2010
Part G – Hygiene
Part G – Hygiene 2010 Edition – Started Oct 2010
Part H – Drainage and waste disposal
Part J – Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems
Part J – Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems 2010 Edition – Started Oct 2010
Part K – Protection from falling collision and impact
Part L1A – Conservation of Fuel and Power (New dwellings)
Part L1A – Conservation of Fuel and Power (New dwellings) 2010 Edition – Started Oct 2010
Part L1B – Conservation of Fuel and Power (Existing dwellings)
Part L1B – Conservation of Fuel and Power (Existing dwellings) 2010 Edition – Started Oct 2010
Part L2A – Conservation of Fuel and Power (New buildings other than dwellings)
Part L2A – Conservation of Fuel and Power (New buildings other than dwellings) 2010 Edition – Started Oct 2010
Part L2B – Conservation of Fuel and Power (Existing buildings other than dwellings)
Part L2B – Conservation of Fuel and Power (Existing buildings other than dwellings) 2010 Ediiton – Started Oct 2010
Part M – Access to and use of buildings
Part N – Glazing
Part P – Electrical Safety (Dwellings)
Regulation 7 Approved Document to support Regulation 7 – Material and Workmanship
All these documents can be found on the link below:
Obviously certain sections on rules such as planning permission and building regulations do differ depending on the extension you are looking to have built. An example is porches. The majority of porches do not require planning permission if they are under a certain length and height but this does also apply to conservatories. With conservatories despite the majority of them tend to be large and will need planning permission to be built.
All in all though as long as you have hired yourself a good company to do your work you should be ok, but as we all know not everyone in this world is as honest and trustworthy as the rest of us. Just think of the poor couple mentioned above who had to re pay someone else to complete their conservatory. Having an extension or new house built should be one of the greatest things that happens in your life. It's something you should look back at and think to yourself, “Wow that looks amazing!” not “I wish we had never bothered!”
I really hope this will help others out there who are thinking of having conservatories, porches etc being built. Just because others have got horror stories to tell does not mean you will be the same. Just beware of those cowboy builders though!