Home Extension: Where to start? And Do I need an Architect?

2 years ago  •  By  •  0 Comments

Where should you start when planning a home extension?

From the garden - Exeter City Architects

Extending your home to create space is cheaper than moving, but getting the most from your space may require an architect. A home extension can be anything from a small addition (providing one or two extra rooms) to a big project that completely transforms your home, either way, an architect is the best placed person to offer design advice.


Be Open Minded

Often people have a very fixed idea of how they want to extend their home but I would urge anyone to try and keep an open mind. If you are using an architect or even just a builder this second pair of eyes may see opportunities for your home that you haven’t considered. It is worth talking to anyone who is going to help with your project as early as possible so that any ideas they have that you like can be incorporated from the outset. If you are planning to sell your property at some stage it might also be worth putting any plans under the nose of an estate agent who should be able to advise on how the changes will affect value.

The team at Hilton Barnfield introduced some new ideas we hadn’t considered before.


Once you have got your head round what you need or want from the extension it is time to think about what it’s going to look like. You may want to build something that looks identical to your existing house or you may want to go for something more contemporary, but whichever route you take there are a few things to bear in mind. Firstly, the appearance of the extension may be somewhat out of your control, if planning permission is required then seeking pre-application advice from your local authority should give you an indication of what they are likely to approve. Also if you are trying to avoid the need for planning permission the rules for permitted development set out certain requirements about the appearance of extensions.

View through architect designed extension in Kenton, Devon.


It is possible to build a fairly sizeable home extension, either one or two storey, without the need for planning permission. The rules for this sort of permitted development are quite complicated and can be quite restrictive. It is not always worth restricting yourself to a permitted development extension if it is going to effect and limit what you want from the project. The rules for permitted development can be found on the planning portal website www.planningportal.gov.uk but it is also worth checking with your local authority or consulting a professional to be sure you don’t require planning permission.

Most extensions to properties will require building regulations approval with the only exemptions being for conservatories or carports. There are various sections of the building regulations that apply to specific themes from structure and fire safety to conservation of energy and drainage. If you are using an architect for your project they should be able to take care of the building regulations process and provide drawings and a specification that will meet with the approval of the buildings inspector. Alternatively experienced builders may offer to take care of ensuring the project meets current building regulations.