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Extensions (part 1)

If like many people, your housing budget is limited in someway, finding the perfect home for you and your family can prove to be a bit of a nightmare. For many people moving to a bigger home is the ultimate dream, but sometimes it’s just not possible.

In those situations it can often be far more cost effective to simply extend the property you already have. However, it’s safe to say that this approach isn’t without its limitations too.

We’ve had a look at some of the things you need to be aware of when planning and arranging an extension of your current property. Whilst it’s might not be an exhaustive list, it’s definitely a good starting point.

#1 – The Right To Light

This law is a type of easement that can override planning permission, and relates to an individual’s right to light through one or more of their windows. If your planned extension is likely to obstruct their view, and diminish the amount of light that will be available to their property, then your planning may be refused.

Generally speaking however, this type of argument tends to be valid for more built up areas, for example city centres, where light can be severely impeded by buildings that are close together. The best thing you can do in such a situation is contact a specialist solicitor to ensure you’re on the right side of the law.

#2 – Toilets and lobby’s

Many people believe that if you wish to have a toilet running off the kitchen, you need to ensure there is a small lobby or “air lock” between the two rooms. This did used to be part of the Building Regulations; however, it is no longer the case. That said, it might be something you want to try and incorporate in to any plans to ensure that little bit of extra privacy (certainly if you’re in the middle of preparing dinner)!

The only consideration you really need to remember is that all toilet spaces also need to include a wash basin, so make sure you have enough space for both.

#3 – Ceiling heights

Once upon a time there was a legal minimum ceiling height that all rooms had to adhere to; however, this has also been removed from the Building Regulations. That said, it makes sense to ensure that you carefully consider the practical implications when it comes to heights of rooms. The last thing you want to do is create a space that the vast majority of people will not be able to access safely or comfortably.

As such, most rooms will need to have a space of at least 2.1m from floor to ceiling (the average height is actually 2.4m). In a room that has a sloping ceiling, for example, a loft conversion, you should try to ensure that at least 50% of the floor space has a ceiling of at least 2.1m.

If you’re considering having an extension, make sure you consult with the relevant experts at every stage of the process, to stay on the right side of the law, and save yourself headaches further down the line.

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