Planning restrictions on building extensions are to be relaxed as part of a range of measures to boost the economy, the government announced this week.
The goal is to make it easier for families to improve their properties and kick-start the building industry, so just how much value can an extension add to your home?
As more families decide to improve rather than move, the government plans have been widely welcomed by homeowners throughout the country.
The new Permitted Development Rights will make it easier to install conservatories and loft extensions without going through weeks of planning bureaucracy and form-filling.
Full planning permission - required for extensions of more than a few metres from the rear wall of any home - will only now be needed for those beyond six or eight metres, depending on whether it is terraced or detached.
The changes will give homeowners more flexibility to improve and increase the value of their homes. Adding an extension or a loft conversion can increase the value of a property by almost a quarter, according to research by Nationwide, which found that average price for building an extension is around £1,000 per m2 or £23,0003 for a single storey and £76,0004 for a double storey.
"A second bathroom is also a favourite with homeowners and our research shows that creating an additional bathroom can add 6% to the value of the average house. Homeowners that add a loft conversion or extension incorporating a double bedroom and a bathroom can add about 23% to the value of an existing three bedroom, one bathroom house."
Extend with care
With any building project is crucial to research local tradesman and choose with care. A personal recommendation is best, otherwise ask for recent references and be sure to follow them up. A good builder should be proud to show off their work so be suspicious of anyone who is cagey about putting you in touch with past clients.
Always ask for a breakdown of each quote and a timescale, including set dates for when each stage will be completed. When you employ a company, always get this in writing in a formal contract to protect yourself if anything goes wrong.
If you are considering managing the project yourself, bear in mind that a good builder can do this for you and will have relationships with suppliers so will likely receive a better quality of service as well as trade price on materials.
While it is easy to be swayed by price, remember that the cheapest quote isn't necessarily the best and cutting corners on a rock bottom job price could lead to unexpected costs later on. Equally don't be fooled by an overly expensive quote and showy signs like a flash vehicle or fancy website.