Steps of action that you will undertake when extending your home← Back

Building projects are not a common occurrence for the general customer who has engaged us to extend or alter their home.  It can be very daunting for a person to not only think in which order things need to be done but if the costs are realistic or not.
At ABDS we like to keep things simple.  We are experts in extending and altering domestic properties and the steps you are thinking of taking now, we go through them everyday.
When we come and see you for the first time we listen to what you are wanting, not only in the ideas you want to explore to extend or alter your home, but also budgets and timescales.
From our first meeting we will leave you some information about ourselves and your next steps and then send you a no obligation quotation within 24 hours.
Our fee quotation letter outlines the individual steps you will have to take with us and what each step costs.  This is done in a “shopping list” format, it is designed to enable you know in which order we need to do the work and what cost each step incurs.  For a typical project it is usually:
Stage 1 = Survey and Design (this is a fixed fee)
This is to visit your property and undertake a detailed measured survey of the floor plans, elevations and external site features.  We will then produce drawings of how your property currently is.  This is required to enable us to start the design drawings and also required as part of the planning application.
From these existing drawings we can prepare design drawings which can include alternative options to explore what else can be achieved.
These design drawings are then sent to you and are developed until you are happy with them.  The drawings are all computer drawn which makes them easy to alter as many times as it takes (for free) until you are happy.
We can then get some local reputable builders to give a budget price to see if the design falls within your budget.  If not, then we can revisit the design and explore ways we can bring the costs down.
Stage 2 = Planning Application (this is a fixed fee)
When you are happy with the design and the budget costs, then the next step is to check if planning permission is required and if so prepare the necessary planning documents.
Planning documents usually consist of the existing and proposed drawings together with the planning forms, design statement, access statement, ownership certificates, block site plan and Ordnance Survey site plan identifying your site boundaries in red.
In more complex planning applications you may require a tree report, bat report, ecology report etc.  These are usually done by third parties who are specialists in their field.
We usually do the planning application stage on a “no win – no fee” basis.  It is unfair for you to pay if the design gets refused.  We are specialists working for you and we should know how to design to comply with the Local Authorities requirements and planning policies.
A typical time frame for the planning application to be acknowledged by the Local Authority is one week, with 6 – 8 weeks for a decision to be made.
Stage 3 = Building Regulations (this is a fixed fee)
When the design has been agreed and planning permission granted then the next step is to develop the design drawings into what we call “Building Regulation” drawings or “Construction drawings”.  These drawings contain all the information and specification notes that a Builder needs to build the project.
This is where you, the Client, can start to see that it won’t be long until a builder can start the work.  It is either exciting times or a time of worry (mess, disruption, security if your home is opened up /vulnerable etc).
Once we have prepared the necessary technical drawings then we can help recommend a builder(s) to you to give an accurate price and make sure they are available when you are wanting the work to be done.  A builder’s price should include everything, however, some items are not easy to price such a sanitaryware, kitchen units, finishes, tiles etc.   This is because everyone has different tastes and expectations.  It is no good for a builder to allow say £3000 for a budget kitchen when you do not like that and want a £10,000 kitchen.   In a builder’s price, they usually list what is called a provisional sum for an unknown item.  This is good because you can see what sum of money the builder has allowed in the “pot” for a certain item.
The Stage 3 section includes for us submitting the drawings to a Building Inspector and obtaining an approval.  This approval is as important as your planning permission.  It will be required should you every sell your house.
This is usually the end of the work which we initially quoted for.  However, this blog is to help you understand the next steps that have to be undertaken after the Building Regulation drawings have been prepared.
Stage 4 = Steel Beam Calculations / Structural Engineer input
If we are forming openings in existing walls, removing walls, removing chimney beasts, having sloping ceilings etc, then some steelwork beams may be required.
The Building Inspector will require some calculations to be prepared and submitted to ensure that they are capable of carrying the necessary loadings.
We at ABDS, can get these calculations prepared together with getting a Structural Engineer involved for more complicated projects.
Stage 5 = Building over drains and sewers
If a neighbouring property discharges their water in the same drain as you discharge water, then this is called a Public Sewer.   If you are building within 3m of a Public Sewer then you must get the permission of the person who owns that drain / sewer which is the Local Water Authority.   A CCTV survey is required and must be submitted with the application together with copies of our Building Regulation drawings and the application fee.  This can take about 4 weeks to come back with a decision.  ABDS can undertake this work for you.
Stage 6 = Obtaining Building Regulation approval.
When the Building Inspector is satisfied that the drawings contain all the relevant information and standards as required by the Building Regulations (ie: structure, insulation, ventilation, access, means of escape, drainage etc), then a Building Regulation Approval Notice will be issued.
Stage 7 = Getting a Builder on board
When Building Regulation approval has been granted then in theory all information is fixed and a builder can accurately price the project.  ABDS can recommend builders to you and help you get a price.  Pricing usually can take 3-4 weeks.
It is always recommended that you have some form of written contract with the builder.  This not only protects you but it helps the builder as well regarding payments etc.  ABDS can put together a simple form of contract if required which will be in an easy to read and understand format.
Stage 8 = Party Wall Act.
The Party Wall Act was put in place in 1997 to help prevent neighbour disputes during building work within 3m of a party wall or boundary fence.  It also applies where there are neighbouring structures / foundation depths etc.
This is a Legal requirement and must be done.  Failure to do this can result in your neighbour legally making you to stop your project until an agreement can be reached.
ABDS can prepare all Party Wall paperwork for  you if you require.
Stage 9 = The project may start !!!
We have now arrived at the stage where your builder may start the work !!!
ABDS are here at anytime should you have any concerns or need a second opinion.  All the builders we recommend we know very well and are very competent to do what you have employed them to do.
Stage 10 =  During the project and when the project is finished.
You should know how long the project is expected to run and at what stages payment is needed for your builder.
The Builder must make contact with the Building Inspector at least 48 hours before the builder starts work.  At this stage the Building Inspector will inform the builder at what stages he will have to visit the site and make his inspection.
It is worth taking lots of photographs as the Building inspector can ask for any concealed work to be opened up should the builder not get the Building Inspector out on time.
When the project is complete then it is very important that your Builder asks the Building Inspector to make his final inspection and issue the “Completion certificate”.
This Completion Certificate states that the project has been built and meets the standards of the Building Regulations.  Note: a high percentage of projects result in the builder forgetting to get this certificate for the Client.  It will be required should you ever sell your house in the future.  You have already paid for this certificate in the Building Inspector’s fee.
Stage 11 = The after project party !!!
We would be very interested in seeing how your project turned out, take some photos which we can show off on our website and social media.
A high percentage of our work is from repeat clients and from them recommending us to their family and friends.
If you have any questions then please contact us at

We have “the man with the plan” !!