Lexden Builders

Building & Home Improvements in Colchester & surrounding areas

Tel: 01206 577591 / enquiries@lexdenbuilders.co.uk

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Conception, Design to Completion - Lexden Builders, Colchester, Essex.

All In-house Service from Conception, Design to Completion.

Lexden Builders offer a complete design and build service for all aspects of building & home improvements. From the initial plans, to full project management we are proud of the quality of work and the efficiency of the service provided by our skilled staff and subcontractors.

Full project management allows you peace of mind throughout your project, completing your build to the highest standard, on time & on budget.

* information provided is subject to disclaimer, please see below for further information.

Planning and Building Regulations

Planning consent may or may not be required for your proposed extension. Under the Permitted Developments Rights system a large number of home extensions can be built without the requirement of planning permission.

Building Control

Regardless of whether your new extension does or does not require planning permission, it will need Building Regulations Approval. Building regulations are rules approved by Parliament laid down to ensure the minimum design and construction standards are achieved. These cover all manner of subjects such as fire and other forms of safety, insulation, the drainage system, and access.

Building control officers do not supervise work on your behalf. Their role is to ensure the minimum standards of the building regulations have been adhered to. Most self-builders and extenders send what is called a Full Plan Submission to their local authority. In this case you pay a fee and the building inspector visits the site at the various stages of the build and inspects the work as it proceeds.

The alternative is to submit a Building Notice. This is a statement in which you inform the council that you will be complying with the regulations in building your extension and gives the building control department 48 hours notice of your intention to start the work. As with the Full Plan Submission method, surveyors will come and inspect the work at various stages and will advise you of any problems. However, there is an element of risk with this method because you do not have the benefit of an approved plan to work to and the building control surveyor may only know after you have contravened a regulation requirement. It could therefore prove to be an inadvisable and expensive way to build if problems are discovered that have to be rectified.

Planning Permission

For most people extending a property, a successful application for planning permission will be necessary before any work can be undertaken. Planning seeks to control the way that neighbourhoods, towns and cities are developed, focusing on the way that land is used, the appearance of buildings, landscaping considerations, road access and the impact that a development will have on the environment. You will definitely need planning permission if:

  • The proposed extension is higher that the highest part of your original roof.
  • Any part of the proposed extensions is over four metres high and within two metres of your property boundaries.
  • The ground area covered by the proposed extension covers more than half of the total property area (excluding ground covered by the original building).
  • The total volume of original property is increased by more than 115 cubic metres (volume is calculated using the external dimensions of the structure: length x breadth x height).
  • The total volume of original property is increased by more than 10% (or 50 cubic metres, whichever is greatest) for terraced house, or any property in a conservation area, a national park or Broads.

The Planning Process

Once the council has received your plans, it will place them on the Planning Register for public viewing and notify neighbours. A committee appointed by the local council will then make a decision or appoint a senior planning officer to make one for them. The process can take up to eight weeks, and if permission is granted, planned works must be completed within five years.

If permission is denied, plans can be amended to take account of any problems raised by the council, then resubmitted within 12 months without any further charge. Appeals can be lodged within three months of the council's decision. Those who fail to apply for planning permission before building an extension may face heavy fines and be required by law to demolish any new building work.

More information regarding planning permission can be obtained via local authorities, or by visiting the Government's planning portal website. Many architects offer to take care of the planning application process and any appeals/amendments for an additional fee. Alternatively, homeowners can see the services of a specialist planning consultation.

Building Regulations approval is a separate process from obtaining planning permission for your extensions, and it is extremely important to ensure that your extension is approved in both regards. To achieve compliance with Building Regulations, you or your architect must submit full and detailed plans of the proposed extension, together with the appropriate application form and fee, to your Local Planning Authority.

Building control surveyors will examine the plans to guarantee that they accord with Building Regulations, and will approve the project. Your builders are required to notify the council when building work commences and at various stages throughout the project, and inspections can be made to ensure that work, such a laying foundations, damp proofing and install drains is carried out to standard. A final inspection will be made upon completion of the extensions, and a certificate of completion will be issued if everything is up to scratch.

Information about how Building Regulations might apply to different types of extensions can be found through the Government's Planning Portal, or via your Local Planning Authority.

Budgeting for an extension

The extension budget is one area where most people fall down, often underestimating the time and money that is required to complete the project. Adequately budgeting for an extension is one of the most important things to consider when planning a project to improve your home. Here are a few tips to remember.

  • You should be realistic in what you want to achieve.
  • Don't over-stretch yourself financially. Only take on a project that you feel you can comfortably manage.
  • Try to leave some money aside for emergency funds in case anything goes wrong or any changes need to be made.
  • While doing as much of the work yourself as possible could save you on labour costs, it will take much longer and the quality of the extension could suffer.
  • Remember if you are planning on selling your house that each month the project takes means an extra mortgage repayment needs to be budgeted.
  • Try to account in your budget for planning permission and Building Regulations application fees.
  • Set some money aside for the costs of decorating the new extension and any new furniture that you may need.

Things to consider - Fees

  • Architects drawing fees
  • Building control fees
    (For more information you may wish to visit http://colchester.gov.uk/residents)
  • Planning Application Fees
  • Steel structural engineer fees varies considering the amount of steel work required.
Conception, Design to Completion - Lexden Builders, Colchester, Essex.

Building an Extension - What to consider Design & Planning

It is important to keep in mind the 'look and feel' of your existing property when designing an extension. Try to match the most prominent features, such as the roof, with those of the existing building and use similar materials where possible to ensure a sense of continuity. It is also a good idea to make sure that any new doors and windows line up with existing fixtures.

Think about the neighbours

During the planning application process, neighbours will be able to air any misgivings regarding your proposed extension, so it is a good idea to ensure that the extension will blend in with the other properties on the street. Getting neighbours involved during the initial stages of design can save a lot of time and money later down the line if they do have any objections or concerns. Even if you are legally entitled to make changes that they oppose, it could be better to compromise than make potentially life-long enemies

Hiring an architect

People can visit an architect for advice on what is and is not feasible with the space at their disposal, once they have an idea of what they want their new extension to entail. Qualified architects will also be able to provide extension advice, on issues concerning planning permission and any local factors that may influence the modifications that can be made to a property, as well as drawing up detailed specifications and plans.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do you provide Free estimates?

A: Yes. We will visit you to go through your exact requirements and expectations. We will then produce a detailed written estimate and can advise you of what steps you will need to take in relation to Building Control Regulations, Planning etc.

Q: What are 'Easy Stage Payments'?

A: Easy Stage Payments gives you peace of mind at it gives you a clear schedule of when and how much you will need to pay during the time of your projects completion.

Q: Who will oversee the work?

A: A dedicated project manager will oversee all work undertaken. They will be your direct contact for any questions you might have and our responsible for ensuring that the project is completed on time and to budget.

Q: Can I be assured of a high standard of finish?

A: We are proud of our team of highly skilled craftsmen. Both our employees & our subcontractors are carefully selected for their expertise relevant to your project.

*Disclaimer - While we have endeavored to ensure the accuracy of the information on this site, we do not guarantee or give any warranty as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or material on this site. We take no responsibility to update the information contained on this site. To the extent permissible by law, we accept no responsibility or liability for any direct, special, indirect, consequential or incidental damages or any other damages of any kind, arising from use of this site.