House Extensions Ireland – Advice

Advice before you dive in

If you are reading this your home is no longer meeting your needs and you are embarking on what can be an exciting but daunting journey. We hope this website will reduce the “daunting” feelings and increase the excitement by providing you with some ideas and advice on how to proceed with your house extension project. It is very helpful to clarify the limitations of your home and what you require from a new home extension.

We elaborate on this below. You will also need to determine what your budget is and how you can get the best return on what you spend. We have a separate section on budget, which you might find helpful. Further down in this section we address regulatory issues such as planning permission, building regulations and certification. It is boring, uninspiring stuff (that’s why we put it at the bottom!) but necessary.

HousX Dream

Many house extension projects are conceived at the sink after Christmas dinner. Having all the family over for an idyllic Christmas dinner, the full house exposes the limitations of your home and the hours of bashing pans at the kitchen sink are filled with ideas of how you could make more room in your home. The early stage of a house extension project should be dreaming about what is possible. It is not a time to get bogged down in what can’t be done (don’t worry, that will come later!).

Note what you like, what you want, how you’d like it to work, what it should look like or if you don’t have a clue about some of it, don’t fret. Cut out clippings from magazines, take photos with your phone or camera, write down what you must have and what you would like. We have done up a few sheets with questions, etc to help you along in this process. Download the home extension Briefing Document and have a go. If this feels too much like homework, make them into a paper aeroplane or bin them (re-cycling, of course!). This stage should be about dreaming.

Home extension dreams becoming reality

Every home project has limits. Sometimes, it’s the size of the site or access to the site. It may be height restrictions or the presence of existing structures or neighbouring home extensions. The most common constraint is finance. You need to decide how much you have or are willing to spend. If you don’t settle the vexing question of money, then the joy of dreaming will quickly turn into a nightmare.

We advise that once you have established your budget, decide that 90-95% of that amount is how much you have to spend. The 5-10% is sometimes called a contingency, but whatever you call it, the 5-10% not allocated at the start can be used later to upgrade on finishes or pay for unforeseen issues (unfortunately these do occur).

The shape of things to come

Now that you have established what you want, how much you are going to spend and who you are getting to do the work, the shape of your new dream home can begin to emerge. Hopefully, as the design develops you will be surprised and delighted by some of the ideas that emerge.

As well as your brief being fulfilled, design ideas and solutions you hadn’t thought of may evolve. Depending on the size and location you may require planning permission for your home extension.

Getting it done

Once the design is agreed and drawings are completed, the contract for construction work can be signed. At HousX, we issue a Contract with drawings for review by the client. The client advises us of any amendments and we then schedule all aspects of the work from final finishes, materials ordering, fabrication schedule, site works, etc. We then issue a Schedule of Works with a start and completion date to which we adhere rigidly.

A Schedule of Works can typically range from 6 weeks to 16 weeks depending on the size, complexity of the house extension and range of work in the existing house. A house is ready for full use on Practical Completion. At this stage, the client and a representative from House Extensions Ireland go through the project and agree a list of snag items to be completed in the following 2 weeks. All that’s left now is for you and your family to enjoy your new dream home, maybe even throw a party.

Planning a Project – the more homework you do the better the result for your own requirements, in other business sectors they say “the better the brief, the better the result”. You are responsible for the brief. Now, don’t be put off by that, all it simply means is that you decide what you want. The more detail and specifics you give when describing what you want, the better the brief and the better the result.

  • Use The Questionnaire: House Extension Project Brief Document
  • Compile clippings
  • Know your budget (include a contingency, e.g. if you have €50k to spend, budget on spending €45k. Contingency amounts of 7.5% – 10%.