House Extensions Ireland – Budget

In Britain they spend about €50 billion on home improvements every year, in projects that range from small maintenance, repair work to more elaborate conversions and home extensions. Against the cost of moving (stamp duty, agents’ fees, legal, moving costs, etc) it can make the most financial sense in a market where house prices are still in flux or falling. This is particularly true if the work done will enhance the value of the property in the case of a future sale.

For most of us, our home is the biggest investment we will ever make and major work on the house will also cost a substantial amount. For these reasons it is important to make sure whatever you are doing will add to the quality of your life now and add to the value of the house should you ever decide to sell. A house extension that opens up the living space providing an open plan kitchen/dining/living area brings added value when selling. Improving the amount of natural light in the house and the relationship between the internal spaces and garden add to the desirability and value of a property.

The most common constraint in any construction project is finance and you will need to decide early on how much you have or are willing to spend. You must decide a budget and only change it if you can afford to and because the design you want is costing more than originally anticipated. Financial over-runs are the single most common source of stress and conflict on projects. Sometimes the over-runs are a result of poor project management by the professionals, opportunism and a cynical culture within the construction industry and sometimes they are because the client doesn’t stay within their own financial boundaries.

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

Value for money is essential. This shouldn’t mean cutting back on important items or using cheap materials. As you will live with your decisions for a long time, it is worth making good ones and cutting back on important items is a false economy. Value for money involves getting a quality product and service at a competitive price. You really want to avoid the saying, “you buy cheap, you buy twice”, as you don’t really get a second chance on a building project. Bad workmanship, failure to work to specifications, poorly dug foundations, badly insulated walls, cheap, ill-fitted windows and bad junction details cost an awful lot more to remedy than to do it right the first time.

To protect your investment (house and new house extension) you must ensure:

  • A Certificate of Compliance with Building Regulations is issued.
  • A Certificate of Exemption from planning permission or planning consent is obtained.
  • The house extension enhances the value of the house.
  • The existing rooms in the house are not compromised by the new extension.
  • The layout of the new and existing spaces is properly integrated.
  • Orientation, natural light and external spaces are optimised in the design.