September 20 2019 0Comment

Saving Money on Home Extensions

A home extension can be an expensive project if it’s not planned carefully or thought about realistically. An extension doesn’t need to be complex, labour-intensive or result in an excessive number of avoidable fees. Planning an extension requires careful consideration of the design, materials, and trades needed, the budget, permits and your fellow neighbours. There are several ways to save money on home extensions that could save you thousands in the long run.


A complex home extensions design can substantially increase costs to your building project. It’s best to keep the design and layout of the extension simple and basic. Rather than building an extension with curves and specific cut-outs, designing an extension with a basic, rectangular or square layout can save time and pounds. Designing your extension around the original property using ready-made materials and products are a sure way of avoiding the unnecessary costs that come with needing specific products made-to-order. Standard-sized doors, windows and other necessary materials available within your town or city and are easy to use can reduce hassle, time and money. Using a cast concrete for the sub-floor is advised, with concrete blockwork for the walls, brick or timber cladding and a softwood timber roof structure can keep the costs of the home extensions down and the process simple. Avoid planning an extension around trees, drains, sewers or other buried services, as these will result in increased costs to your overall plan. Investigate the area you are planning to extend on before you make your choice.


If you are equipped with the skills and expertise to undertake some or all the work yourself or with assistance from friends and family, your costs can be reduced drastically. Considering labour costs represents almost two-thirds of the budget for an extension, undertaking a do-it-yourself project can be cost-effective, challenging and fun all at the same time. It is recommended that the non-experienced explore the possibility of undertaking easier tasks such as landscaping and decorating the extension. If you are qualified or experienced, completing kitchen and bathroom fittings, tiling and fixing architraves, plastering and painting, coving and skirting boards yourself, can reduce your overall expenditure. It might take more time to complete the project to a fair standard, but it will certainly save on excess labour costs. Ensure you are realistic with your plans and expertise. If you are in doubt regarding specific extension processes and home extension DIYs, it’s best to hire the skills of a qualified tradesman to do these tasks, particularly if the area of home extensions will be on show or is complex and could damage the foundations of the extension in the long-term. Read widely and read well on all tasks you might attempt and seek assistance from professionals if needed. It might be cheaper in the short-term, but can be an expensive task in the long run if not done correctly.

You can easily save money on VAT and fees by utilising the expertise of self-employed tradesmen who each turnover less than the threshold for VAT registration. This means you won’t be charged the tax and therefore save on labour costs. Securing second-hand materials and products from newspaper adverts, social media pages, garage sales and from private entities on the internet will also be VAT-free. You can save money on an extension simply by reusing, recycling and repairing existing materials. Utilise what you have already or seek used materials on the internet or from garage sales. Recycling and reusing materials is environmentally friendly and can save costs on skip hire and disposal. The VAT on many extensions can go up to 20 percent for the labour, materials and products purchased. Another way to keep fees down is to adopt the expertise of professionals who will produce your design and plan for a fixed, all-in price. This can usually be done with the architects, architectural technicians, chartered surveyors and structural engineers.


Ensure you have a handle of the situation and project manage the entire extension to the best of your ability, on your own. Usually builders or foremen will add 15 to 25 percent onto the total cost of labour and materials to cover for their time of managing and coordinating the entire project. While the task requires excellent communication, management and organisation skills, and is also time-consuming, it saves a great deal of money on the overall cost of the project. Project managing your home extensions will mean you need to be confident at liaising with your designer or architect and your local authority’s building control department. You will need to find and hire your tradesmen for each task and schedule them in accordance to the extension process and timeline. You will need to direct the work, be honest and straight-forward and supply all the relevant materials and products, as well as scaffolding and skips for your construction workers.


Take care to ensure communication is kept civil and open between all tradesmen and your neighbours. Building on or near the boundary of a neighbour requires compliance with the Party Wall Act (England & Wales) 1996. It is advised that you keep your neighbours informed of your plans and get their written approval about the extension eight weeks in advance of the start date. If there is no objection, you can avoid using a surveyor to create a party wall settlement, which can cost around £700 per neighbour, or more if each party uses their own surveyor.

Always negotiate with your tradesmen and get several quotes to ensure you are getting the best price. There may also be discounts for those who pay in cash, for those who buy in bulk and those who buy end-of-season stock. Be sure to research your tradesmen, ask for and check their references. It is strongly advised that you don’t pay for any building work in advance and only pay for the finished result – for what has been done and work which is acceptable to your standard. The key to saving money on an extension is research, research, research. Without doing so, you could spend a lot more than you need to.


The team at Legacy Structural Design can take care of your extension designs from start to finish. Experts in producing high-quality, environmentally-friendly designs for a wide range of home extensions, Legacy Structural Design can create an innovative floorplan and strategy for getting your extension complete efficiently and cost-effectively. You can get in touch with the team today with your home extensions ideas, plans, queries or questions and they can get back to you with a quote and any other additional information required.


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