Ins and Outs of Extending a Home

A home extension or addition is a useful way to add floor space and value to your home.


If you are planning a home extension and you're not sure where to start, we have compiled a practical 12 point guide, because we know that a home extension can be a useful way to add floor space, living areas and value to a property. And with the proper planning, helpful advice and discipline you will be assured that your home renovation goes off without a hitch.

Here are some 'ins' and 'outs' to bear in mind:

Design Stage

The first step in any project is the design stage. This is where you design a custom plan that can be done by appointing the help of a professional draughts person, building designer or architect. This will be the perfect opportunity for you to improve the floor plan of your home, as well as to add value to the property. For this reason, choosing the right person for the job is essential. For smaller home alterations, a draughts person would be better suited and more cost-effective.



Approval of Plans

It is a legal requirement that homeowners ensure that any new building or renovation plan for additions or extensions of a property have been approved by the relevant local authorities. This is regardless of whether you want to build a new perimeter wall; have a swimming pool installed or build a loft room. Before undertaking any work, liaise with the planning department of your local municipality as you may require planning permission before proceeding.

What is the Purpose of the Build?

Too many property owners plunge ahead with their project without giving any consideration into what it is they want to achieve.
However, it is important to determine the purpose of your home extension. don't just base it on random thoughts and ideas you have collected over the years, rather it should reflect any personal and unique aspects.

Look at the Costs

Whatever the purpose of your project, whether you are looking to add more living space, an extra bathroom, or a home office, knowing precisely what your home extension will be used for will also help to determine what kind of alteration you may need to make to your home and this will give you an indication of how much of space you will need and the estimated costs involved.

One of the central elements of a home extension is the demolition work required and related costs. The project may require
plumbing and electrical contractors depending on the rooms affected, or you may also need to enlist the help of a tiling expert. To be able to account for these additional expenses, it is essential that these costs are accounted for in your initial budget.

Space to Build

Deciding on where to place the addition or extension is a big decision. If you have a small garden that doesn't offer enough space at ground level, you may need to consider adding an additional level to your home, and this is a great way to retain garden space. However, this type of project can work out more expensive since it involves more work.



Are Neighbours affected?

It is important to take into account the effect your home extension will have on your neighbours, especially if you are making major alterations to your property. If you share a wall with your neighbours, you will need to consider if your home alterations may potentially damage their property. There is also the social aspect to consider as your plans may affect their quality of life during the construction period, so it’s wise to keep your neighbours fully informed of your intentions right from the start.

While you should keep your neighbours informed of your plans to extend, there is no legal requirement from the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act (NBA) requiring home owners to submit or inform their neighbours of their building plan application. However, dependent on the area you live in and its policies, a neighbour can be at liberty to object against your home extension and a neighbour can submit an objection, but this will not necessarily prevent the building plans from being approved.

Finding the right Builder

This has to be one of the most important factors to consider for any project and it is crucial to appoint a builder who is registered with a professional and reputable organization. In South Africa, there are two primary building bodies, the Master Builders Association South Africa (MBSA) and National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC).

Personal recommendations are also important when on the lookout for a builder and you should select a builder that is experienced in doing similar work and within similar budgets. Asking friends and colleagues for their recommendations will help you to draw up a shortlist of builders to contact for quotations, and based on this, you will be able to choose a builder that is best suited for the project.

Adapted from article by Dawood Kader & Associates



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