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Can You Extend the Front of Your House? Front House Extension Rules

23/05/2024

Architectural Design

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House Extensions

Can You Extend the Front of Your House? Front House Extension Rules

Front house extensions are a popular enhancement that many homeowners undertake for various reasons, such as increasing living space, improving a property’s curb appeal, or simply increasing property value. Before embarking on a front house extension however, it’s crucial to understand the rules and regulations involved. This guide will explore the ins and outs of enhancing your home outwardly towards the front boundary. 

What is a front house extension?

By definition, a front house extension is a home improvement project that expands the existing exterior envelope of a property into the front garden area. Extensions can range from a modest porch addition to a full two-story extension, depending on the physical and planning constraints of the plot, and your individual requirements.

Popular outcomes for front house extensions include expanded kitchen or dining spaces, lobby areas, additional living space, or a garage or utility room. While these renovations can significantly enhance the functionality and appearance of a property, it’s essential to proceed in the right manner, whilst bearing local regulations and requirements in mind.

What are the benefits of a front house extension?

There are several advantages to extending the front section of your house, including the creation of additional living spaces which can be used for many different functions according to your specific requirements. This may include expanding an existing lounge space, the creation of a new office, or even a play area for children. An additional bedroom or extending sleeping space is also possible for double-story front house extensions.

A creatively designed and well-built extension can also help elevate the property’s aesthetic appeal by changing the house’s entire look so that it is more striking and appealing, which could also boost the home’s overall market value.

By working with an architect, you’ll have the opportunity to design a living space which brings in more natural light for a pleasant living environment, as well as potentially enhancing the home’s energy efficiency if planned and constructed properly.

Factors to Consider Before Extending the Front of your Property

Before embarking on a front-house extension project, it’s essential to consider the factors that can make or break a project. The purpose of the extension should be reflected in the design, with each of the various end-functions often requiring distinctive requirements.

Assessing the structural feasibility of the intended project is crucial, which is where partnering with an architect becomes crucial so that they can guide you through the process step-by-step to ensure the structural integrity of your home is maintained throughout the lifecycle of the project and beyond.

Budges are often an influential factor in this respect, with the overall cost of the project influenced by the design complexity, and materials used, among other things. An architect will work with you to establish efficient planning and use of a budget that includes contingencies for any unforeseen expenses.

Lastly, you should understand and adhere to local planning permissions, building codes, and regulations for front extensions. Failing to comply with the rules could lead to penalties or forced alteration of the completed extension. Depending on the size and scale of your project, you may also need to consider factors such as provision for parking, neighbour’s viewpoints, and environmental impact.

Regulations and Permissions

Overview of Planning Permission and Building Regulations

Planning permission and building regulations are legal requirements set out by local and national government bodies to control the developments and changes made to properties. Planning permission scrutinises the visual impact, the effect on neighbours, and the suitability of the development on the site. On the other hand, building regulation approval ensures the building work is carried out to a certain standard and is safe for occupants and the general public.

Importance of Obtaining Necessary Permissions

Failure to obtain the necessary permissions for a house extension could lead to significant complications. Not only could you be ordered to undo the changes made to your property, but you may also face fines. Also, not obtaining the necessary permissions could affect future property sales or insurance claims relating to the work carried out.

Local Authority and Their Role in the Process

Your local authority plays a significant role in the house extension process. Their planning department approves the designs for an extension, ensuring it complies with the local development plan. Furthermore, they check that the proposal goes in line with national standards of construction, health, and safety, under the Building Regulations.

Consultation Schemes and Their Significance

Some local authorities run consultation schemes where neighbours can comment on the proposals. This is a significant step since it allows the local community to have a say in how their area is developed and can decrease the likelihood of disagreements arising later.

Understanding the Development Rules and Extension Rules

The development rules, also often referred to as Permitted Development Rights, are a national grant of planning permission which allows certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application. However, these rights are subject to conditions and may not apply to all properties. House extension rules are specific to the projects that expand the footprint of a property, and these rules regulate the size, appearance and impact of the extension.

Permission Requirements for Extending the Front

The exact permissions required for extending the front of a house vary by location and the specifics of the proposed project. A front extension is generally more likely to require planning permission, as it may impact the street scene or the amenity of neighbours. It’s always beneficial to check with the local authority ensuring you are getting the right permissions before any work has begun.

the school house pond

Planning and Preparation

Initial Planning Considerations

Initial planning involves defining the purpose and anticipated outcome of the proposed extension. It’s useful to consider your and the property’s future needs at this stage so that flexibility can be allowed within the designs to ensure some degree of future-proofing. Some of the key factors to be considered are layout, access, and the use of natural light to enhance the new living space.

Assessing the Feasibility of a Front House Extension

Your architect will work with you to establish the feasibility of your project, which they will determine based on your available budget, the property’s structure, and the local regulatory requirements.

Understanding the Impact on the Original House

The impact of a front extension on the original building should be carefully evaluated so that the balance of the property’s layout, the flow of light, and the compromises that may need to be considered are accounted for in relation to lost space at the front of the dwelling. Essentially, it’s about assessing the benefit that the extension will provide against the outside space required to complete the project.

Evaluating the Available Space and House Meter

It’s important to ensure that you work with an architect to assess the available space for the extension by taking accurate measurements and contemplating the end use of the room. Your architect should also work with you to take into account if the extension will impinge on any public rights of way or drain access.

Ensuring the Extension Aligns with the Principal Elevation

The design of the extension should be in keeping with the current aesthetics of your house. Ensuring that the extension aligns with the principle elevation of the building not only enhances its aesthetic appeal but also increases the likelihood of gaining planning approval.

Considering Window Elevation and Its Implications

Window placement and elevation should be thoughtfully considered in relation to privacy, maximising natural light, and complying with rights to light regulations.

Addressing Boundary Property and Meter Boundary

Lastly, consideration should be given to the proximity of your extension in relation to the property boundary. Local building regulations should be cross-referenced to ascertain permissible distances and if any related issues, such as party wall agreements, might affect your plans. These permissions are crucial as they prevent future land disputes with neighbours.

Construction and Implementation

Work Required for a Successful Extension

When planning for an extension, it’s crucial to ensure that the new space integrates seamlessly with the existing property so that construction styles match, as well as ensuring the integrity of essential elements such as heating, plumbing and electrical systems.

Importance of Adhering to Building Regulations

Your architect should work with you to ensure that the project adheres to building regulations so that the property is legal, safe, energy-efficient and up to the required construction standards. Non-compliance with building regulations could lead to penalties or wholesale changes to the original works.

Ensuring the Extension is Structurally Sound

Engaging a structural engineer as well as an architect to consult on the project is advisable to ensure that the new extension is structurally sound, and will not impact the integrity of the existing house. They can also advise on foundation depth and type, and the need for reinforcements.

Incorporating New Space into the Existing House

The architectural design of the extension should allow for a seamless flow between the new and existing structure, in terms of functionality, layout, and design. This involves careful selection of materials, light planning, and efficient use of the new space, which your architect will be best placed to advise you on.

Considerations for Single-Storey Extensions

Single-storey extensions require careful planning to avoid the obstruction of light between the new and existing structures of the property and to maximise the new space’s usability. Both elements of the building should blend with the style of the existing house to preserve its character and comply with planning guidelines regarding the influence on the street scene and its effect on neighbours.

base office

Special Cases and Considerations

Extending the Front in Conservation Areas

Conservation Area Consent may be required when the property to be extended is located within a conservation area. These areas are of special architectural or historic interest, and any development to the property requiring Conservation Area Consent will need to preserve or enhance their character or appearance. It’s important that your architect takes this into consideration during the design phase so that concepts and plans are sympathetic to the existing architectural style and scale of the property.

Additional Permissions Required in Specific Cases

Under certain conditions, such as when the property is a listed building or it’s located close to the property boundary with a road, additional permissions may be required to secure planning permission for the extension. 

Dealing with Substantial Distance Extensions

Extending a substantial distance from the original front wall of a house is less likely to be permitted due to the potential for it to impact the amenities of the surrounding area.

Conclusion

Recap of the Key Points Discussed

  • Extending the front of a house refers to the expansion of internal living space by pushing the structure towards the front yard or garden.
  • There are numerous benefits to extending the front of your property, such as extended living space, increased property value, enhanced curb appeal, and the potential for greater energy efficiency.
  • Key factors to consider in front extensions include the desired outcome of the extension, available space at the front of the property, available budget, local building regulations and planning permissions, among others.
  • It’s important that the role of local authorities and the significance of consultation schemes, as well as the understanding of development and extension rules are taken into consideration throughout the design and planning phase of the project.
  • During the planning and preparation phase, considerations should also be taken into account regarding the feasibility of the extension and the impact that it may have on the original house, as well as elements such as window elevations and implications.
  • The construction and implementation phase involves steps such as ground preparation, laying the foundations, constructing the main structural elements, installing utilities, finishing the interior and exterior, and installing fittings and fixtures.
  • Certain special cases and considerations are required when extending a house in conservation areas or when the extension is a substantial distance from the original front wall.

With over twenty years of experience and a diverse portfolio consisting of the architectural design, planning and construction of extensions, we’re well placed to help you with your front house extension project. Get in touch with one of our experts today to discuss your requirements, and see how we can help you.

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