If you live in a semi-detached home, you might be wondering what your options are when it comes to extension and home improvements. Semi-detached homes usually have space on one side with a neighbour attached on the other side. This means more things to consider when extending.
Do you really need to extend?
First, ensure you use your current space as much as you can. Many people who consider extending don’t realise that they have unused space in their home already. Would making your ground floor open plan help boost your available space? Decide what you need your extension for; is it a guest bedroom or an extra dining room perfect for entertaining? The use of your new space will help you plan the design.
Consideration needs to be given to the neighbours your home is attached to. If you are on friendly terms with them, it’s only polite to let the know what you’re planning. Bear in mind any building work could disrupt and disturb them as well as you. During the build you may need access to their garden to bring materials in so best to get their consent early on. Let them air any concerns they have so you can put their mind at rest. This may prevent them slowing down your plans later on.
Know about the right to light
The ‘right to light’ is an easement in planning law. It allows anyone who has received natural light for 20 years or more through a window or similar to block any development that may now prevent this. If your neighbour has a window that could be be blocked by your extension, they could override your planning permission. This normally only applies to light that contributes to the reasonable use of the building. Blocking a view or small amount of light are planning considerations. In London, where homes are close together and space is at a premium this issue can be more common. Talk to a property lawyer and your designer to find out more.
The Party Wall Act
This was brought about to prevent disputes between neighbours who share a wall. If your planned extension requires building or digging of foundations within 6m of a boundary then you will need to comply with the Party Wall Act. A surveyor is normally required to set out when work can take place and to survey the condition of your neighbour’s property before and after to protect you from false claims.
Keep it subtle
If you have a traditional looking home, you may be asked to try and maintain the look of your home as much as possible. This could be by using the same materials or a similar colour. You can still incorporate modern elements like bifolding doors or how about a skylight? Another issue you might not have thought of is that rooms that were on the outside of your home now become central which can restrict their natural light. This can be solved by adding internal windows or by adopting an open plan design throughout your home.
Bear in mind that if you have your heart set on a fully glazed extension or roof, you may be overlooked. Extensions can sometimes be rejected if they will significantly affect the living conditions of your neighbours or invade their privacy. The location of any bedrooms or living rooms in your neighbours home can affect what you can do as can the position of your home in relation to the sun.
Will you need planning permission?
In many cases, a single-storey house extension will be considered permitted development not needing planning permission if certain conditions are met. These include:
- You must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than 3 m
- No more than 50% of the surrounding land/garden is taken up. This could significantly decrease your enjoyment of your garden as well as the value of your home
- The highest part must not be higher than the original roof
- If you live in a period property or conservation area, you will have other restrictions
The perfect home improvement company for your home
If you’d like to discuss your dream home extension or get any advice on planning laws, get in touch with us today. We can create the perfect space for your family and take care of the legal side so you don’t have to worry about a thing. If a proper extension is too much, why not consider a conservatory or orangery? These give you a useable space all year round with minimal building work needed.