Whether it’s due to a changing lifestyle, a growing family, or something else, a lot of us find that we could do with more space in our homes. Sometimes it’s not enough to simply extend a singular room and you could do with a whole extra floor. Though some may consider searching for another house, others find that they just can’t part with the home they’re living in.
Due to the scale of this operation, you’ll likely need to bring in a professional team to ensure a proper finish and to guarantee that all safety measures are fulfilled. People who work with scaffolding undergo PASMA training which teaches them to work at a height safely. If you haven’t completed any training such as this, it’s best to avoid working at a height as you could incur injury, and the results of your project could suffer.
Assessing the Foundations
When completing such a project, you will first have to assess the floor plans to determine whether your structure is suitable for an upwards extension. Your floor plans will usually detail the depth and type of the foundations, the drainage system, and which internal walls have foundations. Your design team will use this information to propose an appropriate design for your upwards extension.
However, if you don’t have ready access to your floor plans, you might locate your local building records. If this presents no such luck, your next port of call is to contact a structural engineer to advise you about the ground conditions. This might involve the digging of some trial holes to measure the depth and type of the foundations.
Such a process may involve digging holes to expose the foundations of the building, taking a soil sample, bagging up the soil sample, sending it for testing, and sharing the results with a structural engineer.
On the other hand, you might employ a geotechnical consultant to coordinate with your structural engineer to get the job done. Regardless of how you attain this information, this will pave the way for the rest of the project.
Choosing a Frame
When it comes to an upwards extension, your best bet is to opt for a timber frame as it requires less blockwork. This will reduce the need for the strengthening of your existing foundations since it isn’t particularly heavy. The process of strengthening and underpinning foundations is both expensive and time-consuming, so should be avoided where possible. Typically, a timber-framed project will cost around £1,800/m2.
If you opt for a timber frame, you can get going with the design process as soon as the planning status has been approved. A prefabricated timber frame will usually be more efficient than a stick-built solution. Upon reaching the build stage, you should start as soon as possible and commit to a single contractor that can invest all of their focus into your project.
Within the planning process, you’ll also need to carry out a bat survey to ensure you’re not disturbing anything that may be nesting in your roof.
You should always name your timer frame supplier in the builders’ contract as this will allow you to monitor and control costs. Similarly, this means that your builder holds some responsibility when it comes to your project’s paperwork.
Since scaffolding will be a necessity, you should ensure that your scaffolding company is kept in the loop at all times.
Additionally, you may want to consider whether any materials can be sold from your original structure for extra finances.
Finally, be sure to look into the “easi-joist” system as these are quicker and easier than traditional joists.