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  • Writer's pictureGlenn Thompson

What Can You Build for Your Budget?

Updated: Aug 29, 2023


Construction Costs NI | GT Building Design | Chartered Practice
Two Storey Extension in Belfast by GT Building Design

So what can you build for your budget?


Budgets can make or break any project, whether you’ve got £20,000 or £200,000 to spend. Before you get carried away on that dream extension you’ve always wanted, it’s vital to work out what you can afford to spend without busting your bank account. Whether you’re going to expand an existing room, add a new one or even an extra floor, everything comes down to the size of your budget and that’s before you even consider optional extras like designer kitchens or bespoke furniture.


Obtaining a Builders Estimate.


Many people don’t know what it costs to build an extension or undertake an attic / loft conversion. It would be sensible to ask me to prepare existing and proposed drawings, what you would like to achieve, your ideal extension to suit your needs. This typically would take a couple of days of my time and from this a local builder will then be able to provide an estimate based on these drawings.


This initial Feasibility Study will allow you to decide if you need to make cost savings or proceed to the next stage, lodging a Planning Application and following permission a Building Control Application.


To see what others have said about my services check out my reviews page.


What’s the difference between a builders estimate and a quote?


An estimate is basically a builders best guess (based on their experience) what your project will cost based on the initial drawings, limited information. It’s not legally binding and the final costs may be higher. Whereas a quotation is a definite price.


With my help you will be able to get a more detailed quote specific to your project.


When Planning Planning Permission and Building Control Approvals have been obtained and the detailed drawings / specification is complete consider getting quotes from different builders to compare. I would advise to be very wary of a quote that is a lot cheaper than the others. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Currently, anyone can call themselves a builder without having any qualifications or experience. That’s why it is so important to carefully chose your builder. I can provide a list of names for your consideration.


Check out my advice page for information on Planning and Building Control Applications.


Attic / Loft Conversions


These are typically cheaper than extensions. As a house already has the basic structure, builders don’t have to dig foundations or add a new roof. Basic rooflight loft conversions are the cheapest to build. They can work well if you already have a lot of usable roof space as you essentially add windows to the roof to introduce light, a staircase and flooring. Upgrade to a dormer or hip-to-gable loft conversion and the prices rise as some of the roof sloping parts are replaced with a gable window and wall.


Follow this link to see examples of my current and previous attic conversions.


Single Storey vs Two-Storey Extensions


Single-storey extensions are a very popular way to create a larger, more open plan accommodation and can set you back anywhere from £30,000 to £70,000 plus. If you’re on a limited budget my advice would be to keep to a basic build.


Two-storey extensions will double the square footage. This represents excellent value for money, though there will be more fitting out costs, so overall costs will be higher.


Also remember the interior fit-out of any extension as these extras can increase the final costs, for example a new bathroom, kitchen, built-in cupboards, flooring and decorating etc.


The price tag for an extension can vary hugely from £15,000 for a garage conversion to £100,000 plus for a two-storey extension.


Before going ahead, perhaps research the ceiling price for properties in your area – that is the maximum value. Look at what the extension will give you in terms of extra living space and compare to the value of other properties who have already had similar work done to see how much value they have added.


Need Professional Advice?


If you are looking for help / advice with a building project you are considering, contact me. I would be more than happy to discuss with you, no obligation.


Thanks for reading this blog. Glenn

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