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BahamaMama

Extend or start again?

As the title says...

We are in the very fortunate position of receiving an inheritance from my late father. This, for us is a life changing amount of money and we can expect to be mortgage free.

We currently have a 1930's 3 bedroom house in a perfect location for us. I love my house but we could do with more space and an additional loo downstairs. We have a strong suspicion we may have subsidence but we would have to take our heads out of the sand to be sure about that. The house is drafty and thermally inefficient.

What would you do - knock down and start again to your own spec or extend and 'add on'.

Has anybody done 'knock down and start again'?

Both options are very exciting....

Edit to add - we have no idea about planning permission etc, this is just dipping the first toe into the idea water
henchard

Personally I'd go for knock down and start again.

Remember that new build is zero rated for VAT. Refurbishment/extensions aren't.
mochyn

Tahir did 'start again and knock down'.
dpack

unless the plot you are on is vital to your needs would sell up and obtain a perfect home with the proceeds and the inheritance (near where you are /want to be) provide maximum resources and the greatest choice?

to flatten a saleable asset and build a new home on the plot only makes sense if the plot is the important factor .

if it is a land issue maybe separate the house from the land and build a new home on your part if you can get pp for that .
vegplot

We're in the process of a new build using highly efficient thermal insulation. Unless I had a love for the house or it had historic value I would be tempted to start again.
Ty Gwyn

If you have suspicions of subsidence,i`d address that matter first,

Is it a matter of underpinning the foundations,or is it a matter of underground subsidence?
BahamaMama

If you have suspicions of subsidence,i`d address that matter first,

Is it a matter of underpinning the foundations,or is it a matter of underground subsidence?


Don't know, due to head in sand...

@dpack - what you say makes sense but we have been where we are too long and property prices have left us behind. We could not afford to buy our home now.
Ty Gwyn

Don`t think of moving here unless you`ve checked up on subsidence in the area,

http://rt.com/news/207371-giant-sinkhole-russia-uralkali
onemanband

Get expert advice on 'subsidence' first. Find out if it is a few thousand or tens of thousands to sort.

Subsidence aside, it will be far cheaper to upgrade the existing house than to knock down and build the same size.
Unless the house is falling down I would upgrade and extend.
Extending could reduce an underpinning bill. eg You could spend 10k underpinning back wall of house or you could knock the wall out and put that 10k towards an extension.
Wherever you extend, it will sort draughts and poor insulation.
dpack

buy it isnt the issue ,if you sold it and added that to the inheritance how much you would have to work with is the issue .

if you want to stay where you are .retro fit and clever extending can improve places that seem beyond hope (im usually against replace if mend will work )

the potential subsidence thing can be assessed for the price of a good survey report and seems to be a sensible place to start
tahir

Tahir did 'start again and knock down'.


Yup. It's perfectly possible to retrofit an old house to the most efficient possible, I know 2 people who's old houses are more efficient than my new one.

Either way spend as much time as possible on thinking of your layout, rather than any particular building method or materials.

Spend on the fabric of the building, not the pretty stuff.

You may be able to get away with staying in the house during an extension depending on how major the extension is. Is this a consideration for you?

Obviously a new build will take care of any potential subsidence issues, but then you could tie in underpinning with the extension so it can be dealt with.
tahir

We're in the process of a new build using highly efficient thermal insulation. Unless I had a love for the house or it had historic value I would be tempted to start again.

And it could be cheaper to newbuild rather than renovate
Hairyloon

Re: Extend or start again?

Has anybody done 'knock down and start again'?
I've helped some friends do it. I can post some pictures if you're interested.
Quote:
Edit to add - we have no idea about planning permission etc, this is just dipping the first toe into the idea water

I think it was planned that pushed them into the rebuild: they weren't allowed to extend it any further... OTOH getting permission for the rebuild was no walk in the park.
oldish chris

Open your mind to as many possibilities as possible, then get quotes.

List your requirements carefully. What sort of extra space do you want? Another living room, bedroom, workshop or just bigger rooms. For example, would a super-duper habitable shed in the garden meet any of your needs?
wellington womble

Start again, but most likely on another plot. If you have money coming in, you can live where you are until it is at least vaguely habitable. You can design it exactly as you want it. You can have all the mod cons. - insulation, draft free, utility room, fitted wardrobes, efficient boiler, downstairs loo etc etc. but you can include any olde worlde features that you like - wood burners, pantries, porches etc etc. you can even leave some of it as phase two if you want, by planning initially. Things like solar hot water, backboilers and so on are a right pain to retrofit, but can planned for in a build.

I have both extended and built. I would build again, but I wouldn't buy a house that needed significant work. If you can't afford to buy where you are, then selling would produce a lot of cash, surely? It does depend on the plot, and how much of a hurry you are in, but you should be able to build significantly above what you can afford to buy off the rack. And you get a great house at the end of it (you will have to make some compromises due to cash, design and regulations, but you will still get an amazing house.)

I can't stress how much of a pain in the backside it will be**. You will laugh hysterically, cry, beg officials to be reasonable, rage about suppliers and trades, never speak to a brickie again, and swear to learn to plaster yourself because plasterers are so hard to find, but it WILL be worth it. You may say never again, but you will still have a great* house for you.

*not necessarily perfect. They say it takes three houses to get it right. We had significant renovations first, and then a new build. It was nearly perfect. We missed putting a window in on the stairs, I fought for (and lost) a pantry we should have had (and there was room for, in the end) and there were a few doors and things in the wrong place. The utility wasn't big enough and the dining room was too big. All the plug sockets were in the wrong place. But it was pretty near perfect) I would definitely do it again.

** it's not for everyone. It's a bit like moving house on steroids. Someone in your team needs to have the time and inclination to argue with officials, submit forms, book and wrangle with trades and so on. Unless you have a project manager, which is costly. And you will still have to do some of it. You will need to juggle where you are living, and possible live in a building site, or a caravan. You also need to have vision and be really good at visualising how you want space to be laid out and used. I can't emphasise enough how much hassle it is. But it doesn't last for ever, and it is worth it. You will also be asked to make decisions that are impossible to make, like where you want plug sockets in a brick shell with a ladder. And you will have to choose, and choose and choose. You will have to choose bricks, how bricks are arranged, drainpipes, patterns of bricks over windows, roof tiles, windows, doors, wood stain. You will make so many choices that by the time it comes to fun stuff like bathroom tiles and curtains you will not care a jot what colour they are. Of course, they are easier to change than brick patterns. But you will not want work done in the house for years, so you will live with them. So choose those now, before you get fed up. Just to be on the safe side!
wellington womble

Oh, yes, planning. There will be problems with the planning department. What I think of them is not printable. This is highly unusual for me. Planners are like toddlers that need an early night. They're awkward, petulant and work at cross purposes to everyone's bests interests ALL THE TIME. Because they can. vegplot

We're in the process of a new build using highly efficient thermal insulation. Unless I had a love for the house or it had historic value I would be tempted to start again.

And it could be cheaper to newbuild rather than renovate

Indeed.

Subsidence doesn't have to be a problem or a worry. A new build can sort that from the start and if you build the right type of house that can cope with ground movement e.g. oak timber frame and strawbale it's much less of a problem.
BahamaMama

Womble - love the input, thank you, it made me laugh in an 'I know you are right' kind of way....

Thanks to all for input and insight Smile
onemanband

Oh, yes, planning. There will be problems with the planning department. What I think of them is not printable. This is highly unusual for me. Planners are like toddlers that need an early night. They're awkward, petulant and work at cross purposes to everyone's bests interests ALL THE TIME. Because they can.

I had no problem with planning.
I designed house myself in a couple of evenings on some cad freeware. Gave it to architect to re-draw and submit, and it was only 5 months from submission to full approval.
The Highways dept. gave me the most grief. I was already living on-site and wanted full planing asap, so after a small compromise I reluctantly agreed to the Highways demands. Apart from that, it wasn't at all stressful.
vegplot


The Highways dept. gave me the most grief.

Ours wanted a 123 metre splay onto the lane on a road frontage of 23 metres. That meant we would have to buy 50 metres of land either side. Bearing in mind this was an existing entrance which has already gone through a previous planning exercise before we bought the plot.

We argued that it wasn't a motorway and they were being silly. They agreed.

A few years later we needed to reapply for full planning as the proposed location of house needed to move. Highways kicked in again this time demanding a 45 metre splay. We politely showed them their previous decision.
onemanband


The Highways dept. gave me the most grief.

Ours wanted a 123 metre splay onto the lane on a road frontage of 23 metres. That meant we would have to buy 50 metres of land either side. Bearing in mind this was an existing entrance which has already gone through a previous planning exercise before we bought the plot.

We argued that it wasn't a motorway and they were being silly. They agreed.

A few years later we needed to reapply for full planning as the proposed location of house needed to move. Highways kicked in again this time demanding a 45 metre splay. We politely showed them their previous decision.

Yep that was like my issue.
Over the top vision splay requiring rebuilding stable wall 2 foot further back. They didn't request it done before work commences, so it is at the end of my to-do list. The vision splay is based on a car leaving forwards - I have been reversing my truck out for 2 years and nobody has even bibbed their horn.
Cathryn

Start again otherwise you will always be propping up previous generations mistakes, grump, grump. Wink 'Course if life and love is bound up in the current house... Hairyloon

We argued that... they were being silly. They agreed.
How many miracles is it to become a saint?
vegplot

We argued that... they were being silly. They agreed.
How many miracles is it to become a saint?

Miracles and saints? They're religious things. Let's not go there.
vegplot

Start again otherwise you will always be propping up previous generations mistakes, grump, grump. Wink 'Course if life and love is bound up in the current house...

You can always restart life and loves and you'll still have memories.
Piggyphile

Also look at house values around you, some areas have a ceiling value because of the value so building a 4 bed detached in the middle of a rough council estate can be pointless if the area will hold back the value. I don't know if you have kids but have you considered buying a cheaper one to do up and rent it out for an income/pension and poss for kids to live in in the future? You could spend a bit on making yours more comfy and fixing subsidence if house insurance doesn't cover it. onemanband


Remember that new build is zero rated for VAT. Refurbishment/extensions aren't.

Yes, but only VAT on materials, not labour, waste disposal, scaffold etc

New build is also subject to S106 contributions / development tax / community infrastructure levy (or whatever it's called) This will roughly wipe out your VAT reclaim.

IIRC existing buildings (that are in use) are exempt from S106. Don't know how it applies though if you demolish and rebuild.
tahir

We didn't have any s106 issues onemanband

We didn't have any s106 issues

You mean you were exempt cos you knocked down and rebuilt ?

I had issues - it was daylight robbery
sean

To be fair tahir had just about all other possible issues. Just not s106 ones. tahir


I had issues - it was daylight robbery

But I'm the dandy highwayman...

S106 was not raised here, we did have permitted development rights taken away though
tahir

To be fair tahir had just about all other possible issues. Just not s106 ones.

Yep, I think you need to make v clear in case of rejection what exactly they're rejecting on, deal with those issues and ask for the case to be dealt with by the same officer
kGarden

In case my experience is relevant / useful:

We have a solid-built house constructed in 1960. Originally with flat roof made of concrete, as is 1st floor. uPVC double glazed replacement windows fitted by previous owner about 10-15 years ago when a pitched roof, and loft insulation, was also added.

We have sought to reduce our energy usage over the last 7 years and amongst other things filled the cavity and increased loft insulation.

Latterly we started looking at improving the thermal properties of the building. Turns out that it's as hard as a hard thing Sad Build a new outer skin wall with celotex type insulation, move all the windows further out so the insulation layer is "continuous" (as well as replacing with more thermally efficient windows), significant difficulty insulating the floor, and enough of the new outer skin walls' footings, vertically, to prevent cold-bridging. The new join between top of outer skin and roof is also a tricky detail. Must be no cold-bridging between inner-and-outer walls, and the building must be very very airtight (mechanical ventilation is then used, with heat recovery, to provide excellent air quality)

We were lucky that our house was already relatively air tight (2.5 ACH [air changes per hour], 5-10 is more common for existing housing stock) probably because of the amount of concrete used. Starting with a house with joists / floorboards that was a lot more leaky would be even harder.

The South end of our house was just the garage, and an upstairs corridor window. No, I have no idea why they designed it like that either!

We didn't want to move, so, instead, we demolished the garage and built an extension [only recently finished] on the South end, built to full Passive House standards, and taking advantage of orientation and solar gain. Its also benefit from the existing house sheltering it to the North, and includes kitchen, snug and bedroom/bathroom above. Sufficient for Mrs K and I to hibernate in for the winter.

Passive House build needs almost no heating (dunno how little "almost" is as yet, but the bedrooms are 19C and have had no heating at all yet this (mild) winter). I have put some heat into the kitchen floor, but only when we have lit the boiler to heat the old part of the house, which we are now maintaining 2C lower than before. The UFH in the extension is probably getting 2-3 hours boost once every 2 - 3 days (yeah, I know that's not how it is supposed to be run Smile we have a log burning central heating boiler for the old part of the house, so being a batch system it lends itself to heating the thermal mass periodically rather than continuous heating).

Other thing we have done is to put sophisticated home automation. I was in two minds about whether that was actually going to be something that would turn out to be a real benefit as I don't see myself in the Footballer's Wife category of colour changing mood lighting etc. but my acid test is if Mrs K thinks it is fault-free and Grandma can get the TV on and find some Tennis to watch Very Happy Works find on all counts.

Retro fitting lots of CAT6 cables to the existing building, rewiring (not strictly necessary, but the lighting is not well thought out, and there are only one / two power points per room, typical 1960's spec) would have been a major upheaval.

So ... summary:

I think there is a huge market for someone to figure out how to retrospectively upgrade existing housing stock, but we aren't there yet. Living in the house during that refurbishment may well be impossible - extra cost / hassle of moving out for, say, 6 months.

Bunging a hibernation-extension on has worked for us, if that is not an option for you then my advice is demolish & rebuild, if affordable / sensible / etc., or failing that then new-build on a greenfield site (in which case there is the option to live in old house until new house completed)

I am a huge fan of Passive House. Incredibly comfortable, and it means that our fuel costs, into retirement and dotage, will be a fraction of that for a conventional house. Some extra cost of insulation and air tightness during the build, save the cost of a boiler and wet heating system, in return for negligible heating costs for the lifetime of the building.

We now have a modern building, with modern control systems and no faffing about making-do-and-mending.

Passive House info:
http://www.passivhaus.org.uk/

a quote from that site:

"with fuel prices continuing to rise the low heating demand of Passivhaus Buildings of less than 15kWh per square metre per year means that annual fuel costs are reduced by a factor of 5-10. For example a household living in a 70m2 Passivhaus with gas heating could spend as little as 25 on space heating each year."

For anyone interested I can recommend the Passive House handbook. It contains technical information, but in a way that can be skated over if not of interest whilst still providing a soup-to-nuts education. Sorry, but its not a bargain basement purchase Sad

http://www.greenbooks.co.uk/Book/426/Passivhaus-Handbook.html
vegplot

Damned fine first post there kGarden. Welcome! BahamaMama

Thank you and welcome! I am looking forward to hearing more from you Smile tahir

I am a huge fan of Passive House. Incredibly comfortable, and it means that our fuel costs, into retirement and dotage, will be a fraction of that for a conventional house.

Agree with all of that, we're not quite passive house but near enough to realise all of the comfort and most of the cost benefits
wellington womble

To be fair tahir had just about all other possible issues. Just not s106 ones.

Yep, I think you need to make v clear in case of rejection what exactly they're rejecting on, deal with those issues and ask for the case to be dealt with by the same officer

Yes. 14 times in our case. I wouldn't mind that so much if re-design 14 had not borne such a strong resemblance to redesign 2. And if some rejections had not directly contradicted others. But then we went through four planning officers in the two years it took, so they probably had different opinions. Objective my eye!
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