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12 Feb 2019

It is a point many of us reach in life – the children are growing and need more space or, at the other end of the rich tapestry of life, an elderly parent is struggling to cope living alone. Is it time to upsticks and get a bigger place? Moving house, however, is not always the answer – it’s an expensive business - and you actually quite like where you live! I personally have had a eureka moment and suddenly realised that a garage which has never seen a car and is full of junk could be used as an office and studio, if only I got my act together to do something about it!

When planning an extension or a loft conversion it is wise to employ a team of professionals to complete the project efficiently and safely. An architect will design the extension or loft conversion  – what it will look like and how it will ‘work’. A builder will manage the ‘trades’ who create with bricks, mortar, wood, metal and glass. Another key member of your team will be the structural engineer. If you are planning a loft conversion he or she will assess the suitability of the loft to be converted safely and offer advice on maintaining the structural integrity of the house. Similarly, for an extension, the engineer would assess how any new building work could affect the stability of the original house and offer advice and solutions accordingly. The design of foundations for the extension and calculations for any supporting beams or steelwork would also come under their remit.

As a ‘lay person’ my first thought when contemplating an extension is ‘do I need planning permission?’ Whilst this is something that must of course be investigated, it is buildings regulations that, though perhaps not springing directly to mind, play just as crucial a part in any home renovation project. Within the teamwork of architect, builder and structural engineer, the latter will provide a key component in getting these right.