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Builders cover a wide remit so it's important to have your plans for what is required well developed before the builder arrives at the door. That's not to say the builder can't help you develop up your plans for you from an initial brief, but you still need to be clear exactly what you are looking for as an end result.

This plan of requirements can then be used to input in to the Priceatrade submit a job pages, but on occassions you may need to revert to the 'Not sire' options in the dropdowns and leave the matched builders to visit you to take a more exact brief for quotation.

Hiring a builder for improving existing rooms

Remodelling is often the best solution if you need different living accommodation rather than extra living space, and builders are familiar with this type of work.

Usually planning permission is not needed, but the work will need to comply with the Building Regulations if it involves alterations to the structure of the building or the drainage, for example when removing a load-bearing wall. Your builder should look after all of this for you as part of the project.

Using a builder for converting unused space

Loft conversions offer a convenient way to add an extra bedroom, bathroom or home office to your dwelling; and again hiring a builder for this work is the right approach.

The easiest way to tell if your loft is suitable for conversion is to see if you can stand upright at its highest point, to at least 2.3 metres.

Basement conversions are becoming popular builder projects, but this can involve higher spend that loft conversions. Waterproofing, ventilation and electricals can be complex, and if you have a garage this might be a better option.

Builders for extension work

The bigger builder project but one that can add significant value to your house.

There are certain regulations that both single and two storey extensions must comply with. In most cases, they should not bring the building any closer to an existing road. Single storey extensions with a flat roof should be no higher than 3 metres; or 4 metres if they have a pitched roof. The roof of a two storey extension should be no higher than the existing building. Your appointed builder will be able to run through all of this with you.

Planning permission will depend on the amount of living space being added to the property. As a rough guide, you can add up to 70m3 or 15% of the original space (50m3 or 10% for terraced properties). You or your builder must, however, seek Building Regulations approval for all conversions or extensions - except some conservatories - and if you live in a terraced or semi-detached house the work will probably require a Party Wall Agreement with your neighbours.

A builder for a new conservatory

A popular choice and a simpler builder project to get additional space at relatively low cost.

In England and Wales a conservatory is exempt from most Building Regulations if it is separated from the rest of the house, for example by patio doors, the floor area does not exceed 30m2 and it is not permanently heated.

In Scotland, conservatories must comply with the Building Regulations covering energy efficiency, but are exempt from most others if the floor area does not exceed 8m2. All conservatories must meet the relevant Building Regulations for glazing and fixed electrical installations.

Do I need an architect?

The builders appointed will advise you on this.

The work involved in providing the required documents to gain planning permission and Building Regulations approval makes it worth using an architect, architectural technologist or building surveyor to undertake the applications.

What should I tell the neighbours?

Any major work will affect your neighbours. Keeping them informed of your plans will help maintain good relations and enable you to take on board any concerns they may have.

You should ask your builders to be considerate neighbours while they are working on site. Noisy radios, muck left on the pavement and building materials left on the road for any length of time are examples of  "neighbour nuisances".

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