With rapidly spiralling house prices in Cambridge, a growing number of homeowners are choosing to extend their existing property to gain extra space without having to sell up. And although the cost of building an extension can be significant, it is a sure-fire way to add value to your home.
Whether you want a new build, an extension or an internal reconfiguration to make better use of your existing space, you will need to have good, clear designs plans and a contractor you can trust and rely on to turn your design into a reality; on time and on budget.
As with any major project, there are a lot of factors that need to be carefully considered before any work can be undertaken and building contractors should only be brought into the process once a final schematic design has been selected because this will form part of the interview process. With a general idea of how you want your home to look from the inside and outside, a dimensioned floor plan and some preliminary material selections, it’s possible to provide preliminary estimates of cost.
Do take into account that in Cambridge good contractors are busy and often booked up because they are in high demand, so schedule this into your planning. It may take a couple of weeks to just set up the interviews and generally at least two to three weeks after interviews to receive the estimates. Altogether be prepared to wait longer for some contractors.
Always talk to several different contractors, a minimum of three, and ask for quotes. Make sure that all building supplies are included within the quote. While it may be the case that you want to use specialised materials in the building of your extension, discuss these with your builder as they may be able to secure discounted prices.
Ask the contractors if you can talk to some of their customers and see some of their previous work to ensure their quality. Follow-up their references and do additional research before making a decision about the contractor you will hire.
Try to use a local firm, as this will impact on the final cost of the project. Travel time is calculated into the final cost and congestion in Cambridge is a real problem causing delays.
Make sure that you like the builder and you have a good rapport. Ask to meet other key members of their team. You can potentially be spending a lot of time in their company so you want the experience to be as positive and stress-free as possible, therefore having a good relationship build on trust, cooperation and clear communications is essential.
Once you have picked your builder, it is vital that you make sure you know the terms of your arrangement by completing a proper contract. You should agree on a timetable with a predefined completion date, although it is best to keep this flexible if possible, as it may be subject to the availability of certain materials, weather or changes you make to the extension’s plans.
You shouldn’t need to pay a deposit as most builders have a cash flow and credit with local building suppliers, but if you do provide a down payment, agree to pay only for the first stage of work in advance. Once the extension is finished, make sure you are fully satisfied with the work before paying the outstanding fees.
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