House Extension

House Extension (2006/2007)

Something we’ve wanted to do for some time now…extend over the garage of our house and create a very big 5th bedroom.

Anyway – thought I’d set up this page to track progress. So the money is in the bank, an architect is drawing up the plans and the adventure project begins…

First things first – got to see how good your foundations are.


Hole needs to reach right to the bottom of the foundation and has to be 9 inches…image here shows about 14 – 15 inches. That hole was a killer to dig…did it all by a spade, a heavy piece of iron to break the chalk and a hand trowel. (Many hours and one bad back later….)

Worth it in the end though of course. Building inspector has been around and given it the thumbs up so I can now fill it in again.


Need to take a few ‘before’ photo’s so here they are…apologies for some of these…I never seemed to find a day where the sun didn’t add a bit of a haziness to the pics. You can just see the white pile of chalky rubble to the far left of the picture where I dug the hole.


This picture taken with the hole now filled back in – it was just below the window on the left. (Just caught Pen walking up the steps there :o)

Next steps – get the drawings and submit the planning application…and begin getting quotes from builders. Oh, and also start to think about how we might want our bedroom…two main ideas on the table at the moment – an en-suite which goes the length of one side of the room or a slightly shorter bathroom and a walk-in dresser.

More progress to follow…. :o)



UPDATE – November 2006

The initial drawings have been drawn up (by Paul Flippance of Inter County Surveys, Andover – cheers Paul!) so we can now start inviting builders to give us estimates

Existing Floor Plans


Proposed Floor Plans and Elevations


UPDATE – 8 Dec 2006

Today the planning application was submitted. Earliest decison date is 8th Jan 07, latest decision date is 2nd Feb 07. The waiting begins. All plans and progress of the planning application can be found here


UPDATE – 16 Dec 2006

Planning application notice has been sent to us and we must now put this up outside the house somewhere visible to the public for 21 days


UPDATE – early January 2007

Just had Mr Trevor Campbell-Smith (our assigned officer) visit to talk about the application, look at the site and take photo’s. A few concerns were raised about how the windows may look on the gable end and we were told that it’s not ‘that’ straight forward even though we thought it might be – so that’s got us thinking and biting nails now! Still – no objections from the neighbours yet!


UPDATE – 31 Jan 07

After checking the Basingstoke Council website every day I finally noticed that a decision had been made – that wonderful word ‘Granted’.

However, the project was still not a foregone conclusion as we have started getting ridiculous quotes from builders which, to be frank, are showstoppers. First three quotes – £42,000; £48,000 and £59,000 (not including VAT!). All recommendations from friends are being followed up but it’s not looking good. We were only going to get three or four quotes but we have started inviting a lot more builders to come and have a look at our initial plans. If we can’t get this price down, there’s no point in paying out a couple more grand for full drawings and building regs.

Most builders coming around at the moment are ‘ok’ – we have only taken to one or two in terms of feeling comfortable about letting them loose on the house.

I must mention one particular builder – Penny and I have nicknamed him ‘bling man’. He turned up in a car with gold wheels. When he got out, he looked just like the sort of bloke you would find on Rogue Trader. I noticed his two thick gold chains around his neck straight away. Before he had knocked on the door I had already decided he wasn’t getting the job. During the visit, it was all “I’ve got a Geezer that can do this and that” and he was telling me how I want the job to be done. I was literally asking myself how long would be long enough before I could kick him out without appearing rude.


UPDATE – 15 Feb 2007

A few weeks ago our planning application appeared in the local paper. A Mr John McKinney noticed it and wrote a speculative letter to us so we thought ‘why not?’ and invited him around. One of the nicest and most sincere blokes I’ve met and we immediately felt at ease with him.

Today, we got one of the best quotes from Mr McKinney. We have a few more to come in but this is a favourable figure – and one that we can afford.


UPDATE – a little later on…

We arranged another meeting with John McKinney and Paul Flippance (architect) and after a couple of hours of discussion, we’ve shaken hands and asked John to do the work. Now it’s full steam ahead to get the full structural drawings and building regs drawn up….oh crap – we really do have to get the garage cleared of all our rubbish now.


UPDATE – March 07

Six car loads of rubbish has now been taken down the tip. We had to have a clear out of our loft as well so that we could put more stuff up there from the garage. Why do we keep so much rubbish?!


UPDATE – 27 April 07

“It begins…..”


We’ve had to lose most of one of the trees at the side to make way for the corner of the scaffolding. Can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs…


UPDATE – 2 May 07

Some pretty big holes have appeared in our garage floor!


UPDATE – 3 May 07

Full structural drawings have been drawn up and brought around. Nice one Paul…


UPDATE – 4 May 07

Had the day off today and was there when the building inspector (Justin) came around. Nice bloke! John had a different idea to the drawings on the steels supports design and size. The building inspector confirmed he was happy with what John had explained and I got agreement from him that I would not have to re-draw those plans if we deviated as discussed


UPDATE – 8 May 07

Had a bit of pain from Sky today. We need to remove the dish that is currently on the end elevation (above the garage roof) as it is in the way from where the new bedroom roof will eventually be. The Sky engineer came around and refused to set foot on the scaffolding due to ‘health and safety’. He actually said he would be able to resite it if we were to remove the scaffolding so he could climb up the side of the house using his own ladder. Excuse my french but I’ve never heard so much crap in all my life. That’s red tape for you

I rang John to see if he could remove the dish and put the damned thing in the engineers hands to then re-site…no problem…but by that time the engineer had already decided there was nowhere else to put it and had buggered off

So I promptly told Sky to refund my resite fee and forget it. We’ll sort it out ourselves…I haven’t got time to play around with monkeys


UPDATE – 9 May 07

The gable end has been brought down and the piers have been built up inside the garage to get ready for the steels. It does feel odd going into the garage now and finding daylight coming through


Just come back from archery where Paul has handed me the final building regulations full plans application….

…and his fee 🙁

(actually – shouldn’t knock it…it was good value). Thanks again Paul…


UPDATE – 14 May 07

The roof tiles come off…


UPDATE – 15 May 07

Battens and roof felt is coming off and most of the steels are in place to hold the first floor…



UPDATE – 16 May 07

Roof is almost completely gone now…

This picture taken from inside the garage!

…and from the outside. Today the blocks and bricks arrived.

Notice the wet ground? I swear that it hasn’t stopped bloody raining since the roof came off. Sod off rain…


UPDATE – 17 May 07

I think the weather heard me. Rain has eased up. Bit more done today…

Steels and floor joists are in. (Notice the McClaren Mercedes calendar Dad 🙂

They never spell Wilson right. Ordered by Penny’s Dad hence the Willson name

Another pic of the floor beams

Tiles are stacked neatly ready for replacing and satelite dish has been moved to the side of the house

Usual shot of the house but showing the garage roof completely removed now


UPDATE – 23 May 07

Garden end of the house beginning to rise up now. Reach window level.


UPDATE – 29 May 07

End section beginning to rise up now

You can just see the front lower roof section going back using the old roof tiles


UPDATE – 01 Jun 07

Internal block work going up inside the brickwork now to form the cavity for the insulation

And there you can see the insulation

I picture looking down inside the room from the scaffolding


UPDATE – 14 Jun 07

Scaffolding was raised up a level on Monday and the window company are on standby to come out and measure the new window holes when they appear


UPDATE – 24 Jun 07

The roof trusses turned up the other day – came home from work the next day and they were all in place. That was quick!

A shot looking up at the trusses from within the garage

This is inside the room – no floor yet so this pic was taken from a plank laid across the floorboards. Oops – that nearest window is in the wrong place! Should be nearer the outside wall. Had a quick chat with the builder and he had worked against the original plans…not the altered ones. Glad I spotted this before we had gone much further. Builder was apologetic and couldn’t state enough that it was his mistake and he’ll correct it. So glad we found this chap…!

Can’t get any photograph which demostrates the size of this room – the shots all come out like it’s a tiny room. Hard to believe this room will end up being ‘almost’ the same size as the rest of the upstairs put together! Once this is finished, you won’t be able to see that far wall…that’s where the bathroom is going and that far window will be the bathroom window.

UPDATE – 13 Jul 07

Waterproof felt is going up. The weather has been so bad that it’s been slow going. Trust us to pick the wettest summer since 1788 to do this extension. The inside of this garage has had a good soaking several times over. Still…could be worse…could be in Tewkesbury.

Ahhh – that’s better – window relocated. Might not look great from the outside but this was to get things looking symetrical on the inside taking into account where the bathroom wall will be.

UPDATE – 20 Jul 07

The inside of the room is coming on…

The final roof over the utility room has now been removed because we are now water-proofed. No roof yet but the water can’t get in any more. This needed to be exposed so that work can start on re-routing the pipes that are coming out of the hole in the wall (right of picture). These pipes feed from the boiler in the utility room. (In fact, in this picture the plumber has already been and started to cut the pipes away).

Windows ordered! They are coming around on 14th August so we’d better get cracking and get that floor down! Penny Dad Ken has been brilliant with helping us and has collected the shower unit and mixer tap we bought but also helped sit down and figure out what electrics we need…and has got all the plugs as well – ready for ‘first fix’.

UPDATE – 25 Jul 07

Boiler ordered. A ‘Vaillant’ with external thermostat for extra efficiency. These are top boilers – it’s worth putting money down for this. Thermal value of the house (including new room) has been calculated (by Ken 🙂 and this boiler more than covers it. No point in running a boiler to maximum after all.

UPDATE – 26 Jul 07


Things moving at some pace now that we don’t have to worry about the copious amounts of water the sky has been chucking at us. Took the picture at this angle because the scaffolding gets in the way. You can see the roof better from here.

I shinned up the scaffolding and got a shot of the end wall. Neat work!

Front of the house. New roof, old tiles. Nice way to save money and don’t have to wait for moss to grow either so we get an immediate match! This is the front of the house. Funny picture angle because there’s only so much I can step back before falling off the scaffolding.

Back of the house.

Strange – we had a call today from someone who might be using John McKinney as a builder and they were asking the questions we asked total strangers a few weeks ago! He got a glowing report of course….

As I write this, an awful lot of Britain is still under loads of water. We’re counting ourselves lucky we are on high ground. If we encounter flooding then that must mean most of Britain will be under! I said it a couple of years ago but only as a joke…”houses may start to command a higher prices based on how high the ground is they are on”. I said this after Boscastle got flooded. It’s not a joking matter any more…I think my joke might just be turning into reality.

Been running hot water on immersion all this week due to plumbing work. Plumbers back Saturday to finish off – this should allow John to start putting the floor down next week.

Oh – and one more note…shower tray ordered. Better to put this in and build a wall up to it rather than squeeze it in once the wall is built. It’ll be a 1200 x 900 tray (big enough for us skinny mini’s !!!)

UPDATE – 16 Aug 07

The floor is down and the new door opening has been punched through. This picture taken from bedroom 4 but soon there’ll be wall there which will form a new corridor. This bedroom is about to get a tad smaller!

Building inspector on site and checking the new room out!

Windows fitted….it’s not that dark in this room – this is just my camera phone adjusting light levels due to the amount of light coming through the windows.

The bathroom window.


UPDATE – 18/19 Aug 07

No pics here but a bit of a milestone. Pennys Dad (Ken) has been an absolute star this weekend. He has been planning out the electrics for the room just based on what we think we want and has bought all the bits and pieces ready for the first fix. This weekend, he came over and we both set about wiring up the room.

It was hard work! And I was just the monkey prancing about in the roof.

Almost finished by Sunday night.


UPDATE – 22 Aug 07

The bathroom/en-suite/what-ever-you-want-to-call-it wall now in place.

We have a new corridor! (Well, an extended one)…..and dust all over the house. Discovered this while cooking dinner and wondering what the thin layer was all over the cooker! Ho-hum – knew it was going to happen 🙁


UPDATE – 3rd Nov 07

Well – it’s been a long time since I’ve done an update…apologies. A lot has happened since the last update.

1 – A plasterer came in and worked like a Trojan and plastered all the walls within a weekend. Made a fantastic job of it as well.

2 – John finished the bedroom so that we could start decorating. We have so far painted all the bedroom walls, glossed the three window sills and primed the skirting board.

3 – The cupboards are on order (Wickes!)

4 – We are on the edge of ordering the carpet – had lots of quotes so far and think we know which one we are heading toward.

5 – The garage ceiling is in place and the waste which comes down from the new bathroom

Garage ceiling being put in place

A large hole has appeared in the garden (and an equally large pile of rubble) to connect up the waste pipes.

Took advantage of sealing the garage floor and painting it over while it’s still empty (‘cos it won’t be like that for long!)


FINAL UPDATE – Xmas Eve 2007


Well, almost 😉 – just a little bit of snagging to do. Got a couple of front lower terrace tiles to put into place which are ‘half’ tiles and are hard to get hold of and have taken a while to come through. Also got a gap above the lintel of the new room door and the brickwork above so that needs to be concreted in (small job) and also got insulation to put into the room. That’s our fault – we told the builder to hold off for a while so that Ken and I could finish doing the electrics in the loft and get the spotlights of the new room up and working.

Anyway, last update was putting in the drainage and showing an almost finished garage without any cars in sight.

Here are a few final pics. First, the garage….

This one shows not only that the cars are back in but also the flourescent lighting in place. We used to have a couple of light bulbs in here which were no more effective than candles, particularly considering the garage roof used to be open and generally dark. Now there are a total of 5 strip lights with a white ceiling to reflect. It’s a whole lot brighter in here. There are also new power points – one near the rear of the TVR so I can plug my trickle charger in and new points in the utility area (next photo) which is very handy for power drills etc.

I’ve also strategically placed an old skipping rope so that when the TVR’s back windscreen touches them, I know I’m close enough to the wall to plug the car in but not so close that it crushes the mountain bike!

The garage utility area. I’ve put some shelves up and bought/built a new wooden ‘work-station’ complete with a handy vice. And yes, I’ve used it already to cut and shape some shelving. This has helped me clear out the understairs cupboard and a substantial part of the third bedroom which were at bursting point with the different pots of point, glue, power tools etc etc.

The new room was completed and the bedroom cupboards from Wickes turned up. We got a call from the delivery driver asking us if the room was big and had much space in it. We said yes, it’s completely empty…why? He replied ‘because we’re about to deliver over 200 boxes’….and he wasn’t kidding.

When they turned up, I was a little overwhelmed by how much there was….and rather than tackle it myself (just as I had got a stinking cold and the carpets were already on order and booked in) I threw a few extra quid at our builder and he did a sterling job building them in for us.

I felt a bit better after he had finished because he said that even he had a bit of an ‘experience’ with it. I think he might have regretted agreeing to build them!


And finally……the new completed room….(drum roll please…..)………

All cupboards built (just the cornice to go along the top), carpet down and our original bed collapsed, moved and rebuilt. We’ve finally moved in!

The door to the en-suite in the last picture hides a room full of bits and pieces as we haven’t made a start on it yet. I’m afraid that’s going to have to wait until after xmas/new year now and will be a project for 2008. Obviously, we’ll be needing a bigger telly which I might try and pick up in the January sales. Got my eye on a Panasonic 26″ which has got good reviews. Will be attaching it to a music system (that we currently have stored) to provide surround sound and music. There’s a proper aerial wired in (behind the telly) so no problems picking up good pictures.

The room is lit with four dimmable spotlights and a fifth to light up the corridor leading to the main landing (and light switches above our heads so we don’t have to get out to turn the lights off – which is really cool ;-).


Here are a few pics of the outside view (taken during a cold frost)…


….and here are the standard ‘before and after’ shots…..


(The quality of the images differ as I got a different mobile camera phone half way through the build and it was frosty in the after shots!)

Now that it’s all finished….here are the good points and bad points:-

Bad points

  • Brick dust gets everywhere – nothing was safe from getting a thin red covering. When you clean, brick dust magically appears there again even though no more building work had taken place!
  • Disruption is high. We had one bedroom to use during the whole build. The other three were literally stacked with things that we storing out of the way.
  • The cars had to be parked out on the street most of the year (probably annoying a couple of neighbours) and the TVR had to be kept off site (around Penny’s Dads) but because I wanted to keep it ticking over each week, I got dropped off at Fleet services on the way home from work most Fridays and walked half an hour to go and pick it up, and then dropped it back Sunday night.
  • It cost a pretty penny. Although we haven’t had the house revalued, I’m fairly sure the price has gone up as much as it cost to do so we should ‘even’ out meaning that we effectively get the extension for free…..but you don’t ‘realise’ that until you sell it (and we don’t intend doing that!)

Good points

  • We’ve got ourselves a lovely, huge room. It’s far bigger than our original master room and it feels so much nicer to be in. It was designed, shaped and built our way. The windows are where we wanted them and the en-suite was shaped how we wanted. The en-suite has been designed to take a full size bath (lengthways) at one end narrowing to a large shower at the other end with everything a bathroom should have in between.
  • We were extremely lucky in finding our builder Mr John McKinney. I would recommend him to anyone. With his level of knowledge, trustworthiness and attention to detail, this was never going to be anything other than an excellent job. He takes pride in his craft and is not one for just slapping things in place.
  • We were double lucky in having the help (and it has to be said….vast knowledge) of Pennys dad Ken to help us out and save us a fortune at the same time.
  • Our luck continued with having a friend in the archery club (Mr Paul Flippance – Inter County Surveys) who was an architect by trade and provided us with a set of drawings which got us through planning.

So, would I do it all again? The first good point outweighs all the bad points so there’s your answer. However, I think it’s fair to say we need a break first! Being disrupted for so long is more draining than I realised.

Anyway, it’s now only an hour away from Xmas day so I’m off to get a beer and look forward to opening some pressies…. :-))

UPDATE 11th May 2009

OK – so I wasn’t expecting to add any more photo’s here….but when the room was done, I told the builder to leave the bathroom for me as I was going to do it – try and cut down on the cost a bit and I quite fancied ‘having a go’.

Finally finished….here are the results…