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How to save time and money on extensions and conversions

By Daisy Mason

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Undertaking an extension or converting an area within your home can be a fantastic way to acquire additional living space and add value to your property, but this type of building work is always going to require time and money.

However, it doesn’t have to be very expensive or very labour intensive, as we share our top tips on how you can save both time and money on home extensions and conversions. From modular construction to recyclable materials, there are plenty of ways you can make savings on a successful build.

Shop around for a reputable and reliable builder

When extending or converting areas of your home, it pays to enlist professionals to carry out the work. Choosing a reliable and reputable builder rather than the one offering the lowest price will ensure work is completed to a high standard and in line with the latest building regulations. Be sure to shop around, do your research and confirm which costs are and aren’t included in the contract price.

With these types of home improvements, you may also find yourself up against planning regulations. So, having a professional builder or architect who’s familiar with UK planning laws can be useful, and can help to reduce time wasted when applying for planning permission.

Out with the old and in with the used

In recent years, increasing emphasis has been placed on choosing eco-friendly materials for building projects, which all goes towards reducing our environmental impact. But making use of recycled or reused building materials - such as recycled glass and metal, reclaimed wood and repurposed bricks - can also save you money.

With less money to pay out on pricey building materials, you can reduce the cost of the build project considerably and do your bit for the environment. You can even go one step further by seeking out local suppliers to help reduce transportation costs and lower carbon emissions in the process.

Buy good-quality basics the first time round

The desire to keep costs down as much as possible when it comes to home renovations is universal, and it can be tempting to cut corners on the basic essentials like screws, paints and tile adhesives. However, opting for the cheapest version could ultimately end up costing you more, as cheaper products generally have a shorter lifespan. In this instance, it’s money well spent purchasing quality products from the start that will stand the test of time – saving you time and money in the long term.

Mix and match for a fabulous finish

Kitting out a new extension or conversion can be a drain on the finances. But don’t be afraid to mix and match cheaper and more expensive items to achieve a luxury finish. Opting for a few expensive statement pieces like items of furniture or pieces of artwork and pairing them with lower-cost items will still create an enviable aesthetic – no-one will know the difference!

Consider modular construction techniques

Although typically applied in commercial and large-scale developments, modular construction techniques can be suitable for some domestic builds, too. With a structure made offsite in a factory environment, modular building systems like bathroom pods can offer significant savings on both cost and time.

Build times are significantly reduced compared with onsite construction (as external factors such as bad weather won’t delay the build), while stringent quality control measures deliver a reliable, high-quality finish – making these innovative building systems a viable option for residential projects.

Take on some of the labour yourself

A huge expense in any renovation is labour, so anything you can do yourself could save you money. While you may not be able to tackle the major structural elements, there are other aspects such as decorating, tiling and landscaping you may be able to take on if you have the time and skills to do so.

An important thing to remember if you do intend to do some of the work yourself, is to know your limits – if you’re out of your depth and do things incorrectly, DIY could be a false economy. It’s also crucial to realise that doing it yourself may push back the completion date, so weigh up what’s more important; saving money or finishing on time.

Taking on a conversion or home extension can be a daunting and expensive prospect. But with these top tips on how to save time and money, you’ll be well-equipped to execute an affordable and timely building project.

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