Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 107 total)
  • Self building your own extension
  • DT78
    Free Member

    I’m strongly debating having a crack at alot of our extension work, mainly due to concerns over costs, but also due to the incrediably flakey way builders seem to be with potential clients. So far I’ve had 7 round over 3 months and only 1 has provided a quote….and its the wrong side of £90k without kitchen / flooring

    I am pretty handy, however it is a big job. How helpful are people like building control in supporting you to make sure what you are doing is ‘right’.

    Have plans drawn up and approved by planning and BC some months ago, so we are in the system

    Stupid idea? No builders seem to be interested in just doing the shell.

    I’m also seriously considering postponing and seeing what happens with the economy and whether the hit will mean clients start pulling / costs start to trend back down from highs

    What to do …..

    Free Member

    depends how quickly you want it done….

    Anyone decent will be booked up for a year. But when they do get around to it should be done quickly.

    If you do it yourself it will take you years of “spare time”. The place will be a mess all that time.

    All the info is out there freely available on the internet, nothing is “hard” but the tradesman will know all the tricks to a better quality and faster job without googling every little bit of the job.

    Full Member

    Is any of it masonry, especially exposed external brickwork? have you ever done masonry laying before?

    If yes and no, prepare to cock this up in a big and expensive way.

    Full Member

    but the tradesman will know all the tricks to a better quality and faster job

    did you mean all the corners to cut to get finished quicker and increase their margin.

    Free Member

    I’d look to get a bricky in for the masonry rather than lay it myself. I figure it should be easier to find a single trade at a time than try to get a builder, who do seem to be booked in advance.

    This is my first experience – is it usual for builders to come round, look at a job, make the right noises and then not bother quoting. There is a fair amount of steelwork so I think it is not an ‘easy’ job, any maybe why no one wants to do the shell

    Most have said between 3 and 4 months work. If I’m waiting a year, I can get an awful lot done in that time. And where I can’t I’d sub out.

    Luckily I can board out the back of the house so the disruption would be minimal, just the lose of easy access to the garden.

    I’m not expecting it to be an easy route, just exploring other options – so anyone done their own build?

    Full Member

    Unless you are a builder, and have mates in the trades, this sounds like a phenomenally bad idea.

    Full Member

    We’re currently in the middle of having an extension built. Builder turns up with his apprentice and cracks on for the full day knowing exactly what they are doing. In the month they’ve been working on it, if I had started at the same time I’d probably now be at the stage they were at after about 3 days. And the quality of their work is far far higher than mine given that I’ve never done any brickwork before.

    And where I can’t I’d sub out.

    But isn’t that essentially your problem in the first place?

    Free Member

    My Dad did it, doubled the size of the house. The extension is probably 5mx10m. Never laid a brick in his life, was an electrical engineer and enjoyed working with wood. Home made wardrobes/tables etc. He bought a load of books on the subject, signed up for a monthly magazine (Golden Homes if I remember) and then built the garage as a test run. He did the foundations, brickwork, roof, plumbing, drains and electrics.
    He then started on the house extension. Every night he’d come home from work at 6pm. Mum would have a mix on for him (he bought a cement mixer) and he’d lay about two rows of bricks per night. Weekends he could do more. From start to completion took about 6 years. That includes fitting a kitchen and a bathroom, floorboards downstairs and upstairs. Plastering, painting and decorating the finished building.
    How quickly do you want it done?

    Full Member

    Teach yourself!… 🙂

    Free Member

    I started two weeks ago with the idea of doing it myself and buying as much second-hand stuff as possible. I reckon a couple of years for the structure and a year to equip it.

    I so far have 2/3 of the foundation trench dug with a pick and spade, the gravel part sieved for re-use in the concrete and the rest taken to the tip. About half of the insulated bricks/ lentil bricks/seismic bricks (the Terreal Calibric range) bought from “fin de chantier” and some aches.

    I did my own plans and got planning permission.

    I’ve borrowed a concrete mixer and I’m picking up what the car will carry in sand and cement on the return from the tip.

    Next job is to find out how to stop the seat belt warning sounding when I take the passenger seat out and disconnect the sensor. That’ll give me over 3m for the seismic reinforcing metal work.

    What could go wrong?

    Full Member

    I’d look to get a bricky in for the masonry rather than lay it myself. I figure it should be easier to find a single trade at a time than try to get a builder, who do seem to be booked in advance.

    This is what we did with the workshop – I did all the footings – hired a neighbour and a mate to help out. Then hired trades to build it – doing a lot of grunt work myself.

    At some point I intend to do the same with an attic extension, although need a few months of work as I’d like to work on it full time.

    Full Member

    It’s a lot of planning, followed by a lot of work, and of course the inspections against the building regs approval, mates been doing one and it looks like a complete pain, even bringing in professionals for certain parts is hard work with getting their availability and having what’s needed finished for them.

    If you were building a 20k extension i’d say it’s worth a shot, but pricing of 90-100k sounds almost like a 2 bed bungalow build cost, ok maybe a couple of years ago, but still sounds like a good 30-40 square metres at the higher end costing, that’s a lot of groundwork, followed by a lot of structure work, followed by a lot of connections and internal work, and everything planned and inspected to make sure it’s in the right place for the right thing, and in line with building regs.

    Full Member

    It’s a lot of planning, followed by a lot of work, and of course the inspections against the building regs approval,

    BC inspections are few and far between and not exactly arduous – managed one extension and a workshop build and they were very easy to deal with. Also the normal pass standard will be way below anything you DIY as pros only care about scraping through as cheaply as possible, whereas if its your house, you do care about it…

    I mentioned it several times on here but when the inspector saw I’d actually taped the insulation so there were no gaps he said he’d never seen that done before (even though you’re supposed to). They just shove stuff in the gaps, vaguely the right size and board over it hoping no one notices the gaping holes…

    Full Member

    It will take a lot longer! But understand the thinking. I would do groundworks. Get brickie in for the shell. Then do most of the rest getting it signed off where needed. Apart from plumbing – I hate plumbing.

    Free Member

    it’s just a kitchen. removal of 3 load bearing walls, replace conservatory, demolish garage, relocate existing kitchen to new location (not included) and move downstairs cloak. no 2 bed room extension. at the end of it the house will actually be smaller….but not behind a massive garage.

    actual footings / new masonry will be one 5.5m wall and another 3m wall.

    4.5m bifolds and 1.5 x 3m lantern.

    other than the steels it really shouldn’t be that hard….

    Free Member

    over 90k for that seems like piss taking territory, but as I’ve only had one builder bother to quote I am in the dark. if I add kitchen and flooring we are going to be getting on for £120k which we simply don’t have

    Full Member

    So you’re planning to spend a shittonne of money getting rid of your garage and making your house smaller???

    Full Member

    Ah right, i just read over 90k and thought it was bigger, not been near quotes for extensions in a few years, if that’s coming in at around 100k then i’ll be doing my own next year!

    The folk across the road had something that sounds similar, but they had a prefabricated extension put on, builders came in and demolished, then did the structural work, and the prefab went on, looks nice with the bifolds and skylight.

    Good luck with whatever direction, builders are just too busy and quoting daft, with the upcoming recession a 12 month delay could mean a bit more of a chance of builders having cancellations?

    Free Member

    It sounds to me like you just need a cheap but good builder.
    In the absence of that, have a go. But definitely think first and act later!
    Look on the bright side. At the end of it all, there’ll only be yourself to blame.

    Free Member

    Two considerations:
    Get a quote for a SIPS extension
    Get a team in from a slightly more sensibly-priced part of the country. Even paying for accommodation on top could be cheaper

    Free Member

    Dad extended his house in lockdown. It was hard work he is 75 and we wanted him to get a builder but he is too tight/belligerent!🤣
    Don’t underestimate how crap BC can be! They wanted some ridiculous stuff done! Going 600mm into bedrock for foundations! It would have needed TNT and would have destroyed the house foundations in the progress (see seat post/frame thread!) Worth challenging BC if they do get silly, have alternatives!
    DIY, break it down into smaller chunks get help when needed. Spend your savings on a Chiropractor 😂

    Full Member

    I’ve done it. A two storey side extension and single storey rear extension. It’s added on 95m2 to the house adding two new bedrooms and a bathroom as well as downstairs rooms and going open plan with the kitchen/dining room.
    I did every trade myself including drawings and planning permission right up to and including the roof. Exceptions were getting a digger driver in early on and having the exterior rendered. My FIL is an electrician so did the connecting and replacement of the consumer unit and I have a friendly plumber who gave advice on uf heating and replaced my boiler and water tank. I had completed a number of house renovations prior to this and am willing to take the time to learn how to do things. I also for some of the block laying used a Bricky guide, facing bricks on the front were just laid very carefully ie slow.
    Building control were easy to deal with, gave helpful advice and on all visits complimented me on the standard of the work and rule compliance.
    However…. I started at the beginning of 2017 and the bedrooms were ready two years later. Due to cash flow I only really properly finished the kitchen and downstairs at the start of this year. I also don’t have a proper job so had lots of time.
    For the side extension there was very little internal disruption until the knocking through. With the kitchen extension and opening up there was far more but it was carefully managed and completed much faster, still messy.
    It’s very satisfying to have completed such a big task by myself, but there’s no way I’d do it again,
    I have a very patient wife.

    Free Member

    I did my own. And built a double garage. Partly down to a lack of trades, partly through cost and partly for fun. All went ok. The building inspector was quite helpful, pretty easy to get stuff signed off, in fact I usually did more than he asked for. It did take some time but I’m self employed and can take time off as required. Still worked out better financially. Brickwork was ok. Not perfect and I was way slower than a pro but got there in the end. The building inspector was very complimentary and said he’d seen plenty worse done by brickies. Some jobs need extra hands. The wife helped and I had mates over for concrete pours, steels, roofing, roof lights, and a couple of other things. Hard work but very rewarding. Would happily do it again.

    Full Member

    I’m about to do this myself too, based on similar insane quotes and general lack of availability.

    Advice from my housebuilder step-dad:

    1. Get your datum and then make sure your initial setting out is **perfect**

    2. When you’re digging the foundations, take more than you think you need to out from where the ground floor will be because when you’re building back up to finished floor level it’s miles easier to add stuff back in than to take more out.

    3. Once you’re ‘out of the ground’ it gets better.

    We’re going timber frame because the local company are really helpful, really well priced and they’ll come and erect the frame and get the structure weatherproof. I “just” need to put the roof tiles on and clad the external walls and then I can work on the inside at my leisure. I work a 28 day rotation so I have spells of a few weeks where I can work on it constantly, then I get to come back to work for a rest. I’m not sure I’d be so keen to tackle it if I had a “normal” job and it was just evenings and weekends I had available.

    Free Member

    I’ve just finished my extension and it was probably 60% me and 40% trades.

    Things like foundations are easy to do but require a lot of effort physically if access for diggers isn’t possible. It’s also amazing how much concrete you need. You look at the hole and think it’s small, then 3 hours later you are still mixing concrete and the hole only looks half full.

    I did the timber framing myself, insulating, flooring, some small brickwork etc. Then got trades in for electrics, large brick wall (which would have probably fallen down by now if I’d done it if my small wall is anything to go by) and the roof.
    Windows were put in by the joiner but after seeing it done could probably do it myself.
    Roofer also happened to be a fantastic plasterer so he did that too and a couple of the other trades mentioned how it was some of the best plastering they’d seen.

    Buying the materials yourself is easier to keep track of and prevents any random mark ups from anyone.

    I basically just then paid an hourly rate to the trades.

    Materials are crazy expensive at the moment, timber especially. In the end B and Q was just as cheap as the timber merchants and I should have taken shares out in screwfix I’ve spent that much there.

    Total cost for an attic conversion (bedroom and bathroom), extension and garage conversion (home office and spare room/kids room) has come in just north of 80k.

    I spent about 18 months of my spare time being spent on the project but it’s quite satisfying and I’ve learnt loads along the way and increased my tool collection massively?!

    EDIT: just make sure any plans you get for building control etc are easy to read and understand. Also there is a place in Wales I think that does factory seconds Kingspan insulation for about 2/3 the price.
    Also take photos all the time for building control so they don’t come along wanting proof of the timber sizes or something later on.

    Edit 2: turbo II screws with torx heads are a revelation, no more jumping drill bits on a cross headed screw.

    Full Member

    @TheFlyingOx What timber frame company are you using? I think I’m near to you and also planning an extension at some point.

    Full Member

    Laying bricks well isn’t hard, laying bricks well at speed is. Like others I doubled the size of my garage, did everything. I maxed out at 100 bricks per day, a good brickie with labourer does 800 to 1200 a day. My brick work is pretty good, dead straight and vertical, but that was due to lots of checking with levels, including a torpedo level on every brick, side to side and back to front. Once you start to go wrong it’s difficult to get it back straight. Other things is get you mortar mix right, mine was possibly too wet, easy to work with (added a plasticiser) but will leave mess on the facing bricks. That said some of what the builders did on my house build was no cleaner. Time is the main reason to sub things out, it’s not just the actual work it’s all the planning and sourcing of materials.

    Free Member

    Messaged you about a possible option.

    Free Member

    We have planning in for a roof raise loft conversion complete gut out.

    I am quitting my job to to do the work my self and will try and get some part time work here and there for a little bit of cash to pay for food and fuel. This is however something I have wanted to do all my life, hate my job and need timeout. I have already replaced 2 roofs, joists and rotten floors, built my own multi source heating system including relay logic based control system. Looking back at some of the work I did is embarrassing for some of it but proud of other parts. My issue is always if I am trying to fit the work into a weekend that I make mistakes. Over the past two years I have managed a change of mindset and quality has become more consistent.

    We can scarp by on my partner’s wage. Cost wise I hope it ends up cheaper but you never know, but as I said I am only doing this as it is something I have always wanted to do, not sure how I would feel if it was something I had to do.

    Free Member

    Laying bricks properly IE accurate and tidy is hard for anyone who hasn’t done much of it and as for 800 to 1200 bricks per day will be a thick retaining wall with common brick chucking them down. A bit like a cyclist can ride 80/100 miles but then need easy days to recover
    Get your datum and if possible someone with an optical level to give you many datum points that are fixed securely like ordnance survey marks . Spend £60 on a new stabila level rather than the old thing lying about in the garage for years
    A laser level can easily be out a good few mm if the staff is held incorrectly
    Your mortar is good if it’s workable and can hold on the trowel above your head without falling off

    Full Member

    We have planning in for a roof raise loft conversion complete gut out.

    I am quitting my job to to do the work my self and will try and get some part time work here and there for a little bit of cash to pay for food and fuel.

    That is pretty much my plan, just waiting for the company to go bust again!

    Free Member

    Lol hoping for a redundancy package!

    Free Member

    If you’ve to ask on a cycling forum about cracking on with a circa £90k extension, then no don’t even attempt it – a dwarf wall though, I’d have a go at that 🙂

    Free Member

    Thanks all for your comments, Nick – have responded to your message

    redundancy probably isn’t on the cards for me! least I hope not!

    I’ll be honest I’m not massively keen on doing all the work myself its more of a potential necessity. I’ve done plenty of internal stuff before, wiring, plumbing, fitting bathrooms, floors, ceilings. My plastering is a bit crap! But nothing structural, the steels is where I worry I don’t really know what I’m doing – I have the plans from the structural engineer, but the still look complex ! I wouldn’t know which one to put in first as they need to create a frame to support the walls (looks a bit like a H)

    I think the best option to be able to move forward is I hire someone to do the shell and I crack on with the rest.

    Free Member

    Oh and I know what you mean about spending at screwfix….I’ve spent so much with them already they moved me onto a trade account!!!

    Free Member

    I’ve got a tiler starting in 2 weeks to do a fair bit of work (retiling 3 floors and the whole family bathroom). Been waiting 4 months for him – as he (and a number of other guys we had around at the time) all said, if you want a decent tradesman at the minute, you’re unlikely to get one quickly. Anyone who can fit you in within a few weeks likely isn’t that good!

    Also, (TL:DR so apologies if anyone else has suggested this but…) I’d suggest going on a brick laying course at a local college. Would set you on the right track than just ploughing ahead and messing stuff up.

    Free Member

    the steels is where I worry I don’t really know what I’m doing – I have the plans from the structural engineer, but the still look complex ! I wouldn’t know which one to put in first as they need to create a frame to support the walls (looks a bit like a H)

    Find yourself a local steel fabricator. They will be able to fabricate the steels for you from the SE plans ( are they dimensioned ??). If you get the builder to supply this , then they will be adding anything from 10% to 30% mark-up. If the steel frame is “free standing” and not sitting on new walls etc , then you could get the fabricator to install as well.

    Full Member

    @robola we’ve gone with Claymore Timber Frame over in Ladybank, Fife. Really good to talk to and they can arrange everything from just drawings through to turn-key property build. You can pick and choose what services you need from them. We already had plans and structural engineers calcs so they’re building the frame and erecting, but we could have just gone to them with a idea and ended up with a complete build if we’d wanted.

    Full Member

    the steels is where I worry I don’t really know what I’m doing – I have the plans from the structural engineer, but the still look complex ! I wouldn’t know which one to put in first as they need to create a frame to support the walls (looks a bit like a H)

    It was fairly obvious with ours, the lowest one, onto which the rest sat on, I just lifted into place with the brickie..

    [url=]Lifting the RSJ into position[/url] by Ben Freeman, on Flickr

    The steel fabricators fitted the rest on site inc drilling holes in situ and packing them out with steel shims to get it all level.

    [url=]1st beam on post[/url] by Ben Freeman, on Flickr

    [url=]Dave marking out the holes for the ridge beam[/url] by Ben Freeman, on Flickr

    [url=]Magnetic drill[/url] by Ben Freeman, on Flickr

    Free Member

    But nothing structural, the steels is where I worry I don’t really know what I’m doing

    If you’ve got 3 x structural walls to remove and [goalpost] steels to fit then I’m not really sure this is DIY territory.
    The potential for getting it wrong is pretty high.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 107 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Thanks for popping by - why not stay a while?IT'S FREE

Sign up as a Singletrack Member and you can leave comments on stories, use the classified ads, and post in our forums, do quizzes and more.

Join us, join in, it’s free, and fun.

Metal Shaping for Beginners: Refini...
Singletrack Video Archive: Metal Shaping for Beginners: Refining the shape of the fender