Tuesday 29 December 2009

2009 - The Year of the Extension

Domestic extensions and renovations have accounted for over 30% of all the projects I was involved in over the last 12 months. Not since I started working within the industry back in 1994, have I been involved in such a high % of this type of work. They say everything goes in 15 year cycle, which in this case seams to be true.

Of the projects, very few were exempted development under the Planning and Development Acts and Regulations, so as part of our work, making a planning application was one element. The main reason for this in many cases was the works to be undertaken were to the side of the dwelling: however a number of the extensions were over the 40sq.m threshold or when previous extensions were taken into account the floor area exceeded the 40 sq. m.

I haven’t encountered any problems with the planning applications to date and in a number of cases the decisions were made well within the statutory period, which was great for the client.

People seem to consider extending rather than trade up in dwelling size due to the current house sales market. Typically extensions involved the provision of additional bedroom accommodation. Granny flat extensions or the extensions, which are easily adoptable as granny flats also featured high in the list of extensions.

In many cases I found that people also took the opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of the existing structure, be it upgrading of insulation or windows, heating systems and controls. I expect that upgrading works will be a growth area in the next few years, particularly after the introduction of carbon taxes to fuel in the recent budget. With this in in mind, early in the new year I will be attending a one day CPD event entitled “Designing Low Energy Domestic Refurbs” which will hopeful fine tune me skills and improve my knowledge even further.

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