We're Hiring / Calling RIBA Qualified Architects

We are expanding our current team and looking for an RIBA qualified Architect to join our Sheffield studio. The candidate will need to share our passion for design and have the ambition to work on high profile residential schemes.

We believe that one of our greatest strengths as a company is our willingness to nurture the best talent and reward that talent with internal promotion. If you are looking to work for a company with a bright future who will actively look to provide great career progression prospect, we would love to hear from you.

Please get in touch and send us your details to careers@codastudios.co.uk.

The British property market, marred by soaring house prices, rising interest rates and economic uncertainties over recent years, has set the stage for a new trend – expanding living spaces within existing properties. As homeowners seek to improve both their lifestyle and property value, the allure of extensions has never been more irresistible.

Like all home improvement projects, planning is key when it comes to pulling off a house extension. Want to know more about how to set yourself up for success? In this hands-on guide, we'll dive into the dos and don’ts of extensions, with insights and tips from the CODA Bespoke team.

Dos for your dream extension

Planning can make all the difference when executing a home extension, which is why several of the dos listed below focus on preparation, organisation and design.

1.    DO – Enlist expert help

Kicking off your extension journey without a decent amount of experience under your belt is akin to setting sail on uncharted waters. When you’re dealing with major concerns like the structural integrity of a building and the flow/functionality of living space, the concept of ‘winging it’ isn’t an option.

Instead, seek the advice of professionals who can help steer your project towards success. Whether it’s an established architecture firm to bring your vision to life or an experienced general contractor to streamline the building process, professionals can provide invaluable insights throughout the extension process.

2.    DO – Chat to your neighbours

Construction noise is inevitable during any home extension project, so it pays to establish good relationships with your neighbours as early as possible. This can help enormously when it comes to obtaining planning permissions and overcoming other hurdles down the line.

Plus, engaging in open communication with your neighbours isn’t just polite. It’s an opportunity to build a supportive community, source local recommendations and potentially gain valuable insights from those who've navigated similar projects in the past.

3.    DO – Explore the history of your property

Every home has a story to tell, whether it’s a character-soaked period property or a modern build. Understanding the unique history of your property, including past modifications and structural nuances, can be incredibly helpful when planning an extension. This information can often serve as a foundation for architects, allowing them to explore ideas and design an extension that complements, rather than competes, with the existing structure.

4.    DO – Get inspired

Designing a dream extension is a highly creative process. Even when working closely with an architect, there’s generally lots of room for input from the homeowner.

At CODA Bespoke, we always encourage our clients to source inspiration from various media, whether it’s flicking through design magazines, scrolling through online platforms or connecting with homeowners who have pulled off similar projects. Creating a mood board can help you articulate your vision and provide architects with visual prompts to bring your dream extension to life.

5.    DO – Consider sustainability

The world is rapidly embracing sustainable practices and the building sector is no exception. From green building materials and energy-efficient technologies to sustainable design principles, integrating eco-friendly elements into your extension can be both responsible and rewarding.

Don'ts for your dream extension

The pitfalls of home extension projects often present themselves only when it's already too late. For homeowners, this can cause stress, timeline delays and financial challenges. Below, we breakdown some of the most common gaffes to avoid when navigating home extensions.

1.    DON’T – Underestimate the complexity

One of the biggest faux pas homeowners make when planning extensions is underestimating the complexity of the process. From securing planning permissions and addressing structural engineering challenges to sourcing unique building materials, most stages take more time than you might think.  A realistic understanding of the intricacies of extensions will help prepare you for potential hurdles along the way.

2.    DON’T – Start without a watertight design

Set your extension project up for success with a watertight design. There’s no such thing as too much detail when it comes to your blueprint. After all, your planning documents should not only outline your overall vision but serve as a practical guide for construction and a reference point for all contractors involved.

3.    DON’T – Forget to set a realistic budget

Finances are the backbone of most home extension projects – a fact that underscores the need for a realistic budget. Consider not only construction costs but also unforeseen expenses. A realistic and well-thought-out budget will ensure that your dream extension remains a source of joy without turning into a financial burden.

4.    DON’T – Move forward without a detailed timeline

Time is of the essence in any construction project, especially extensions that involve multiple different trades and contractors. Collaborating with an experienced architecture firm can help establish a detailed timeline. Regular check-ins ensure that the project stays on track, with minimal delays and disruptions.

5.    DON’T – Stray from your plan

While some flexibility is acceptable, straying too far from the initial plan can lead to complications. At CODA Bespoke, we always advise homeowners to communicate any changes promptly and most importantly, consult with professionals to assess their impact. At the end of the day, a well-planned extension with minimal deviations from the original blueprint, is more poised for success.

Plan your dream extension with CODA Bespoke

As hurdles like high house prices, rising interest rates and economic instability continue to plague the UK property market, extensions will continue to win over homeowners. They represent an opportunity to not only enhance your lifestyle and living spaces but to strategically increase the value of your property.

Whether you’re looking to breathe new life into a dated property, add an extra wing to your home or create flow between your indoor and outdoor living spaces, keeping these dos and don'ts in mind can help you embark on any extension journey with confidence.

Remember, extensions aren’t just about expanding your living space. They’re about creating spaces that reflects elevate your lifestyle, reflect individuality and improve the value of your home. Your dream space awaits, so brief the team at CODA Bespoke today or check out some of our house extension projects.

Photo credit: Rayner Builders

Planning a home renovation in 2024? Whether you’re dreaming of clean lines and contemporary finishes or are passionate about preserving the charm and character of a heritage building, renovations are an exciting opportunity to enhance your living space.

Starting with a well-structured plan and clear vision is the key to pulling off a successful project. In this article, we’ll share tips and advice from our in-house team. The goal? To help you streamline your home renovation project and bring your vision to life.

1. Define your vision

Your home is an expression of your lifestyle, values and personal taste. So, it makes sense to begin your renovation journey by outlining your vision. Ask yourself what you hope to achieve with this project.

Are you looking to create open and spacious living areas? Is eco-conscious luxury a priority? How do you feel about blending classic and contemporary styles? Defining your vision is the first step to a successful renovation project.

2. Set a realistic budget

Dreaming big is exciting. But for most homeowners, it’s important to set a realistic budget. This will help keep your project on track and prevent any nasty surprises down the line. Consider all potential costs, including design and architectural fees, as well as materials and labour.

It’s always best to add around 20% to your expected cost to accommodate for contingencies. Best case scenario, your project stays on budget, and you can use the cash to splurge on designer furniture and homewares. Or last-minute extras like an under-stairs, glass-walled wine cellar.

3. Engage a professional design team

A luxury home renovation demands the expertise of a professional design team. At CODA Bespoke, we specialise in creating tailored designs that reflect your unique vision and lifestyle. This can help you make the most of your budget, but also make the process a lot easier.

4. Sustainable luxury

Sustainable luxury is a design concept that’s here to stay. Eco-conscious features not only reduce the environmental impact of your home but enhance its value. Consider incorporating features like green construction materials, energy-efficient lighting and smart home technology.

5. Heritage preservation

If your home has historic value, you may encounter more hurdles than usual when seeking planning permission for your renovation. The process is designed to ensure your property retains its charm while benefiting from modern upgrades. A thoughtful and creative approach to design is usually the best way to strike this balance.

6. Planning permission

Most renovation projects in the UK require planning permission, particularly for significant additions or alterations. Ensure you understand local regulations and planning requirements in your area before starting your project. This will minimise delays and ensure your project runs as smoothly as possible.

It’s usually worth enlisting the help of a local architectural agency to help fast track the process and liaise with local councils and planning authorities.

7. Quality materials

When planning your renovation, you’re free to choose from a wide range of materials. If a luxury finish is a priority, premium materials like hardwood flooring, custom cabinetry, marble countertops and high-end fixtures can make all the difference. Remember, it’s often the small details that contribute to a luxe aesthetic.

8. Set a timeframe

Setting a timeframe is a good way to keep your renovation project on track and minimise unnecessary delays. Be realistic and allow for some flexibility in your schedule, as delays can occur.

9. Interior and exterior cohesion

When designing your renovation, try to create cohesion between your indoor and outdoor spaces. This will help tie everything together and create a seamless flow within your home.

10. Personalisation and customisation

Renovations shouldn’t just add extra living space to your home. They should focus on creating a space that's uniquely yours. From bespoke furniture and to tailor-made design solutions, don’t be shy to customise your renovation and infuse your personality into the project.

11. Technology integration

Plan ahead to integrate cutting-edge technology into your renovation. Smart home systems are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, enabling homeowners to manage lighting, security, heating and entertainment at their fingertips. While some technologies can be added on after your renovation, planning ahead will help you streamline your system.

12. Lighting design

The right lighting can transform a space from ordinary to extraordinary. High-end homes often combine ambient, accent and task lighting to complement different spaces. Consider engaging the help of a lighting designer to enhance your new space.

13. Quality craftsmanship

Craftsmanship can make all the difference when it comes to the quality of your renovation. Take the time to research local service providers and seek out architects, builders and contractors known for their attention to detail.

14. Quality control

Regular inspections and quality control checks will help identify and address any issues before they escalate. Generally, quality control is a shared responsibility between the homeowner, contractors and project management team.

15. Interior design excellence

Renovations go far beyond the construction phase. A strategic approach to interior design will bring your space to life. Tackle this stage solo if you’re confident or collaborate with interior designers who will help you embrace your unique style.

16. Regular communication

Maintaining open lines of communication with your architect, design team, builders and contractors is imperative. Regular updates will ensure your renovation project progresses smoothly.

17. Celebrate your achievement

When your luxury renovation is complete, take the time to celebrate your achievement and share your new space with family and friends.

Whether it’s hosting a champagne breakfast in the garden or engaging a professional photographer to capture the beauty of your new space, we always encourage our clients to get a little extravagant when it comes to the celebration stage.

After all, renovations are hard work and deserve recognition.

Plan your 2024 renovation with CODA Bespoke

Ready to take the plunge and start your renovation project in 2024? At CODA Bespoke, we understand that home renovations are an exciting journey that demands careful planning, expert guidance and a clear vision. This is why we work closely with each client to craft spaces that are luxurious, liveable and completely unique.

To get started, send us a few details to brief us on your project and we’ll be in touch!

Are you on a mission to incorporate sustainable design principles into your next home renovation or extension project? You’ve come to the right place. At CODA Bespoke, we're passionate about ideas that not only enhance your living space but embrace sustainable design.

For us, eco-conscious design isn’t just a trend but a way to create a greener, more energy-efficient spaces that don’t compromise on style or luxury. Looking for inspiration? Read on as we explore over 20 creative ways to design sustainable home renovations and extensions.

1. Incorporate passive solar design

As far as we’re concerned, harnessing the power of the sun is one of the most underutilised sustainable design principles. Put simply, passive solar design maximises natural sunlight and minimises energy consumption. The result? Your home is filled with natural light and your energy bills stay as low as possible.

What’s not to love? Consider adding large, south-facing windows to capture the sun's warmth during the winter. This not only reduces heating costs contributes to a bright and inviting living space.

2. Embrace reclaimed materials

Instead of buying new, consider reclaimed and recycled materials for your renovation or extension. Salvaged wood, bricks and even reclaimed metal can add character to your home while reducing the demand for new resources. It's a win-win for aesthetics and sustainability. Don’t be afraid to get creative with reclaimed materials and find an architect and builders who share your vision.

3. Green roofs and living walls

Green roofs and living walls have serious Instagram appeal but they’re more than just a trend. Covering your roof with vegetation not only looks striking but can improve insulation, reduce stormwater runoff and create a habitat for wildlife. Inside, living walls help to improve air quality and serve as a stunning visual feature that brings the outdoors in.

4. Energy-efficient windows and doors

Upgrading to energy-efficient windows and doors is one of the easiest ways to improve the sustainability credentials of your renovation project. Look for options with high insulation values to keep your home comfortable year-round.

5. Install underfloor heating

Ditch the traditional radiators and opt for underfloor heating. Luxurious and energy-efficient, modern underfloor heating systems keep your home cosy while reducing your carbon footprint.

6. High-quality insulation

Never underestimate the importance of proper insulation. As well as keeping you comfortable, insulating your home reduces the need for constant heating or cooling, which translates to lower energy bills. To really give your home a sustainable edge, consider eco-friendly insulation materials like cork, sheep's wool and hemp.

7. Solar panels

Solar panels allow you to harness energy from the sun – not just heat as we discussed above. They require an initial investment but will soon pay for themselves in the form of significant long-term savings on your energy bills. With the right planning and design, there’s no need for them to be an eyesore either.

8. Rainwater harvesting system

Collecting and using rainwater for non-potable purposes is an easy way to improve the sustainability of your home. For example, H2O collected from your rainwater harvesting system can be used to water your garden or even flush toilets. Some homeowners go one step further and use rainwater collection as their sole source of water.

9. Smart home technology

Integrate smart home technology into your renovation and embrace eco-friendly solutions like energy-efficient lighting, thermostats and home automation systems to control energy usage.

10. Minimise waste

During your renovation, aim to minimise waste by recycling and reusing materials where possible. The best way to do this is to chat to your architect, builders and contractors about waste reduction solutions before starting your project.

11. Modular extensions

Modular extensions are a smart and sustainable way to expand your living space. They’re prefabricated offsite, which reduces construction waste. Plus, they can be designed with sustainability in mind and packed with energy-efficient features.

12. Indoor air quality

Improve your indoor air quality by choosing low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and finishes. This will help keep the air in your home fresh and toxin-free. Proper ventilation systems can also help improve indoor air quality.

13. Heritage preservation

If your home has historic or heritage value, taking measures to preserve its unique character is a thoughtful way to respect the past while updating your property.

14. Adopt Passive House principles

Take cues from the Germans and adopt Passive House principles in your renovation or extension. Also known as Passivhaus, the voluntary standard focuses on creating airtight and super-insulated buildings that require minimal energy for heating and cooling. The movement is gaining momentum in the UK and is a great way to combat soaring energy costs.

15. Bespoke design solutions

All homes are unique which is why a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t always work when it comes to renovations and extensions – especially when sustainability is a priority. Improve the quality and sustainability of your project by working with a professional design team that can help bring your vision to life.

16. Local materials

Where possible, opt for locally sourced materials to reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation. From locally quarried stone to timber sourced from sustainably managed forests, there’s often no need to import from abroad. Supporting local suppliers also strengthens your local economy and lends homegrown appeal to your project.

17. Eco-friendly landscaping

Don't forget about your outdoor spaces when thinking about creative ways to incorporate sustainable into your home improvement project. From native plants and water-efficient irrigation to eco-friendly hardscape materials, your landscaping reflects your home's sustainability.

21. Consult the experts

To truly lean into a sustainable home renovation or extension project, consulting the experts is crucial. At CODA Bespoke, we have a team of dedicated architects, planners and designers who can guide you through the process and help expand, elaborate on and improve your sustainability ideas.

Realise your sustainable vision with CODA Bespoke

Ready to jumpstart your sustainable home renovation or extension project? Whether your vision is to transform a centuries-old heritage building into an energy-efficient home or breathe new life into an existing property, we specialise in creating luxurious spaces that aren’t afraid to take a creative approach to sustainability.

Take a look at some of our renovation and extension projects or call us on 0114 279 4931 to discuss your dream home.

Photo credit: Rayner Builders

Designed to control urban sprawl and protect the natural environment, green belts are found across the UK. They’re beloved public spaces but when it comes to development, restrictions can be tight.

Looking for information on how to secure planning permission on green belt land? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how to navigate the red tape, and explore some different strategies to help your green belt development application get the green light.

Continuing the legacy of Octavia Hill

Before we get started, let’s take a moment to explore the history of green belts in the UK. The term was coined by English social activist Octavia Hill in 1875, as part of her petition to save the Swiss Cottage Fields in Hampstead from development. While her campaign was unsuccessful, her philosophy of "open spaces for all” inspired the foundation of The National Trust in 1895.

Today, green belts continue to play an important role in preventing urban sprawl and preserving the picturesque British countryside. They represent one of the highest levels of protection within the national urban planning system and while this does make development challenging, it’s not impossible.

Creating your dream home on green belt land

If you have a vision for green belt land, these pathways will help you navigate the process. Our goal? To create a solution that matches your development goals while respecting the green belt philosophy to protect the "life-enhancing virtues of pure earth, clean air and blue sky" that Miss Hill valued so much.

1.    Apply to remove land from the green belt zone

One of the most straightforward ways to develop green belt land is to remove it from the protected zone. Under the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), local planning authorities have the discretion to remove land from the green belt where "exceptional circumstances” exist.

For example, an “exceptional circumstance” may include a shortage of land for new homes. While promising, this pathway can be highly competitive. Success hinges on promoting your site as a smart and sustainable choice for development.

2.    Convert and agricultural building

From centuries-old barns to abandoned grain silos, converting agricultural buildings can be a clever way to overcome green belt development restrictions. The demolition of agricultural buildings on green belt land is often prohibited. However, under Class Q of the General Permitted Development Order, residential conversions may be approved. With the right architectural insight on your side, even the most rundown pastoral structures can be reimagined as beautiful, functional homes.

3.    Consider infill development

Applying for planning permission from infill development angle is another option. Also known as backland development, the process describes the development of vacant or under-utilised land close to developed urban areas. The logic is to release land to developers without compromising the integrity of the green belt.

Infill development applications can be a great way to secure planning permission within designated green belts. However, the approval process can be highly subjective and is often at the discretion of local planning authorities.

For the best chance of success, your application should be thoughtful and sensitive to the unique needs of the community. It should protect the integrity of the green belt and respect the existing pattern of development in the area.

4.    Prove "very special circumstances"

This approach calls on local authorities to consider “very special circumstances” when approving or denying green belt development applications. You’ll need to prove your project is unique and can only be realised on the specific site in question.

A shortage of housing land in the local area is one angle. But it’s not always enough to constitute "very special circumstances." Success is typically higher when the "very special circumstance" is something like the restoration of a heritage-listed building within a green belt area.

5.    Leverage the Paragraph 80 exemption

Paragraph 80 (formerly known as Paragraph 79) projects take advantage of an exemption clause in the NPPF. Also called the country house exemption clause, it helps push through proposals that would otherwise be refused and is especially useful when developing green belt land.

To qualify for approval, a project must be “of exceptional quality” and “truly outstanding or innovative”. The NPPF states it must reflect “the highest standards in architecture” and “help to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas”. The property must also “significantly enhance its immediate setting, and be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area.”

These types of builds are generally architect-designed with a luxurious feel. They champion living spaces that exist in harmony with the natural landscape and are often featured in publications like Grand Designs. For example, the conversion of Underhill House, a 300-year-old stone structure located in The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, into an eco-friendly Passivhaus was approved under the Paragraph 80 exemption.

6.    Enlist the help of an expert architectural practice

In most cases, securing planning permission on green belt land is a complex process laced with hurdles. Approval often depends not only on building a strong case to convince local planning authorities, but also a deep understanding of local planning systems, politics and community dynamics. This is where it pays to enlist the help of an expert architectural practice.

Realise your vision with CODA Bespoke

At CODA Bespoke, we underpin every planning permission application with a commitment to protecting the British green belt network. We understand the delicate balance that exists between safeguarding green spaces, addressing the need for housing and helping clients create their dream homes.

Many of our projects are approved under the Paragraph 80 exemption. This requires an in-depth understanding of local planning systems, as well as a commitment to the highest standards of design and innovation.

Our in-house team of planning consultants work tirelessly to create convincing applications that showcase the exceptional qualities of every project. We also have a wealth of experience working closely with local councils and planning authorities, including a proactive approach to negotiations. It’s this commitment to both our clients and the British green belt network that helps us achieve a high level of success for green belt applications.

Ready to build? Contact us today to explore how we can help you secure planning permission for your green belt land project and create your dream home.

Transforming a house from drab to fab can be a rewarding process. But it's not one that should be entered into lightly.

To succeed in renovating a home, it's important to plan carefully and pay attention to details from the start. Let’s look at two main parts of home renovation – choosing a property and how to transform it.

Factors to consider when choosing a property


The old real estate adage, "location, location, location," rings true. The location of your property will influence not just its current worth but also its future appreciation. Consider how close you are to public transportation, schools, shopping centres and other facilities. Remember to consider the neighbourhood's safety and future development plans.


Your budget will determine a lot of what you can do. Think about the cost of buying the house, the money you'll need to fix it up and extra money for surprises. It's a good idea to set aside an extra 10-20% of your budget for unexpected costs.

This contingency money can be a lifesaver if you run into problems like plumbing issues or electrical repairs that you didn't plan for. Keeping a cushion for these unplanned expenses will help keep your renovation project running smoothly and can save you from a lot of stress.

Structural integrity

Get an expert to check the house to make sure it's in good shape. Watch out for big problems like a weak foundations, wood-eating insects or old wiring and pipes. Fixing these can cost a lot of extra money. Having an expert's opinion can help you avoid expense later down the line.

Future resale value

Even if you want to live in the house for a long time, think about how much you could sell it for in the future. Look at how house prices are changing in the area, what renovations you're planning and what similar houses nearby cost. This will help you make smarter choices.

Project scope

Assess the house to see if it fits what you want to do. If you want to make big changes, a house that needs a lot of work might be good for you. But if you want to finish fast, pick a house that only needs small renovations. If you know what you want ahead of time you will pick the right house and avoid wasting time and money.

Planning the transformation

Budgeting and financing

Once you've selected your property, revisit your budget. Get a few quotes from different builders, check the cost of materials and don't forget money for permits or designs. If it's looking too expensive, think about getting a loan or doing fewer changes to the house.

Prioritising renovations

Not all renovations are created equal in terms of return on investment and impact on living conditions. Fix the important things first, like a weak floor or roof. Making the kitchen or bathroom nicer usually helps the most if you want to sell the house at a later date.

After that, you can look at other changes like painting or adding new furniture. These smaller upgrades can make the house look better but may not add as much value compared to the improvements we’ve already mentioned. It's good to know what changes will help you the most, whether you plan to stay long-term or you’re selling in the near future.

Hiring professionals

For big or complicated projects, it's really important to get help from people who know what they're doing. Architects can turn your ideas into real plans and contractors will turn that vision into a reality. Ensure that you pick reputable professionals by asking for recommendations, looking at their past work and making sure they have the right qualifications and insurance.

Legal requirements

Before you pick up a sledgehammer, familiarise yourself with local building regulations and obtain any required permits. If you don't follow the rules, you could get fined or have to undo what you've done. Being ahead of the game with planning permissions and building regulations will ensure your project goes much smoother.


Building repairs often take longer than you think. There are a lot of moving parts to keep on top of to make sure that timings are coordinated and that your project is finished on time. Consider factors such as weather, availability of materials and builders schedules. This information can all help you be more prepared for delays.

Material choices

The types of materials you choose can greatly affect both the cost and the aesthetic of your renovation.  You can go cheaper or more expensive, but make sure they fit what you want and how much money you can spend. This way, your house will look good without going over budget.

Quality vs. savings

You might want to save money by doing some things cheaply. But be careful. Important elements like the wiring or the strength of the building should not be skimped on. It's good to spend more money on these vital aspects and save money on less important areas. This way, your house will still have a safe structure that you can enjoy for years to come.


An often overlooked aspect is the sustainability of your renovation. Things that save energy will make a big difference to costs and energy efficiency, for example, using bamboo or cork insulation. You could even put in solar panels. Doing this is not just good for the environment but can also save you money in the long run. So, it's a win-win to think about being eco-friendly when renovating a house.

Expert help and guidance with CODA Bespoke

CODA Bespoke is a Sheffield-based, award-winning architectural firm dedicated to bringing your dream home to life. Specialising in high-quality designs, innovative approaches and exceptional customer service, we are your go-to experts for every phase of your home renovation project.

To discuss your ideas and options, contact the friendly team at CODA Bespoke. You can also explore our rich online portfolio to view past renovation projects that we've successfully transformed.

As our lives progress and families grow, the need for additional space in our homes becomes important. Whether you want to accommodate a growing family, add value to your property or create specific, functional rooms, extensions allow you to expand your home however you see fit. However, starting an extension project in the UK can feel like a momentous task.

Thankfully, with a touch of planning and foresight, the difficulties around this subject can be mitigated. This comprehensive guide aims to provide you with valuable insights into the world of house extensions. We’re going to explore everything from the reason why you might choose a house extension to planning permission considerations and cost breakdowns.

Why choose a house extension?

1. Create a new space

One of the main reasons homeowners choose house extensions is to address their growing space needs. Perhaps you want to accommodate a larger family, set up a home office or create a dedicated playroom for the kids. By making the most of your available space, a well-planned extension can transform your home for the better.

2. Extend instead of moving

We all know how stressful moving can be, not to mention expensive! House extensions offer a suitable alternative, allowing you to stay in the home you love whilst increasing your living space. This will not only save you the costs that come with moving but will also allow you to stay in a familiar setting.

3. Create specific rooms

Do you daydream about having a roomier kitchen, a luxurious master suite or a sunlit drawing room? House extensions are the perfect chance for you to bring these visions to life! By planning a customised extension project, you can design specific rooms that fit your lifestyle and preferences.

4. Adding value to the property

Investing in a well-designed and professionally executed house extension can massively increase the value of your property. The benefit here is twofold. Not only will this allow you to make use of the space while you live there, but it will also allow you to entice potential buyers when you do decide to move.

House extension cost breakdown

Before getting started with a house extension project, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the costs involved. The complete expenses of a project can vary depending on a few factors. Consider the size of your planned extension, the complexity of the room you want to create, the chosen materials and the location of your property. In the following sections, we’re going to look at some of the main costs to consider.

1. Design and planning costs

To get started, you’re going to need to hire an architect or a professional designer who can draw up plans for your house extension. The cost of this is usually somewhere around 5% to 15% of your total budget.

2. Construction costs

The construction costs of your extension will be a large percentage of your budget. This is because you must cover materials, labour and any specialised equipment that you’ll need for the build. You should know that on average, construction costs for a given room can range anywhere from £1,800 to £2,600 per square meter, depending on the complexity of the project.

3. Planning permission and building regulations

We’re going to go into more detail about Planning Permission in a later section of this post, but you should know that fees associated with this process will come into play. Getting planning permission and complying with UK building regulations is a vital step in any project and it usually costs £206 for a house extension application.

4. Contingency fund

You should consider setting aside 10% of your budget as a contingency fund. This will give you a safety harness in case anything goes wrong. In any extension project, there can be unforeseen issues or challenges during the construction process.

5. Fixtures and fittings

When it comes to house extensions, the choice of fixtures and fittings can significantly impact the overall cost. Luxurious touches, such as bespoke flooring, fitted joinery, or intricate tiling, undoubtedly add a touch of elegance and uniqueness to your extension, but they also come with a higher price tag. If you are working with a limited budget, opting for more basic designs like simply painted walls, standard lighting, and engineered wood floors can help keep costs in check without compromising on functionality and aesthetics.

Moreover, when planning to install additional features like a new bathroom or extended kitchen, it's essential to be prepared for the potential hike in costs. The required fittings and modifications for these extra amenities can add to the overall expenses of your extension project. Striking a balance between your desired fixtures and fittings and your budget will ultimately determine the success and satisfaction of your house extension endeavour.

House extension planning permission

Before you go ahead with your house extension, you must check whether you need planning permission or if you can proceed under permitted development rights. Permitted development allows you to undertake certain types of small-scale extensions without the need for formal planning permission. You should note, however, that there are requirements for size, location and appearance, including:

  • The extension and other outbuildings mustn’t cover more than half the area around the original house.
  • There should be no extension forward of the principal elevation or side elevation fronting a highway.
  • Side extensions must be a single storey with a maximum height of 4m and width no more than half the original house.
  • Rear extensions must be no more than 4m in height and not extend beyond the original house’s rear wall by more than 4m.
  • Upper floor windows must be obscure glazed on a side-elevation.
  • Materials should be similar to the appearance of the existing house.

For larger-scale extensions, there’s a good chance you will need planning permission. To do this, you’ll have to submit the details of your project (including detailed plans and documents) to your local planning authority. This can be a lengthy process, so it’s important to begin it as early as you can.

This process can get especially complex if you are looking to extend a listed or high-grade building. Getting your planned extension approved can be made easier by having detailed, extensive plans that cover everything your building authority needs to know. This is where you’ll need professional help from an architect or designer – more on this below.

How can an architect help with a house extension project?

Finding the right help for your house extension project is vital for its success. You need reliable experts who will help turn your dream into a reality. As well as hands-on contractors, an architect can add so much value to your project, including:

  • Making the most of the space you have available.
  • Turning your vision into a reality.
  • Obtaining planning permission as quickly as possible without compromising on your plans.
  • Sourcing skilled contractors from an already established network.
  • Project management to keep everything running smoothly.

Build your dream home with CODA Bespoke

Adding an extension to your house can feel like a big challenge, but with help from experts and a realistic quote, you’ll be much closer. CODA Bespoke is an award-winning architecture practice in Sheffield with a mission to make your dream house become a reality. With a focus on quality, innovation and forging a positive customer experience, we can help you with each stage of your extension project.

Contact CODA Bespoke to speak with our friendly, experienced team, or check out our extensive online portfolio to see the previous extensions we have turned into a reality.

Loft conversions are a great way to add space and value to your home without having to move. Whether you need an extra bedroom, playroom or office – converting your loft is a great way to extend your living space.

As every home is individual there are many different elements to take into account. It can be a complicated process. But never fear – this loft conversion guide will take you through all the important parts of a loft conversion and what you need to consider.

Do you need planning permission for a loft conversion?

It’s essential that you find out the answer to this question before you go any further. If you are planning a build or conversion and don’t confirm whether you need planning permission – chances are you’ll run into trouble. And you could even be told to get rid of your loft conversion if you go ahead without checking first.

Contact your local council and find out if your plan is a permitted development or not. If your loft conversion is a permitted development, then you can get on with your build as planning permission isn’t needed.

The types of projects where loft conversion planning permission isn’t needed include:

  • The additional space is less than 50 cubic metres
  • Your building has always been a residential one
  • The pitch on your roof will stay the same
  • There aren’t any existing added storeys
  • The loft conversion doesn’t have a window on the side of the house

How to get loft conversion planning permission

If you find that your planned loft conversion doesn’t meet the criteria above, then it’s likely that you do need planning permission. In order to get it, you can apply to your council for a Lawful Development Certificate.

This is a legal document from the local planning authority that clarifies what permissions are needed when altering or building a property. It is good to have as it can give peace of mind over whether your plans are lawful or not. If you do need planning permission, you will then need to notify your local council exactly what your project entails – type, size and location of your loft conversion.

Types of loft conversion

There are five main types of loft conversion skylight loft conversions, dormer loft conversions, hip to gable loft conversions and mansard loft conversions. The most suitable type of loft conversion for your needs will primarily be influenced by your property's style and your budget. Additionally, it's essential to consider your existing roof structure and be mindful of any planning restrictions that may apply in your local area.

Skylight Loft Conversion:

A cost-effective option that introduces skylights to brighten up the loft space with natural sunlight, creating a warm and inviting ambiance without major structural changes. Perfect for smaller spaces or those on a budget, such as creating a cozy home office or an extra bedroom.

Dormer Loft Conversion:

Dormer conversions project vertically from the roof slope and use standard windows to increase the useful floor area and headroom. They come in various styles, including single, double, or full-width dormers, suitable for expanding families or incorporating larger rooms.

Hip to Gable Loft Conversion:

This type extends the side roof to a gable end, providing more space and allowing for practical room layouts. Ideal for homes with hipped roofs, like many semi-detached houses, and offers flexibility in designing bedrooms or home offices.

Mansard Loft Conversion:

A grand transformation that replaces the sloping roof with a nearly vertical wall, creating a generous internal space with increased headroom. Though one of the more complex and expensive options, it adds significant value to your home and is perfect for various property styles.

L-Shaped Loft Conversion:

Tailored for properties with rear extensions, L-shaped conversions involve a dormer with one end extending from the main roof. This type allows for bedrooms with separate bathrooms and offers ample storage space, making it a versatile and practical choice.

Factors that affect loft conversion costs

A typical loft conversion can cost around £60,000 or more. You might wonder how this breaks down in terms of costs, so have a look at the factors that affect the prices involved:

  • Size of your loft
  • Existing roof structure
  • Type of loft conversion
  • Style and level of specification
  • Length of time taken

Example loft conversion costs

Obviously, every home is different and so every loft conversion won’t be the same. But average loft conversion costs can be worked out based on the type of house and type of conversion.

Generally, you can expect to pay around £60-£80k for a new loft conversion, with some projects costing upwards of £100k depending on the size of the space being converted and the quality of finish. Below are some ball-park figures for popular loft conversion types based on an average 45m2 space…

  • Skylight loft conversion – £50,000 to £90,000
  • Mansard loft conversion - £65,000 to £110,000
  • Hip to gable loft conversion - £65,000 to £120,000
  • Main dormer loft conversion - £60,000 to £100,000
  • L shaped dormer conversion - £70,000 to £120,000
  • Hip to gable with main dormer – £80,000 to £150,000

Note: The estimates provided above don’t include VAT or the cost of fittings or glazing. You’ll also have to consider legal costs and professional fees, which we’ll outline below…

How do the costs break down?

Loft conversions aren’t an out-of-the-box installation. Instead, the cost comprises lots of different factors and parties, with a typical break down as follows:

  • Contractors - 30%
  • Materials - 20%
  • Glazing - 15%
  • Fittings - 5%
  • Structural Engineers - 4%
  • Surveyors - 3%
  • Architects - 2-7%
  • Administration fees - 1%
  • Additionally, VAT – 20%

1. Flooring

Popular flooring choices are vinyl, wood, carpet and tiled. Per m2, you would expect to pay between £10 - £100, depending on your preference.

2. Insulation

Insulation is clearly extremely important when it comes to a new loft conversion. You can choose from sheet and blanket insulation – up to £30 per m2. Or loose-fill insulation – up to £15 per m2.

3. Stairs

Basic staircases can cost between £1,500 - £2,500. Stairs with a more unique style will cost closer to £5,000 - £10,000.

4. Labour

Labour costs will be one of the biggest expenses you will encounter. As you will need a wide range of different professionals to do the work, the overall price can rise very quickly. Hourly rates for tradespeople are usually around £25 - £35 per hour for plasterers and decorators. You are likely to pay a bit more for electricians and plumbers.

5. Surveying, planning, building regulations and architectural fees

It's essential to factor in the various costs associated with the initial stages of the project. Surveying fees cover the assessment of your loft's structural integrity and provide crucial information for the conversion process. Planning fees encompass any necessary applications to local authorities to obtain planning permission if required. Building regulations fees involve ensuring the loft conversion meets safety and construction standards. Architectural fees account for the professional expertise needed to design the conversion and create detailed plans. These costs vary depending on the complexity of the project and your location but you can expect that 10-15% of your budget will go towards these costs.

Don’t forget that there are likely to be a few additional costs such as moving the water tank, painting exterior of house or a bit of cladding and rendering. It’s important to set aside a contingency amount for all the little jobs that can pop up.

DIY loft conversion guide

If you’re feeling brave and want a project, you could reduce costs by doing a DIY loft conversion or part loft conversion. Hire professionals to create the shell (stairs, flooring and wall) and then do the rest yourself. This could save you approximately £10,000, bringing the average cost down to £30k.

This option could suit some people with building experience and the time to do it themselves. But for those who are new to DIY conversions, using a professional team is a much smarter and smoother way to get the best results.

Get your dream loft conversion with CODA Bespoke

If you want to transform your loft into the ultimate additional living space or bedroom, contact CODA Bespoke to get expert advice and a realistic quote.

Our RIBA-accredited professional architects will design a luxurious, unique space that suits your home and lifestyle. Our team can also guide you through the entire project, making sure everything runs smoothly.

Contact CODA Bespoke today and our friendly, experienced team can talk through your requirements. Or browse our portfolio to take a look at some of our recent projects.

Barn conversions are an exciting way to get the stylish, unique and spacious home you’ve dreamed of. Images of high beams, beautiful authentic flooring and true open plan living will float through your head as you mentally design and style it out.

There’s nothing wrong with having an ambitious goal in mind. But when it comes to the actual planning and construction of your barn conversion, there’s a lot to consider. Read on for a comprehensive barn conversion guide to make things a little easier.

Does a barn conversion need planning permission?

Planning permission is the elephant in the room when you talk about any new development. Fortunately, barn conversions may be classed as a Class Q permitted development as they are using an existing building. However, the barn in question needs to meet the following requirements:

  • It must have been used solely for agricultural purposes for at least 10 years.
  • The total floorspace being converted must not exceed 465m².
  • You must stay within the maximum of five new homes created from existing agricultural structures.
  • The conversion will need to keep the building’s character, respect surrounding wildlife and be in keeping with the surroundings.
  • Your project must not be a listed building or in a conservation area.
  • You must have consent of tenants if your site is subject to agricultural tenancy.

All of this will need to be demonstrated to your local authority to secure Class Q permitted development rights with a lawful development certificate. This includes approval for various factors relating to the barn conversion, such as:

  • Transport
  • Noise
  • Contamination
  • Flooding

On the other hand, if you fail to meet any of the above criteria, you’ll need to apply for planning permission. As above, you can increase your application’s chances of success by retaining the building’s character and considering the surroundings. The timeframe for both routes is similar, with both planning permission and lawful development certificate decisions typically taking 8-13 weeks.

Barn conversion process

It can be a long process from concept to completion with a new barn conversion. Here’s a brief guide to some steps along the way:

  1. Arrange a mortgage/finances and find a barn.
  2. Plan a budget carefully and comprehensively. Remember to add a contingency.
  3. Get surveys done and buy the property.
  4. Find an architect to design your project and tweak the budget to include specific materials and labour.
  5. Make sure plans are permitted or apply for planning permission if needed.
  6. Put the contract out to tender and organise insurance.
  7. Start the build on site.
  8. Fix the structure, damp proofing, repairing roof.
  9. Start on the internal structure.
  10. Install first-fix plumbing and electrics.
  11. Complete plastering and second-fix plumbing and electrics.
  12. Finally, decorate.

Barn conversion costs

The finances are probably the most important and stressful part of your barn conversion. It is essential to do your research at the beginning extremely carefully, so you aren’t hit with any extra costs that you didn’t know about. Any Grand Designs fan will know how easy it is for the budget to skyrocket!

Make sure you are as precise as you can be with your barn conversion costs and utilise your architect’s knowledge to keep finances on track.

Checkatrade advises that the average barn conversion costs around £275,000. That’s around £153 per square foot. If you are converting a small barn, you could manage it for £175,000 depending on the quality of fixtures and fittings wanted. But remember that this is after you have bought the existing structure. As for extra costs, if you’re going for energy-efficient heating such as an air source heat pump, you could be looking at an extra bill of around £30,000.

Other costs that could crop up include:

  • Asbestos removal
  • Repointing
  • Dealing with mould and damp
  • Replacing the floor
  • Installing extra insulation

5 barn conversion benefits

With the requirements listed above, you might be wondering whether it’s worth the effort and costs to convert a barn. The answer is still a resounding yes. Here’s why…

1.    Indoor-outdoor living

Barn conversions are perfect for allowing you to think outside the box with design. You would be missing a trick if you didn’t consider bi-fold doors that open out into the garden, for example. This gives you the option to combine house and garden, creating a flowing style from inside to outside.

2.    Energy-efficient building

Advances in eco-friendly energy are a huge benefit of barn conversions. Heating options such as air source heat pumps (ASHP) can potentially save up to 65% in energy usage and running costs. You could also take advantage of the Renewable Energy Heat Incentive (RHI), entitling you to financial rewards for creating renewable heat.

3.    Best countryside views

As barns tend to be in the countryside, you are likely to have idyllic views on your doorstep. Surrounded by rural beauty, some barn conversions were once the local cow shed and are still seen as vital to the landscape. Your new home will often be in the midst of open countryside but with no need to rough it – giving you the best of both worlds.

Remember to consider what direction the best views are in before deciding where to place your windows or patio doors.

4.    Good chance of getting planning permission

If your barn conversion needs planning permission, you have a very good chance of it being granted. You need to make sure though that your design is an improvement to the original and stays basically the same height and footprint. The Local Planning Authorities (LPA) will also look more favourably on your conversion if it isn’t likely to adversely affect the countryside.

5.    Mix of styles

Designing a barn conversion gives you the opportunity to mix old and new. Utilise the existing style of the building to inspire the interior. You will be able to combine traditional features like exposed beams with modern smart audio-visual technology. Living in a barn conversion with a design mix will show off your personal style as well as provide practicality and comfort.

How can an architect help with a barn conversion?

Barn conversions are a great way to create your dream living space, but they aren’t without their challenges. Having an experienced architect on your side can make the process a lot easier and help turn your vision into a reality.

It’s not just about designs and drawings either. As award-winning architects in Sheffield, CODA Bespoke can help with every step of the barn conversion process, from planning permission and budget management to project managing your build.

If you want to find out more about the practicalities of a barn conversion and how we can help, simply call our experienced team on 0114 279 4931 or email us at hello@codabespoke.co.uk and we will get started on bringing your project to life.

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