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FAQ

How long will it take to organize a site visit?
This can be done relatively quickly. All you have to do is go to the ‘Contact’ bar at the top of the page, fill out the form, and send it in to us. Someone from extend will then contact you in the next few days to set up a meeting.

Do you do evening or weekend meetings?
We tend to confine site visits to office hours only, 9.00am to 5.30pm. We can organise meetings between 8.00am and ending before 7.00pm but it may take longer to arrange. If you can’t make it between these hours if you send information to us on your brief with photographs of the property we should be able to discuss the project over the phone.

What happens in the initial site visit?
The purpose of the initial site visit is to offer advice to the customer. We will at first listen to the clients wants and needs, assess the situation on the site at present and then offer a number of solutions for what we feel is possible, both internally and externally. We will then advise on whether or not planning permission is necessary, and give a very approximate costing of the extension as described by the client. Every situation that our architects encounter has a different solution.

What happens after the site visit?
After each site visit, our architects return to the office, with notes in hand and reply in writing as to what was discussed at the visit. We will describe the house as it stands and outline what is wanted. We will then offer a fee to the client based on the approximate costing of the extension and the level of service required ie. Pack A, B or C. A contract document will accompany the letter. If you are happy to proceed with the proposed fee and services, sign the contract and post it back to us. Once received, we will contact you to arrange for surveyor to call out to properly measure the building. The design process can begin once the survey has been drawn up.

Do you work outside of Dublin?
We do consider work outside of Dublin but it may depend on size and nature of that particular project. It would be very uneconomical for us for us to take on a small job that is far away from our offices. We try to keep to the 4 councils of Dublin City and County as we have a good knowledge of their requirements and relationship with the planners. Please contact us to discuss your project and we should be able to tell you if the job is suitable for extend or not.

How long does it take it generally take to get an extension built?
Usually, the design process will take around 2 months depending on the speed of reaction by the client to our design proposals. Some design processes can be very quick. The planning process should take 3 months but can be a lot longer if the decision is appealed by a third party. The preparation of construction drawings can take a further month. The time a builder will need on site should take between 3 months (for a 100,000 extension) up to 8 months (for a €400,000 extension), all depending on the nature and complexity of the task in hand. Looking at the above figures, a small job may take as little as 6 months in total, while a large job may take up to 14 months.

How do you get the design I want?
On most houses there will be a number of options that will fulfil your brief. The design meetings are held to discuss all these options and through open discussion and by presenting the drawings to you, it will make your decisions easier. It normally takes 3-4 meetings to get the outline of the design decided. Designing a house is a step by step process, there is no point looking for a kitchen if you don’t know what size or shape the space is. Our staff are very experienced in dealing with house extensions, most house types we will have dealt with before, and if not we’re up for the challenge! It is very important to let your feelings known about how you feel the design process is going.

Why do I need an engineer?
A Structural Engineer is responsible for the design of the structure of the building, from the foundations of the walls, up to the design of the roof timbers.

Can I move from a Pack A to a Pack C?
Yes you can. There is a certain amount of flexibility in our packs. However this may work out a more costly approach.

Planning Permission
Do I need to get planning permission?
This depends on the size and location of your proposed extension. Your architect should be able to determine whether or not this is required on his initial site visit, although if the design changes substantially during the design process, then these changes may affect our initial opinion.

What is Exempt Development?
It is possible to extend your home by up to 40sqm to the rear without the permission of the planning authority. The extension must fulfil a list of criteria to qualify for this exemption. One must be very careful proceeding with this option without getting professional advice.

What happens if I get refused planning permission?
Being refused planning permission is a big setback but can usually be overcome easily enough. It depends on why you have been refused. If you feel that your local authority’s decision is unreasonable, then you may appeal their decision to An Bord Pleanala. This will cost you €220 and will take up to 6 months in time. If you feel that maybe your initial application was maybe too large, then maybe you will want to reconsider your design, and reapply for planning permission with a design of lesser impact.

How long does it take?
Planning applications should take no longer than 12 weeks altogether: 5 weeks for application to be validated and for third parties to make any observations, a further 3 weeks for the Planning Authority to make their decision, and a further 4 weeks for any third party objectors or yourselves to appeal the decision made. The Local Authority may request more time if they feel they need it but this is unusual.

What is “an bord pleanala”?
An Bord Pleanala is a higher governing body to the local planning authorities formed to ensure that the planning processes within the country are being regulated fairly across the board. If anyone is unhappy with a decision made by their local authority, they may appeal this decision to An Bord Pleanala. It may be an appeal by someone against a refusal to their own planning application, or it may be a third party appealing against a granted permission for say, their neighbour.

What are building regulations and how do they allow to my home?
Building Regulations were created to ensure all buildings built in this country are built to certain standards. It ensures that buildings are erected with proper room sizes, ceiling heights, insulation properties, fire escape, circulation, storage etc. If extending, these regulations will apply to the extended areas of your home only but it is prudent to try to apply them to the existing building where possible, within reason.

What legal requirements do I need to fulfil?
You will require certificates that the works were carried out in accordance with building and planning regulations. They are required if you wish to sell the property and can also be requested by lending institutions for the release of money.

Money
Can extend tell me how much my extension will cost?
On our first visit to your home, extend will give you a very rough estimate of the works described to us by yourself. It is impossible to give anything accurate at that stage. Once you are on board with extend and a design has been finalised that you are happy with, we will give that design to our Quantity Surveyor, and he will be able to price the works accurately. This will ensure that you don’t end up going for planning with a design that you cannot afford to build. The quantity surveyor's estimate is only included in the PACK C service.

Do you have any tips on how I can control my budget?
Be realistic about costs. You may not be able to afford everything you want so spreading your money evenly through your project will provide a more balanced result. There is no point in having a beautifully adorned living room and then having to suffer with a sub-standard kitchen. The more details that you can tie down at Construction Drawing Stage, the better. If all items are chosen and specified for pricing by the builder before he starts, then you will have an easier time of it on site. Including extras to beat the band while the builder is on site will only add to costs. Ensure you are very happy with the design before you agree finalising it. If you start changing positions of walls doors and windows on site, it will also greatly add to costs, and upset the builder. Try not to change your mind as last minute design changes are a sure fire way of losing control over your budget. Your choice of fittings and finishes can help determine the overall budget. There are less expensive alternatives to designer products if you look hard enough. The cost of a luxury fit out can be two or three times the cost of a basic or budget fit out. Contrary to popular belief, the choice of fittings often is the most influential issue to affect the cost of a building project.

The Construction
How long will the construction take?
Most extensions take between 3 and 8 months. There are a number of elements that effect the construction time like Lead-in times from suppliers, access to the site, the weather, if the client is living on site during the works, to name but a few. For example some windows will have a lead-in time of 2 weeks while others may take 6 weeks. Contractors will want to get the structure up before they order the windows, so that they fit correctly. Getting the structure up on the smallest of jobs will take a minimum of 4 weeks and then you may have a 6 week wait on the windows to arrive.

What securities have I with the builder?
You will be signing a standard RIAI short form contract with the builder. These are simple enough contracts formed to protect all parties legally from lack of fulfilment of duties from the other party. It outlines the roles of the client and contractor during the construction period, the payment procedure, retention, insurances, damages etc. You do not pay the builder until he has completed the works and we have checked that he has built everything that he is charging for. This is done at the end of each month so that payment are made on a regular basis. The contractor also carries his own insurance which also gives you a further safety net. You should ask to see his insurances up front.

Will I need to move out of my house during the construction?
We would advise this on most occasions. It is almost impossible to live a normal life while works are ongoing in your home. Some small extensions to the rear of the home can be built first and then the wall knocked in at the very end of the job. In these cases the time that you are out of your home can be shortened. Generally the rent that you try and save by staying in your home will not be saved. It will be more expensive for the builder to build your extension whilst trying to tip-toe around you.

What happens if a builder takes forever to finish my extension?
You should always ask your architect to have the builder draft up a program for the works if time is a big factor. This will be a document with which to monitor the builder’s progress by. You must also ensure that you are not delaying him in any way by not providing the essential information needed for him to complete the works. We will advise you on the information required and sometimes you must decide quickly on finishes and fittings, if you have not already done so. Most contracts come with penalties so that the builder is deducted monies for every week that he is delaying the job. This generally amounts to monies that you are losing out on by renting another house.