Back to listings

What To Expect When You Are Extending

Building another room or another storey onto your house is a great option if you don’t want to move, but need the extra space, or just want to add value to your property. Here are some important things that you need to consider…

Building permits and Resource consents

Before you undertake any form of renovation, you need to have a good understanding of council requirements and restrictions. Even some seemingly simple renovation work requires the approval of local building authorities.

It’s important to get the right permits and approval, as failing to do so can cause all sorts of costly headaches and make the property harder to sell in the future.

Here are some examples of what you will need council approval for before starting your renovation:

  • Alterations and additions that affect the structural integrity of the house 
  • Sitework, meaning the earthworks for an extension 
  • Decks over 1 metre above ground level 

We recommend that you talk to your local council before you start any major renovations. 

Planning and Budget

When starting to plan your renovation, think about what you want to achieve. How much space do you need not only now, but in the future? Do you want to change the shape and structure of your home for added space? Or even to ensure you are getting the best sun or views?

Try talking to someone who has previously had a renovation done on their home and get them to share their experience with you. This will give you a good indication of what to expect. Also researching by checking out websites, magazines and brochures will help you to develop a clear idea of what you want.

Now that you have your dream renovation in your mind, it’s time to do the math.  How much can you realistically afford to spend on your renovation? How are you going to pay for your renovation? Will you borrow from the bank or a finance company? If so, have you checked their terms and conditions for a loan? How much can you spare for other costs that may arise such as potential delays, insurance and finding somewhere to live while the renovation is carried out? All these things must be taken into account.

Choosing an architect or designer, Builder and tradespeople

Finding an architect or architectural designer is one of the most important steps in your renovation process.  Major renovations involving taking out walls, adding new rooms or even a new kitchen will benefit from the design expertise of an architect or architectural designer. They can provide ideas to help maximise floor space, get the best sun and flow. They can also advise on materials and special design features, such as making the best use of natural lightheat and other energy efficiency aspects.

Most designers showcase previous work on their websites. Browse through a few websites to find a design that appeals to you, and be sure to read any feedback that may have been posted. Visit showhomes in your area.

Once you have someone in mind, you need to prepare for the first consultation. Have the following noted down:

  • The size of your budget
  • Design features you want included
  • The extent of changes you want i.e. basic, middle, extensive
  • How much you want to add on to your existing home in terms of floor space

Be prepared with questions to ask the architect or designer. These could include:

  • What qualifications do they have?
  • Are they a member of a professional organisation such as ADNZ or NZIA?
  • If not, are they qualified Licensed Building Practitioners?
  • What range of services do they provide?
  • Ask for references from previous clients

Most Architects and Designers have tradespeople that they work with. However if you prefer to find them yourself, you can search for them in the same way you would for an architect or designer. 

FPB recommends you always use a Registered Master Builder as they guarantee their work for 10 years. You can search for a builder in your area on their website.  Using a registered tradesperson is always a good idea, such as Master Plumbers and Gasfitters, Master Electricians, and Master Painters.

Obtain quotes or tenders from at least 3 builders in order to give you an idea of how much the project is going to cost, and from there, adjust your budget or plans accordingly.

Potential Disruptions

Depending on the type of renovation you are doing, there may be the need for you and your family to move out for a short period of time. If you aren’t able to move out, you are going to have to live with the mess and inconvenience, which can be stressful.

Living in the home while the renovation is being completed can delay the project considerably as the builders will need to ensure that they get the house back to a liveable standard at the end of each day, including reconnecting power, water, and cleaning up. It pays to make sure you have incorporated alternative accommodation costs in your budget.

Was this article helpful? Subscribe to receive our FREE monthly eNewsletter, or follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

View more articles

Find out what you can do to be Space Management savvy in the articles linked below.


What To Expect When You Are Extending
Download Spatial Design
FPB - Future Proof Building Principals
Energy Smart Health & Safety Life Cycle Quality Smart & Secure Sound Control Spatial Design Sustainability