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Make That Extension Achievable: A Step-By-Step Guide to Building on a Budget

24 June 2021

Most of us have been spending more time at home lately. It has become a space where we live, work, play and escape. All this extra time in one place has made us realise what we want from our homes and has pushed us to question whether the current layout and design is fit for our future.

There’s no doubt that an extension gives you more versatility and plenty of options, from adding on a home office or games room, to expanding your kitchen and dining spaces. But there’s also plenty to consider before deciding that it’s the right move for you.

So, if you’re planning an extension, check out this step-by-step guide to building on a budget and find out how you can make your dream a reality.

  1. Create a budget:

Creating a detailed budget is the first step, and it will give you a clear indication of what you can and can't do. When creating your budget, keep in mind there are some extra costs in building an extension like design and planning fees, insurance, and warranties on top of the building costs. Make sure to include all of these things in your budget from the beginning so you're not left short in the end.

Remember to be realistic with your estimates too. It's always better to budget for slightly more than you think you may need rather than less. It's also a good idea to set a portion of your budget aside, 10%-15%. This contingency fund ensures any extra costs that might crop up along the way won't impact your build. 

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  1. Hire experienced professionals:

This is the most important thing you can do when planning an extension. So take your time researching different architects until you find one that’s right for you.

Some people decide to cut out the architect and work solely with a builder. This is a risk that can save some money initially but may not leave you with the extension you had hoped for.

An architect not only focuses on the design but makes sure the build is safe and can steer you towards sustainable and more economical choices you may not have been aware of. They can also help prepare documents for planning permission, which brings us to our next point…

  1. Look into planning permission:

Planning permission changes depending on your situation and may or may not apply to you. For example, some extensions may be small enough to require no planning permission at all. An architect will be able to guide you through this, or you can find out more here.

You can apply for planning permission (if needed) once you have finalised your design. You then submit drawings and other relevant information to your local planning authority. Approvals are processed within eight weeks or more. 


  1. Make design decisions in advance:

Once you have settled on your final design, it’s a good idea to start looking into materials. Deciding on things like windows, doors, flooring, countertops etc. in advance can save on costs. But, if you are ordering anything, make sure your measurements are accurate; otherwise, you’ll be stuck with extra charges or something that doesn’t fit properly in your new extension.

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  1. Prepare for life during the build:

Depending on the size of your extension, you will decide to move out during the build or stay put.

If you’re staying put, think about how your amenities/circumstances may change. For example, if you are getting your kitchen redone, then you may have to live without one for a while. Consider creating a make-shift kitchen in another room with some essential appliances like a microwave, kettle and fridge to help you get by.

If you decide to move out, factor temporary accommodation/rent into your budget.

Make your dream extension achievable with support you can trust. We’re here to help you finish what you started with online loan approval in minutes. That’s permanent support.

Click here to apply for your home improvement loan today.

Approval in minutes applies to permanent tsb Current Account salary mandated customers only. Lending criteria, terms and conditions apply. permanent tsb p.l.c is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

The content of this blog does not constitute advice and is for general information purposes only. Readers should always seek professional advice before relying on anything stated in the blog. Some of the links above bring you to external websites. Your use of an external website is subject to the terms of that site.

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