How long does a design and build project really take?

Last Updated on : 11th April 2019

We spoke to our friends at Resi, the accessible, professional, online architects, for their advice on what to expect when you embark on a development.

Full disclosure:
There’s no guaranteed timeline for any build project. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was? Building an extension involves a lot of different processes and professionals, as well a few unpredictable factors. Like stormy weather, and even stormier neighbours. But having a basic understanding of what should happen when means you’ll start the project fully informed. Here’s Resi’s rough guide of what you can expect…

Prep: 2-4 weeks:
Before you get underway, you’ll want to do your homework and get some ducks in a row. Work out your total budget and list out your priorities. Are you looking for more space? More attractive design? Better access to the garden? All of this will come in handy in the future. Once sorted, you can start approaching architects. It’s worth shopping around and getting a few quotes before you commit. Visit the Resi Quick Quote Calculator to make a start.

Design: 2-5 weeks:
You’ve picked an architect, now it’s time to draw up your project. Times can vary here, depending on whether or not you have the existing drawings to your property. Already got them? Great! You and your architect can start drafting. If you lack the existing drawings, you will need to commission a measured survey in order to obtain the measurements you need.

Planning: 8-10 weeks:
Ahh, planning… this is where you’re going to have to be patient. It can take even longer if, for instance, they want alterations to your plans. Watch out for Permission Conditions that can come with your approval. Your architect should be able to discharge these for you, but remember you can’t get your build underway until they have been resolved.
If you want to keep the ball moving as fast as possible, we would recommend getting your architect to organise your planning for you. A good architect will have dealt with hundreds of planning applications and should be able to ensure no paperwork mismanagement holds you back. Check out Resi’s comprehensive compendium of planning advice here.

Technical design: 1-2 months:
It’s time to sort out building regulations and getting a structural engineer. Timings can vary massively between companies so you could be left waiting for up to two months. You can use the long wait during your planning application to scope out which company offers you the best service and price. At Resi, they offer a connect service that puts you in contact with the best professionals in your area.

Party Wall: 1 week – 3 months:
Getting a Party Wall Agreement in place can be either be a breeze or an absolute nightmare – depending on your neighbour. Party Wall Agreements are only needed if you’re building on a shared boundary, or excavating within three metres of one, so it doesn’t apply to everyone. If you do need one, after serving notice to the affected neighbours, they have a week to give written consent and once you’ve got that you’re on your way. However, if consent isn’t received, strap yourself in. Find out more here.

Tender process: 2-4 weeks:
You’ll need to put together your tender documents and submit them to the builders you’re considering. Resi suggests putting your project to more than one contractor and letting them come back with their prices. Costs can vary quite a bit, so it’s worth having options. You’ll also want to visit at least two properties they’ve worked on, ideally completed at least a year ago. This will make sure you can see their handy work, and should give you a chance to talk to someone who has worked with the contractor before. Resi has some great advice on avoiding cowboy builders.

Building: 2-4 months:
How long the actual construction of your extension will take will vary on the size of your build and the features you’re installing. For instance, large amounts of glazing are going to take longer than a plain wall. Likewise, who you hire will also impact on time.

This is only a guide on timings. Resi’s best advice for people looking to avoid delays is to always do your research and hire professionals who are going to work efficiently and meet deadlines.

Looking to start your own project journey? Resi are the UK’s leading architectural practice for everyday homeowners. They use innovative technology to assist a team of top architects in making the process of renovating as straightforward and enjoyable as possible. Extending your home can feel daunting and to make it worse, many of us embark upon it in the midst of another major life event, like the arrival of a new baby. But Resi keep things simple, while still offering outstanding design.

Book your free Resi consultation to explore your options.


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