All it needed was a bit of vision for the author of this article to see the tired 1960s dormer bungalow had strong gables reminiscent of the Arts and Crafts era. It was transformed with another gable, a new porch, chimney and a complete refit inside, which included room remodellings and new electrical and plumbing circuits

Could you extend?

If you need more space, consider whether or not you can extend the property. Is there scope to build additional storeys? Is the plot large enough to add an extension? You can add significant extensions to the back and side of a property using Permitted Development (PD) rights (check them out at planningportal.co.uk).

Could you transform the exterior?

An ugly or bland property can sometimes be totally transformed through a clever design scheme that alters the building’s form, doors and windows and changes its external materials used for the walls and roof. Many such changes can be undertaken using Permitted Development rights, such as extensions, changes to cladding and roof covering, replacing windows and adding a porch.

Can you create off-road parking?

You will not need planning permission if a new or replacement driveway of any size uses permeable (or porous) surfacing which allows water to drain through, or if the rainwater is directed to a lawn or border to drain naturally.

Forming a new vehicular access will require planning permission unless it is onto an unclassified road. If the new access crosses a footpath or verge, you will need permission from the local authority highways department. Your local authority may require you to use a contractor with a special highways licence for this kind of work.

Is there potential for a loft conversion?

A loft conversion is usually the most cost effective way of adding extra space but this depends on the size of the roof space and the type of roof structure. If you want to create extra space, ask to see inside the loft and take a torch and tape measure. Only the space with 2.2m of headroom or more will be usable, although you can increase this by changing the shape of the roof, for instance by adding a dormer extension at the back, or a hip to gable conversion at the side (you can add 50m³ to a detached house and 40m³ to any other house using Permitted Development rights).

A traditional cut roof (purlins and rafters) can usually be converted without too much structural alteration for around £950-1,250/m², but if the roof is made with modern trusses (a web of thin timbers) the structure will have to be replaced, adding significantly to costs.

Could you remodel?

A cost-effective way to add usable space is to remodel the existing layout by adding or removing walls, doors and windows. Measure the rooms and draw up a floorplan of the property and then work out how you could rearrange the rooms to create the space you need, possibly combined with an extension. Sketchup is a free computer-aided design tool that is brilliant for this purpose.

Is there scope for further development?

If the plot is large enough there may be scope for further development, possibly including subdivision to create another plot. You can make enquiries via your local authority planning department, but be careful who you tell before you exchange contracts as planning 0permission for another dwelling could add significant value to a property.

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