Build up or out – what’s best?

“Attic conversion or side extension: which adds most value to your home?”
From The Irish Times – Life & Style – Alanna Gallagher – Sat, Oct 5, 2019

There are 3 ways we can add space to your home under the 40sqm (430sqft) planning threshold, what’s best for you?
In her article, Alanna Gallagher weighs up the various options: converting the garage or the attic or building a rear extension.

This is a summary of some key points in the article.
For those with an Irish Times subscription read the full article here … 

Garage conversion:
Most bang for your buck & least disruptive.
Most prefer 2 storey homes rather than 3 storeys.
Allow around €15k ex VAT.
Space for an office or play room or bedroom with en suite.
Raise the floor, add a window, wall & ceiling insulation, radiator & electrics.
No planning for change of use.
If the existing structure needs to be rebuilt, consider adequate foundations so you can potentially add a second storey above it in future.

Attic conversion:
If your house type suits, an attic conversion is an option but far more disruptive.
“It’s a lot easier to convert the attic in a bungalow.” Patricia Power (QS, Room to Improve)
More expensive than a garage conversion generally.
Non-habitable conversion with wiring, insulation and structural requirements €15-20k ex-VAT
“Habitable, with a door, en suite and walk-in wardrobe, can cost anything from €45,000 upwards.” Patricia Power (QS)
“Complying with fire and other regulations will add about 20 per cent to the cost.” Ros Criostóir (Architect)

Rear extension under 40sqm:
Is the ideal if possible.
Costs are higher but more flexibility of design.
No planning if to the rear and under 40sqm.
Must retain a minimum of 25sqm of garden space.
2 storey extension requires planning.

As the author suggests, prepare the estimate costs for each possibility and seek the advice of a local estate agent so you can properly compare your options.
Unfortunately, building prices all over the country are back at pre-crash levels and as Patricia Power points out, “there is no way to do an extension of less than 40sq m cheaply.” She advises, “to keep it modest, using standard doors and considering alu-clad or uPVC rather than timber or aluminium windows”.
Thankfully, we can help you get the best bang for your buck.

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