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Architect First Draft - Feedback Appreciated

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From our initial architect engagement the following draft has been suggest for an extension to our existing 3 bed semi-d.


We are working to refine/reduce the overall size to reduce costs, but keen to get forum insight.


One of the key issues my wife currently has with the proposal is that the architect has proposed a flat roof with a parapet linking into our existing hipped roof. Our neighbours has this design and its not the prettiest in her view!


I've attached some key pages (proposed floorplans and existing elevations) and outlined the context plus some of our initial thoughts below.




We are a couple with three boys under 5. We want something that can be our family home for the next 20+ years.


Some key things we wanted:

  • 4 bedrooms, so one additional bedroom plus ensuite
  • Open plan kitchen, dining, living opening out to our south west facing back garden/patio
  • Playroom/boys tv room long term
  • Home office space
  • Utility / boot room
  • Separate multi purpose room - tv snug, guest bedroom, office
  • Improve energy efficiency of the existing house as an outcome of the extension where possible



First thoughts 

  • Looks big - implications for planning success, build cost, heating costs, etc
  • Lots of twists in walls, ie not a square box excepting that our neighbouring boundary wall is not parallel to our gable wall 
  • Lots of excavation if we are to extent approx 7 meters from back wall. Our house is below garden level with a patio between the house and garden 


Have seen the excellent feedback on other posts and would appreciate all thoughts!


Draft Plans & Existing Elevations v 0.1.pdf

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Thanks Sparrowhawk!


I'm Dublin based so probably not as straight forward in terms of cost comparisons.


The design that I have attached was estimated by the Architect as 250k euro plus Vat, so looking at almost 4k per sq meter before Vat (crazy figures in my mind but that's just me)


We ideally would like to come in under 200k (ex Vat) before starting on site as that would allow us to reserve some cash for anything unforeseen, obviously lower would be better but there's always trade offs!

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Hi and welcome.


4K/m2 is a good budget even in Dublin. So you should get it into your budget - just so I am clear you are adding about 60m2 to the floor plan across two floors with a mixture of single and double storey? I have struggled to see how the elevations tie up with the plans in places. It feels a bit cramped, lots going on! (I am no architect). I cannot get an idea of the problem your wife has and I am not sure what the covered outside portion does would it not be better to enclose all of that to give you a little more space internally?



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@gustyturbine initial spec that was quote didn't blow me away if I'm honest but maybe I've high expectations from reading this forum :)


@nod yes the plot is what has created some of the angles on the extension in that we are about  half a meter or so too narrow to fit a double bedroom to the side and allow side access to the back of the property 


@MikeSharp01 thanks! correct approx. 60m2 split roughly 40m2 ground, 20m2 first floor. My wife's issue is a dislike of flat roofs and how they have been tied into the hip roofs around our estate, see example below. Fair point on the external enclosed space a straight wall across the back would be simpler all round.



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I like the shape of the back wall. If you've got the right garden that will make a spectacular view from outside - with the right cladding. Hopefully not rendered?


For side extensions on narrow frontages that look better than tying in like the photo you've posted, look at London architects and how they squeeze their side extensions in. I didn't bookmark the ones I'm thinking of, sorry. These will be more expensive than that photo though.


Which way's north? The architect has missed it off the drawings (pet peeve of mine)


What construction did the architect have in mind with half of the first floor walls in the extension not lining up with ground floor walls? Others will be able to say if this pushes the cost up.


Can you get plant on site from the Avenue at the bottom of your garden? If not how wide's your current side passageway?

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@Sparrowhawk finish was white pebble dash same as existing house, no nice cladding or standing seems here!


I will take a look at some extensions around London thanks! Construction was block on flat with internal insulation which I was slightly unimpressed with to say the least


In terms of access I expect I will be allowed access from the back avenue as others have done so, but who knows! Current side passage from the front is approx 1 meter so not ideal.



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  • 2 weeks later...
2 hours ago, Scoops said:

Thanks ETC! 


Really like the proposed extension, think our neighbours/local planners may not be as supportive unfortunately!

neighbours aren't important for planning decisions. and i wouldn't try and second guess planners as you never know which planning officer you're going to get. @ETC has come up with a fantastic looking design and i would be speaking to him about getting plans drawn up and submitted to planning.

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You do put as lot of work into these @ETC I don't know how you have the time, but I feel your idea may stick out too far back for the planners.


As mentioned, the elevations posted don't seem to be for the floorpans posted, so correct elevations would help.


Looking at the floorplan, I actually like the covered area, we have a covered area outside on our house and it is very useful when it is nice outside, but maybe a little wet or windy. You just need to think of the edge of this as the rear wall and the inside wall is a non supporting partition.


The window seat area might look nice from the outside, but will add an awkward corner from a construction perspective, box bays are also not cheap and the space inside is probably wasted, it is hard to use an acute angled corner. I would be tempted to just take the wall straight across the back.


I would just have a straight door into the playroom, the double sliding arrangement is just an expensive faff.


The kitchen arrangement is ok, but has a couple of things I am not a fan of. The natural route to the rooms at the back cuts past kitchen cupboards and the an island with seating right next to a table is a bit redundant. The kitchen area itself will be quite dark with no windows nearby. I think these are necessary compromises.


Is the depth of upstairs driven by a planning consideration? It would be a lot easier to build if if jutted out as far as the ground floor. However, it may be for looks as I think it could look quite bulky without the step back upstairs so maybe this is the reason. I would rather the extension was directly back upstairs, but with a semi this is going to overshadow next door too much.


The picture you have posted of the other house looks horrendous. It is very hard to extend a house and have it look well integrated with the original. @ETC proposal works much better from that perspective by separating the extension more.


It would probably look better if you did away with the upstairs extension and made the ground floor bigger. I doubt it would be that much more expensive, but that depends of the levels and excavation costs.


I would also consider taking the E250,000 and whether I could just buy a larger house that would not have a compromised extension.


This 2m deeper sketch would put everything on the ground floor which I think would look a lot nicer. If you could do without a window in the playroom the design might be better swapping the playroom and utility room around. There is a lot of room to make it more elegant! If the left hand wall of the current house could be replaced with a steel the playroom could be a better width, but I don't know the structural issues. It has been left in the current plans so I have kept it there.







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