There is a debate raging around my kitchen table: Should the €5000 extension be connected to the house or should it be a stand alone structure? And if it is a detached structure, can it be called an extension at all or will it be an elaborate “sexy” shed?
The red shape represents the building that will connect to the house. The blue shape represents the stand alone structure. We have discussed the possibility of creating a glazed link or a corridor connecting the stand alone structure to the house. (see The Glazed Link Idea) There is dissent on that point too.
So let us look at the pros and cons of an attached structure vs a stand alone one:
- Access without having to go outside in inclement weather
- Access for the user of the extension to the existing toilet and bathroom, which will certainly help the budget
- More secure for younger users, can keep an eye and ear on the teenagers!
- No need for planning permission (if it is under 40 sqm and if we do not demolish along shared boundaries: eg demolition of shared/adjoining buildings such as shed with the water meter and gas boiler.)
- Forming a connection that works well is tricky as the result would block the view from the kitchen down the garden or take light from the bathroom which would take from the existing house instead of adding to it. To effectively connect via the utility room would mean demolishing along a boundary which requires planning permission anyway.
- Demolition is often expensive
- Services such as the gas boiler or drainage may need to be moved or relocated which can also be expensive and would take money from the budget which could perhaps be better spent.
- The house as it stands is fine. This is an experimental project using experimental construction techniques and materials. To interfere with the existing structure on such a tight budget for something so unpredictable is very risky.
- The budget does not allow for reconfiguration of the existing ground floor to aid a more successful connection. Connecting via the utility room for example might require a redoing of the kitchen or flooring- we cannot afford that
- No demolition or altering of existing structure in any way. This allows the project to be as experimental as it likes and take as long as it needs to be built. My day-to-day life will not be affected and the existing house will not be affected by way of: structure; services; insurances; fire safety; layout; resale value, etc etc
- The budget will feed 100% into the new build.
- A detached structure is more flexible in terms of placement in the garden and is not hampered by the need to create a connection. Probably better for neighbour relations.
- New build will need to be fully serviced in terms of plumbing etc but this is not a particularly big problem according to our building team.
- Planning permission will be necessary which extends the time scale and has the risk of being denied. This also requires the involvement of an assigned certifier to sign off on the finished product. This may in turn extend the budget .
- Access to the existing house is exposed to the elements, unless we create a sheltered link, That link will not be heated as that would be totally outside our budget.
For those of you who want to look at the architects drawings click Survey
When I put the question Is it still an extension if it is a stand alone structure? to the young architects on the team, they replied by defining the word extension and leaving the answer open:
“There are a few definitions for the word ‘extension’ for example: ‘a component that is added to something to improve it’ or ‘a room or rooms added to an existing building’. Neither of these states explicitly that the extension is physically attached to the existing. Perhaps it depends on what the extension is doing for its owner and how it is adding to what they already have. By the first definition if it is ‘improving’ what is already there then it is an extension. On the other hand an extension traditionally describes a physical ‘extending’ of an existing dwelling through attachment. It seems like the term is open to interpretation and really depends on how it is fulfilling its users needs and what they view it as. “
And you dear reader? What are your thoughts? Bearing in mind that we only have 5 grand to spend -Do we attach? Will we go for a stand alone? If we do go for a separate structure is it still an extension? Let us hear what you have to say.