Mrs Masters undertook extensive work on a property that had been vacant for four years.
"This property required an enormous amount of building work done to it. Part of the work included knocking through the wall between the lounge and the dining room to install French doors, and knocking down the wall between the dining room and the kitchen to create a single larger room. In addition to this, we extended the kitchen which meant we had to build a new external wall at the front of the property, and we extended the conservatory at the back which meant another new external wall there."
"Before I started this project, I prepared a description of the total work that I wanted to do, including diagrams, that I sent to my local Planning Office to find out whether I needed planning permission.
I was advised that I did not. The only comment that they made was regarding the distance from the kitchen extension wall to the boundary and that it would need to be 1 metre rather than 1 yard because of the size of the window I wanted to install and current fire regulations."
"Because this project was so large, I'd done a lot of research into all the relevant regulations and laws. I didn't know about the Planning Portal, I got all my information from the Local Authority planning department. We used Builders' Notice rather than Full Plans, so the regular involvement of the Building Control Officer was crucial.
I did discuss the work with both of my neighbours because of the boundary walls as required by the Party Walls Act."
What I would have done differently
"I had a lot of problems with one of my builders who tried to flout building regulations and cut corners. He argued with the Building Control Officer, and it was only after I'd got reports from a structural engineer and a chartered surveyor that I realised I had to hire another builder to rectify his mistakes."
- "Hiring an architect at the start would've made things a lot easier in the end."
- "Make sure you can rely on your builders! Even though the one we used came very well recommended, I had a lot of problems with him."