Frequently Asked Questions


Getting a quote

Our project surveyor will come and meet you to discuss your requirements and to get an understanding of what you hope to achieve from the proposed project.

If you have architectural drawings, we will use them to develop a quote for you. If you do not have any architectural drawings at this stage, our experienced project surveyors are still able to advise on what is achievable and provide a quote based on our vast project database.

Once you have reviewed the initial quote, we would be happy to show you our many references and if required we can take you to see some of our recent work and meet some of our existing customers.


Your local planning authority is responsible for the approval of any development which could be anything from an extension on a house to a new housing estate.

ADB’s architects can advise on the best way to approach the planning application because certain classifications of extensions and loft conversions can avoid going into a Full Planning Application.

Our architect can also manage the application process on your behalf and liaise with the Planning Department to ensure that any queries are dealt with immediately so the application has the best possible chance of being approved.

Party wall agreements

The Party Wall Act provides a framework for preventing or resolving disputes in relation to party walls, party structures, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.

Anyone intending to carry out an extension of any kind should be made aware of the Party Wall Act 1996 which may affect your proposals.

You must notify all affected neighbours and obtain their consent if the work you are intending to carry out falls within the Act. This could include; work on an existing wall shared with another property; building on the boundary with a neighbouring property; and excavating near a neighbouring property.

The requirements of the Party Wall Act has to be observed at all times in respect of all works to be carried out to the party wall.

For more information regarding The Party Wall Act 1996 please visit the following government portal to see an explanatory booklet -

Thames Water

If your proposal involves building over or near to public sewers or any new connections, the agreement of Thames Water Utilities Ltd must be sought before work is undertaken. Where a formal agreement or a CCTV Survey are requested, a fee is payable.

Thames Water is responsible for maintaining 80,000 kilometres of public sewers, which are sometimes located within the boundaries of residential properties. Any building works over the top or within three metres of a public sewer require a prior agreement with Thames Water to ensure that no damage is caused to it or restrictions made to the use / maintenance of the sewer.

With the submission of a Full Plans Application the responsibility lies with your local authority to consult Thames Water when building over or near to a public sewer might occur. If a sewer has already been identified by your architect or engineer you can apply for an agreement personally and this can speed up the process of your Full Plans Application.


Steps and timescales

If you're happy to proceed based on our quotation for the build and you require drawings, we will arrange for a architect to visit you to measure up the property and generate the planning drawings. Once you have approved these drawings, the architect will apply for planning permission on your behalf to gain local council approval. This process takes between six to eight weeks.

Our project surveyor will work with you during the council planning approval time to fine tune the details in your specification and ensure all aspects of the project are covered.

Once planning approval has been granted, we will then start preparing all the required documentation for the build, begin the preparation of materials and allocate the foreman to your project.



The average loft conversion from start to completion usually takes between eight to ten weeks. The construction of a new room within the existing loft space is relatively straightforward. The key tasks we undertake when constructing a loft are split into three phases;-

Phase One - Preparation and steelwork

The scaffolding will be erected and the team will install the steel beams to ensure that the building is secure and that we can convert the loft into a habitable space. We will then install the new floor structure.

Phase Two - Roof and frame construction

We then create the box structure known as a dormer. Once the frame is constructed, we then weatherproof the sides and roof of the dormer and surroundings. Once this is complete, we will have secured, insulated and weather proofed the loft area.

Phase Three - Internal work

Once the exterior structure is weather proofed, the internal work begins with installing the internal walls, arranging drainage, plumbing and electrical points. We also break through to the existing house to arrange the stairs. This process takes about two days and can be a little dusty. Finally the walls are skimmed, the carpentry is completed and we paint the walls, ceilings and woodwork.

Throughout the process, you would have regular team meetings with the foreman to go through the project plan. Your project surveyor will also be available throughout the process.



An average single storey rear extension to completion takes between 10-12 weeks. • The key tasks we undertake when constructing an extension are split into six phases;-

Phase One - Foundations

The first aim would be to clear space and dig the foundations. These are dug to a depth stipulated by the architect but approved by the building inspector. Once the depth has been approved, we then pour the concrete foundations and install any steels that are required to support the structure.

Phase Two - Brickwork

Once the concrete has dried we begin the brickwork. At an early stage of the brickwork, the building control officer will approve the damp proofing and once approved we continue the brickwork to the highest point, which we call the roof plate level.

Phase Three - Demolition and structural

We now have to knock through to the existing kitchen, remove the exterior wall and install the final steel beams to ensure the house is structurally sound. We will at this point move your kitchen into another part of the house and seal off the back area so it's secure and does not leave you open to risk.

Phase Four - Roof construction

The key focus is to now weather proof the house and construct the roof. Finally, we install the tiles or felt, depending on whether you choose a pitched or flat roof extension. Once this is complete the new floor will be installed into the new area.

Phase Five - Internal works

Once the concrete floor is dry, the team will commence with the internal work. This includes installing the internal walls, arranging drainage, plumbing and electrical points. The walls will be skimmed and the finishing touches will be completed on the 'shell' of the extension.

Phase Six - Kitchen installation, Woodwork and Decor

Now we install the kitchen and install all of the skirting's and doors. We also now install any floor finishing, such as tiling or wooden flooring. Finally, we decorate the room(s) ready for use.


Family and the role of space

Extending your family home rather than moving can prove to be a much more economic and satisfactory solution that suits your family’s present and future needs. Changing the layout of your house will have a massive impact on your family and how you spend time together. If you need more space, it’s well worth investing time and money exploring all the possibilities.

For any family, space plays a vital role in how and when you interact together and for those with young children, an open-plan family room or one that can be easily seen from the kitchen is a great way to keep an eye over the kids as they play while parents can cook or work.

As children get older, in addition to having a room to enjoy time as a family, parents and teenagers alike appreciate their own privacy—children want a space to relax, play music or hang out with friends, while parents want a quiet space to watch TV or a room for entertaining.

For those who cannot extend out but are able to extend up into the loft space can create a whole new floor to a property. Whether it be a large master suite, several bedrooms or a games room, a loft extension can give vital extra space for a growing family.

A new extension is a good investment that can add to the value of your property and also provide the additional space required which will enable you to make the most effective use of your home.

Budgeting your build

It is natural before a build takes place on your property to have concerns about budgeting. The most common concerns are having enough money to pay for the build or worry that fees will escalate to be more expensive than the original quote.

At ADB we give our clients a comprehensive stage payment plan to avoid any unexpected fees. We allow our clients to pay for each stage of the build as it is completed and satisfactory.

Top budgeting tips from ADB

  1. If you were to appoint ADB we would suggest a meeting with you and our architect to discuss your budget and requirements. This will enable us to create a scheme to maximize your space to suit your budget. The last thing you would want is to get an elaborate design that is too far over your budget to construct. Or vice versa.
  2. ADB have long standing relationships with local suppliers of kitchens/joinery and sanitary ware with whom we receive discounted prices. We are happy to pass these savings on to our clients.
  3. Re-use some your existing items. Just because you are changing the layout of your home it doesn't always mean you need new fittings and furnishings. For example, old kitchen cupboards can often be re-fitted in a new utility room.

Choosing an architect or designer

Whether you plan a loft conversion, ground floor extension, to adjust the layout of your rooms or even if you are not sure how to extend your home, having the right architect or designer with you is vital to make the build run smoothly.

Choosing an architect or designer can seem confusing – after all there are so many out there and many will claim to have the right credentials for your build.

You need an architect that understands your budget as well as a good knowledge of planning and building regulations. What is equally as important is finding an architect or designer that is compatible with you.

ADB’s architects & designers are able to work on every stage of your project. They have a great balance of understanding client requirements together with the planning process and all design elements.

They will be involved throughout the project, working closely with the ADB build team.

Together they can ensure your project build is constructed with the least stress as possible to you.

Types of extensions

When it comes to creating extra space in your home, the options for extensions are endless. Even on properties where it seems there is no extra space to be gained, a good architect or designer will nearly always be able to create something impressive.

After all, until a few years ago most people had never thought of filling in the side return on their Victorian properties. Fast forward to today and by filling in the narrow side return, some of which are as little as two meters in width, thousands of families have been able to create large, open-plan living spaces with skylights, kitchen islands, and folding-sliding doors opening out onto their gardens. Some even go further to have a bedroom or two added above.

Extensions can be single, double or multi-storey and can be added to the front, side or rear of your house. That's not even listing conservatories or outhouses.

Gaining extra space on one part of the house doesn't mean simply moving more stuff into that room. While you are extending it's a good time to think about changing the internal layout of your rooms. If, for example, you have three or four small to medium-sized rooms on the ground floor, why not convert to one or two large, open-living spaces.

The beauty of having an extension is that your home can grow with you as your family does. Most homes that were built for Edwardian or Victorian lifestyle are not perfect for today's modern living. You don't need to move when you love the area so much, just change it!

What roof options are available for an extension?

Pitched roof: Generally this has a pitch of 15 degrees or above and is tiled with clay, slate, asphalt or concrete.

Flat roof: This has a pitch of 1 to 15 degrees. Each roof has to drain slightly but it can be a very small slope.

Glass roof: This can look very effective but unless you have a very thick glass you can lose a lot of heat.

Instead you use different materials on your roof to create a multi faceted roof. For example you can have a pitched roof that goes to a flat roof with some glass.

What exterior options are available for extensions?

Facebrick is the most common. Otherwise render, which is an external plastering that can be painted to match your home. Wood cladding can also look very effective by using timber on the outside of your home.

Of course there is the option of pebble dashing but it's generally agreed that should be avoided these days!

How do you go about getting planning permission and approval to build?

It's the same as when building a loft conversion.

You need approval from the local authority on what you are going to build. All households have a right to develop unless it breaks any of the following regulations. There are two main applications:

1. The Householder Application for Planning Permission: Your design plans must be in keeping with the existing property and comply with supplementary guidelines. This is not the same as planning permission but looks at fire resistance, structural stability, ventilation, thermal insulation and drainage, rather than the siting, design and external appearance of the building. An architect or designer will understand these regulations.

2. Permitted Development / Certificate of Lawfulness: As a property owner you have an 'allowance' of what you are able to build. These are black and white regulations that if followed allow you to build without neighbours objecting.

Types of lofts

Loft conversions are not only one of the easiest ways to make the most of your existing space but can also gain you some much needed extra square meters on your property.

Often blessed with daylong natural daylight, this calm and airy space at the top of your home is ideal for additional bedrooms or creating a home office.

Most homes are suitable for a roof extension although those with less than 2.2 meters from the floor to the ceiling will be more difficult. Simply take out your tape measure to get a good idea how your build can begin.

Roofs with a steeper pitch are more suited for a conversion as they offer more possibilities in the types of roof extensions.

What different types of loft conversions options are available?

There are three types of lofts that most conversions tend to fall into:

Velux: This is an existing loft space that you may have in your home and usually works within the boundaries of the inverted 'V' shape. Velux windows are easily added to create an additional room or floor.

Dormer: a dormer roof is created by adding a flat roofed box, with vertical walls that jut out of the pitch.

Mansard: mansard is similar to the dormer but the pitch on the box replicates a 70 degrees pitch on the roof. Often there will be two pitches, the steeper pitch of the lower slope (where the window of the box may be) and the higher slope (on the top of the roof) with a smaller pitch. Local authorities tend to favour this type of roof as it blends in with existing buildings more easily.

How can you use a loft conversion to create new space in a home?

It depends on the property but basically you are adding an extra floor to your home. It's easy to create an en-suite bedroom, study or playroom. Some people like to have a room to relax at the top of their home while you can even create flats in larger properties.

What tile options are available for a loft conversion?

There are a variety of tile options from authentic clay to slate, metal and asphalt. There are also artificial versions and concrete tiles that are cheaper but don't look as nice.

The pitch will determine what tiles you can use too. There are certain tiles for certain pitches. For example, there is a 15 degrees pitch for the front tiles and a 90 degrees hanging on the walls of a dormer roof. Your main concern is looking at this and choosing the right tiles or the roof will leak. Your architect or designer will be able to help with this.

What types of storage is available in a loft bedroom or office?

You should speak to an interior design expert but bespoke solutions are always best as they work with the pitch better than pre-fabricated furniture.