Apple Solutions - Residential Builders in Birmingham, UK

Category: Blog

What to think about when planning house extensions

If you have been thinking about extending your home then no doubt you have thought about everything that goes into it

the planning, finding the right builder, the costs and the rules. The prospect of it all can seem very daunting, especially if you have never gone through anything like this before; there is no guarantee that everything will run smoothly but so long as you plan everything thoroughly and take your time you can avoid disasters.

Perhaps you want to extend because you simply do not have enough room currently but don’t want the expense of moving house, or perhaps you are looking to increase the value of your home; whatever your reasons, extending can be a valuable and worthwhile cost.

The first thing you need to think about if you are planning to extend your home is planning permissions; of course if you are a listed building, in a conservation area or something similar then the rules are different for you, the rules are also different if you live in a flat or maisonette. But if you live in a house (non-listed etc) then you are able to extend without applying for planning permission so long as you stick to the following rules:

  • You do not cover more than half the area of land around the original house
  • The extension is not forward of the front of the original house (or forward of the side of the house is this is what meets the road)
  • If a terraced or semi-detached house, rear extensions can go a maximum of 3m beyond the rear wall of the original house and the maximum height of a single storey extension is 4m.
  • If a detached house, rear extensions can go a maximum of 4m beyond the rear wall of the original house; if the extension is more than one storey then the maximum is 3m. The maximum height of a single storey extension is 4m.

An important factor to consider when building house extensions is the right of light; the extension should not reduce the daylight that passes through your neighbours’ windows, if it does they are able to take legal action. 

One of the most important things when it comes to home extensions is finding a good builder that will do the job properly and to a high standard. We have all heard the horror stories of cowboy builders that have ripped people off, disappeared without finishing the job or completing an extension that does not comply with building regulations and is therefore dangerous.

The best way to find a good builder is by word of mouth and personal recommendation, research available builders and see what people have said. You can also have a look in your local area and speak to people who have had extensions themselves, enquire about their builders and if they would recommend them. Once you have a shortlist get detailed quotes from these builders, as well as a couple of references; don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions, trustworthy and quality builders will understand why you are asking these questions!

If you are planning an extension don’t rush into things, it is rushing that will lead to problems and when it comes to your home this is not something you want to risk! 

Why move when you can extend?

There are many reasons for needing a bigger home, perhaps your family is growing, maybe your current home is just very small

maybe you have too many things to fit in your house, or maybe you just want more space to call your own.

Whatever your reasons for wanting a bigger house, this can be a very expensive process, most people will automatically think that wanting more space means that you will have to move house; this is not the case, why move when you can extend?

Of course moving to a completely new and bigger home is a great option, especially if you have plenty of money, but if your budget isn’t quite so big then house extensions could be the perfect solution. Whether you want to add an extra bedroom or increase the size of your living area, add a single storey extension or a two storey one, all of this can make a huge difference to your house and gives you the possibility to create the space that you want.

Your house isn’t just the place where you sleep; your house is somewhere that you feel safe and happy, where you spend quality time with friends and family and make memories! Leaving your house can therefore mean leaving all of that and having to start again which is another reason why extending is a preferred option; you get the extra space that you want whilst also getting to keep the place you call home!

If there does eventually come a time when you want to sell your house, an extension could potentially make your house more desirable to buyers as well as adding value to the price of the house.

When it comes to home extensions you need to make sure that you have the work done by a reputable and trustworthy builder in order to ensure that the work is carried out to the best possible standards. 

With Apple Solutions you get exactly that, we are able to take care of your extension from start to finish including designs, planning applications, plastering, flooring, plumbing and more.  

If you have been thinking about moving house, maybe you should instead think about a house extension? For more information please get in touch with Apple Solutions!

Kitchen: extension or re-fit?

A kitchen renovation can be the perfect occasion to explore different designs, decorative ideas, and furnishing and appliance opportunities while giving the opportunity to extend the worth of your home.

However the stresses of the actual fit, budget or management of the project can take the enjoyment out.

Remodelling or extending a kitchen can require plenty of planning, particularly if you are looking to add value to or modernise your existing living spaces, from sending in a planning application to your local authority through to picking the right appliances. Here is where Apple Solutions can take out the stresses to offer you a seamless kitchen renovation project.

Whether you want to complete a kitchen re-fit or extend your existing kitchen space to incorporate an extra dining area or worktops, we can advise while providing the necessary materials and labour to assist you in creating the kitchen of your dreams.

With any refurbishment you need to consider many factors before you begin. Here’s our comprehensive guide including how we can help you to complete your job on time, on budget and to the highest quality of standards.


Possibly one of the most crucial factors to consider before you embark on your renovation. If you want to extend your existing kitchen space then you will want to factor in expenses for planning applications, surveys and building materials just as you will when refitting your entire kitchen from worktops through to cupboards.

Many opt for a spreadsheet or list of expenses as they go along, but these can be problematic when it comes to unexpected costs which can often occur with an extension. At Apple Solutions, you can provide us with details of your full budget and we will advise you in specific areas of your renovation from how much you can expect to pay for an application for planning right through to estimations for electricians, plumbers and labourers, we will even factor in unexpected costs that could occur to ensure that there are no surprises along the way.

By advising you on these aspects – we take the boring bits away to ensure that you have fun picking out the furnishings, colours and decor of your room.

Space and layout

If you’re planning an extension then planning where you will be placing resources will be key to deciding how far out you want to extend. Pay attention to your existing outdoor space and how much is likely to be lost as a result of your extension – can you afford to lose this and will your extra build affect light?

It is also worth paying attention to what you use your kitchen for, cooking or entertaining, how many people are likely to be using the spaces and what kind of lifestyle the people in your home live?

Many homeowners opt to produce an initial drawing or sketch which will factor in the shape and aspects of the intended room then decide how many storage solutions they will require in addition to appliances.

It is important to note that we not only manage the building but can also manage your plans and provide experienced specialists who will produce and advise on clear floor plans and accurate measurements for what the initial phases of your renovation, extension or re-fit are likely to look like so that you can accurately make accommodations for the right amount of cupboards, drawers and islands should you opt for one.

Research and planning

One of the main things to conduct is research. Most homeowners who are planning an overhaul choose a colour scheme, looking into different materials or even manufacturers’ appliances opt to flick through interior design and home magazines. Perhaps create a pin board of ideas for your kitchen whether a notice board or virtual one via pinterest.

This way you will also be able to estimate the scope of work required and then consult your budget.

If you are going ahead with an extension you will need to pursue further research involving the area, natural light, neighbours and decipher whether you are likely to need to submit a planning application to your local authority.

According to planning regulations, extensions for kitchens do not always require a planning application so long as they comply with certain conditions.

Our complete residential management service can advise you on whether you will require one and also direct you to methods of avoiding unnecessary costs while making sure you pay close consideration to windows, roof styles and brickwork.


Once you have decided on the colour scheme and materials that you require you will want to decide which bits go where. This often requires schematic design, whether you want to enlist the help of an interior designer or purse this project yourself is entirely your choice. Some designers can produce a 3D visual space from working drawings to enable you to see how functional your chosen designs are likely to be. This can save both time and money.

With our comprehensive project management system we will ensure that you are able to see the practicality of your designs and will advise you on any difficulties that may be encountered with fitting or building to ensure that the process runs as seamlessly as possible.


Think of your kitchen as an extension of your living space which needs to be uncluttered and kept clean which is why you will want to ensure that you pick tidy appliances such as fridges, dishwashers and extractors which can be tucked away neatly.

While certain makes of freestanding cookers and fridge-freezers can add character to your kitchen they often affect budget.

Your choice of appliances will also make a difference to your positioning of electrical sockets and your plumbing pipe work – while this can seem a scary prospect for anyone undertaking their own project, we can take away this stress, making it easier for you to choose a fitted dishwasher or washing machine without having to consider the hidden essentials.

We have an experienced network of skilled workman who specialise in everything from plumbing and joinery through to electrics who will advise us further.


Embarking on a kitchen extension can be a big undertaking if you don’t have experts on hand to advise or undertake the work and in consideration of the money you are likely to be spending you will want to ensure a superior finish.

If you don’t already have a licensed contractor on your project this is more than likely the next step to take and you will want someone that can see the project through until the end. Getting estimates can be a tiresome and tedious undertaking but you will not only want the best quote but the best job.

Undertake a walk-through of your designs from start to finish even if it is a simple re-fit, problems can occur and you will want to ensure that this is less likely by making sure your contractor has the full knowledge to do the job.

Trust and reputation also must be considered as you will want to rest assured that the Company or contractors you choose have the skill and experience to see the job through until the end.

We can take away these worries by providing you with a full list of quotes from plasterers and designers through to joiners and kitchen fitters so that you not only get the best price but the kitchen of your dreams.

Our years of experience at Apple Solutions enable us to provide advice and services which are unrivalled ensuring that our customers are knowledgeable every step of the process.

Our refurbishment services cover all aspects of home extensions or remodelling meaning we can take complete control leaving you to place your focus on the more important bits.

If you are looking for home extensions or building services in Birmingham and surrounding areas we can help you. Read our case studies and contact us today!

Building management – Conservatory

Improvements to residential properties can not only make your house more homely, creating a sanctuary you are likely to want to spend your time but – with the right materials, labour and budget – add value to your property when it comes to selling up and moving on.

The addition of a conservatory to your home can create such an investment, whether you plan to use it as an additional room, garden lookout or even an office. As an ideal method of creating a larger area of living space without the need to relocate to a new home they can provide versatility, light and extra warmth, functioning in a variety of every day uses from sun rooms right through to kitchens.

As one of the more dramatic yet cost efficient additions that you could make to your home, with meticulous planning and attention to detail, a modern conservatory can instantly become an essential part of your home.

As a popular form of building which featured in Victorian and Edwardian residential architecture, the conservatory structure dates as far back as the 17th century, however it has become more popular than ever as an affordable and contemporary method of adding value to your home.

Choosing to add a conservatory to your home is an excellent method of utilising space however, with paperwork, planning permission and labour to consider, undertaking management of the new structure independently isn’t always the best course of action.

A home improvement of any size or magnitude requires meticulous planning to details inclusive of design, materials and budget to ensure that required time frame targets are met and that the end result is one which exceeds and satisfies all expectations, ensuring that there are no hiccups along the way.

Sometimes having time to plan, source and undertake improvement work on your home is not always possible due to time constraints and limitations of a busy family life, work balances or social commitments. This is where a building management service could be effective to ensure that work undertaken flows smoothly, to your budget and on time, without any risks to safety or the employment of cowboy tradesmen.

With this in mind Apple Solutions Residential take a look at some key things to contemplate with your new building.

Planning permission

Adding a conservatory to a house is considered to be a ‘permitted development’ not requiring an application for permission so long as it satisfies certain requirements, although it is suggested that approximately 60% of all conservatories do require planning permission.

It is likely you will need to know the answer to certain questions;

  • Do you know the extension restrictions relating to detached, semi-detached or terraced housing?
  • Is your house listed or within a conservation area?

Different local authorities have various rules and regulations that are required to be followed which is why it is always worth contact them for local planning advice and suggestions.

The key to submitting clear plans is accurate design, measuring and considerations to the types of materials that are likely to be used.

Undertaking such thorough plans independently is likely to be difficult and can lead to potential mistakes which could slow down your application, additionally employing separate surveyors, architectures and trades people is unlikely to be cost effective.

At Apple Solutions our building consultancy service and supply of the accurate staff to undertake and submit such plans on your behalf provides a solution which will not only answer questions relating to legalities and regulations but can also speed up the process of your application while saving you more money overall.


Planning permission and the positioning of your conservatory go hand-in-hand. With various directions of facing to consider (North, South, East and West), dependent upon the area of your property that your conservatory will be attached to, you will need to consider the advantages and disadvantages together with how much light you are likely to receive.

As conservatories are designed to feel like part of your garden with the majority of the structure being made from glass, the positioning of your conservatory will more than likely dictate the room function of the building.

As an example, a north facing conservatory is likely to only get sunlight at the beginning and end of each day so while it will not overheat during the hotter months, it is likely to get cold over winter. So if you plan to use the area as an alternate living room or kitchen you may want to consider heating solutions.

We can advise on such aspects as part of our service.

Plumbing and electrics

When constructing your conservatory it is likely that the tradesperson undertaking the labour will have a thorough understanding of what your additional room will be used for in consideration of your plans and advice.

If you are choosing to use your conservatory as a kitchen or additional living space, planning will not only involve the sketching out of the structure but also making room for plumbing pipes and electrical cables. Ensuring that you have the qualified and skilled electricians and plumbers on hand to advise on this during planning and construction phases is the key to avoiding any obstacles which could hinder your structure being built during the required time frame.

At Apple Solutions, we not only provide consultancy and management services but the skilled and experienced practitioners to carry out the required plumbing, joinery and electrical work needed in order to create the conservatory that you have always dreamed of.

We work alongside homeowners every step of the process to ensure that they are kept well informed and are happy with the work that is due to, is to be and has been carried out.

If you are looking for a building management service that has experience in the construction and design of Conservatories in Birmingham and surrounding areas then please contact Apple Solutions.