Time to Prepare – Top Tips for Planning your New or Improved Home


Spending more time at home can make you consider how well your home currently suits your family and lifestyle.


Not only experts in building one-off, completely unique homes, our Bespoke team also have extensive experience unlocking the potential of clients’ homes through extensions and renovations – helping them improve, rather than move. Perhaps what was once a playroom could now be better served as a study, and a double garage could be put to use as separate accommodation for independent teenagers or parents-in-law that may one day move in.

Martin Brown, our Client Liaison Manager for Octagon Bespoke, shares his top tips for how you can start planning a home project – whether that’s building from scratch, or transforming your current home to better suit your needs.

Evaluate your needs

Whether your children have grown up and you could do with a bigger kitchen for mealtimes, or you are coming up to retirement age and need to make your townhouse more accessible, working out what you need from your property is a natural starting point. Now is a good time to have conversations with your family, discussing and exploring what your priorities are – and evaluating how you really use your home on a day to day basis.

 Research architects and designers

Choosing who will deliver your project is one of the most important decisions in any home renovation or new build project. Reputation, reliability, build quality, and business longevity are all worth considering.

Similarly, look at a developer’s portfolio of work. It’s important to see if you like their range of design interpretations, and whether they have had experience delivering similar projects. Some developers may be able to deliver a wide range of styles, whilst others may focus or specialise in one type of build.

Look into Planning Permission

While of course not the case for a new build home, not all renovations and extensions require planning permission – a number of home improvements fall under Permitted Development (PD). Have a look at your local council website to explore their policies, as this can affect the timelines of any project.

For larger works, or if you’re renovating a Listed property, working with an experienced architect who’s familiar with your neighbourhood could save both time and money. They will likely understand the local requirements – what the local authority planning department are likely to sign off, and what they will say no to.

Start conversations 

Though suppliers can’t visit your home at present, that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to companies you may want to work with, and it could be advantageous to have a head start with planning once face-to-face meetings can recommence. Suppliers may well be able to provide approximate costs per sqm, or provide introductions to specialist contractors, should your plans include a swimming pool, home cinema, or other specialist installations.

One of the most important factors in a home project is building a positive, trusting relationship with those managing your project – a personal relationship makes a big difference, and can make the whole process run much smoother from start to finish.

Feeling inspired about your next project? Octagon Bespoke undertake projects from £1m. For more information, visit www.octagonbespoke.co.uk or call our team on 020 8481 7500.

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