TV – is not the real world.

TV – is not the real world.



Many people enjoy a wide spectrum of programs but the building programs such as DIY SOS and Grand Designs, are always a draw for viewers.


Here is the rub, they are great TV, but they often do not reflect the real world.


When watching DIY SOS, it is easy to get emotional, as a young family with a disabled child move into their home, it has been extended, substantially altered, adapted, and completely refurbished and redecorated, all in just a few days.


Or in Grand Designs the host visits the property at the end of the program to inspect a beautifully finished property that is different, quirky, and to be quite honest sometimes, strange.


These programs are great and you might be thinking, “I might extend and alter as well.”


It’s not quite as easy as they necessarily make out.


Here’s our ten reasons why you should seek professional advice before you start;


  1. There is rarely a mention of the 8-12 weeks, to obtain Planning and Building warrant from the Local Authority. Nor the time scales required in obtaining competitive quotes.


  1. If your development is a bit “out there” in relation to the surrounding properties, Planning Consent may prove even harder to obtain.


  1. Whilst you may like your design, your neighbours and the Planning Department may not. There are also strict criteria that must be met in order to meet the Building Control requirements. This may mean, some of your design is impossible, or at least a compromise solution requires to be found.


  1. There is rarely the opportunity to have a massive squad of all trades on site at one time, as this would be cost prohibitive.


  1. Building is a process and many Materials require a drying out time, prior to the next phase starting. (most new build properties and extensions also require a “snagging” period as the building materials dry out.)


  1. Most people are working to a strict budget that they cannot exceed, unlike these programs which do not take this factor too seriously. Specifying and costing materials etc. is therefore very important.


  1. In Grand Designs the owners often do large portions of the work themselves, however most people do not have the time, skill or tools required. (It’s also important to remember that some items need qualified trades to sign them off)


  1. In these programs, the owners regularly change their minds as to what they are doing or the specification. In the real world, usually a change means, increased cost and delay. (The general rule is the more complicated the design and more specific the material specification the higher the cost.)


  1. In many of the Grand Design programs, they go it alone rather than rely on Professionals with no real project management, resulting in poor detailing that requires amendment on site, delays, increased cost and confusion on site.


  1. The values of the properties are very rarely taken into consideration. You should take care that you are not, over extending and spending money that you will not get back when the property is sold.



An extension or an alteration, can be a thing of beauty and make a huge difference to your home and life, it can also often increase the value of your home. It does not need to be overly stressful, if you take professional advice and have due regard to the factors above. If you are thinking about an alteration, extension or even a self-build, speak to the professionals first. They will charge a fee, but will usually save time and money in the long run.


If you want further advice, please contact us.