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Glazed extensions: the modern way to extend your home

It’s the modern way to add space and light to your home – glass extensions are seemingly everywhere these days. Or, at least, everyone knows someone who has one. 

And no wonder they’re popular. So unobtrusive are they, glass box extensions can be added to just about any type of property, regardless of age. They add a modern twist to a period house or cottage, for instance, while extending the size of a modern home. In most cases, they also create a connection between the indoors and the garden. 

A glass extension is perfect for adding a room to a listed property since it doesn’t detract from the original building’s prized features. That’s because there’s no typical door involved; rather it’s bi-fold or sliding glass doors that become the entry and exit point.

Glass extensions don’t have to be a single box added on to the rear of the property either. For starters, they can be more than one storey. They can also take the form of a large porch at the front of the house or a lean-to at the side.

@idealhome: “A dramatic glass structure across the wasted space of a side return, a contemporary glass box in a courtyard or an elegant traditional-style conservatory added to the rear can all revitalise the feel of our homes, making them more suited to 21st-century living.”

Defining a glass extension

When we talk about a ‘glass extension’, we mean an addition to a home that consists mostly of glass. They are still structurally sound – often more than a traditional orangery or conservatory. 

All glass box extensions require foundations, the majority of which are made from concrete slabs. They tend to be more expensive than a brick extension, mainly due to the cost of the glass and how complex the design is in the first place. Often the glass will require a special coating to ensure it isn’t too hot during the summer months. If the glass panels are large, a crane may have to be required to install them, the cost of which will again add to the cost.

You’’ find that architects typically cost glass box extensions with sliding glass doors at around £1,000 per square metre.  

Is planning permission necessary?

Most properties these days have Permitted Development (PD) rights. This allows you to add an extension without having to ask for planning permission (provided, that is, it sticks within certain design styles and sizes). Just make sure your property has PD rights before you go ahead and plan anything. 

Building Regulations are a different matter, with all extensions having to comply with these. Find out exactly what is required from your local authority website.

Notify the neighbours

If your extension is extending right out to a boundary wall, then your neighbours will have to be told. The sooner you do this, the better since hopefully, they won’t then object at a later stage. 

If you have a listed building or live in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) then you’ll need further consent you’re your local authority and Historic England, or whichever part of the UK you live in.