Damien McKay of of DMK ArchitectsMore people are opting to extend their home than to build a new one, according to the latest CSO figures for 2011.   Self-build expert Damien McKay says planning application statistics for the first quarter show that over 1,630 people have been granted permission for an extension, compared to less than 1,280 permissions for a new home. 

 “For about 15 years and over the boom years, it was the other way round with applications for new homes often being twice as high.  But the figures for the last 12 months from April 2010 show this trend has now completely reversed, says Damien, a Chartered Engineer who specialises in self-build and extensions.  

Damien says the perceived costs – particularly in these straitened times – of building or extending a home can be very off-putting, but if handled the right way, they can be done within a tight budget. 

 “The average cost of building your new home can easily overrun by €25,000 to €75,000 or more if things go wrong along the way.  Likewise the cost of building an extension can overrun by €50,000 or more.  But you can avoid this nightmare scenario, by getting it right from the start.”   

  “Changing the design or specification during the construction stage can increase costs by 30% alone.   Problems can arise if you don’t start with an overall budget and project plan to control the finances and the schedule as you go along”. 

 “Unexpected costs can also be incurred if you don’t have a formal brief and agreement on fees with your architect or detailed drawings for the contractor.”

 Damien is holding a 2-day workshop on extending or building your own home at the Stillorgan Park Hotel in Dublin on 14th and 15th October – details from www.dmk.ie.  He has also launched a mentoring programme which includes 9 hours of face-to face meetings, 18 further hours of consultation, and free access to resources, such as his guide to an energy efficient home, creating your own building contract, formal agreement for appointment of your Architect, project planner, budget planner etc. 

“The idea behind the workshop and the mentoring programme is to provide independent assistance and support to guide you through the various stages of your self-build project,” says Damien McKay.  This support can save you thousands of euros, by ensuring everything is kept to schedule and to budget – and it also takes the stress out of the whole process.” 

For details of DMK workshops and mentoring programmes or to download their free guide:  “Build your own dream home” go to www.dmk.ie.  Media queries to Trish at Inis Communications 086 1740057 or email trish@iniscommunications.com