Adding an extension to your home, especially if you plan to carry on living in the property throughout the work, will mean a variety of considerations must be given to safety. As with all building work, there are many safety aspects that you must consider not just while the actual building takes shape, but when doing the work inside also. Here, we look at some of the considerations you should explore before work starts on your extension.
Building an extension, unlike building a house from scratch, means you have neighbours using nearby housing. Therefore, parking and access can be an issue. You will need to consider equipment and materials delivery, their unloading, movement and the effect this could have on passing vehicles or pedestrians.
You may be fortunate to have site access without bringing equipment and supplies through your home, which can make movement a little safer. However, or wherever you will need to consider the safety of passers-by and your family. Ensuring you have clear passage, vision and no interference as you move about is critical for the safety of all.
Even when your extension does not require planning permission and is built under permitted developments, you will still have to meet building regulations. These ensure that you meet minimum safety for
- Structural integrity
- Energy efficiency
- Damp proofing
- Energy efficiency
- Other key building safety aspects
Whilst there is very little difference in material quality for a build, ensuring it is used correctly and the build quality is of a high standard is critical for structural integrity. Concrete is not inherently strong on its own, so ensuring that correct reinforcement and rebar sizes are suitable for the construction is essential.
You may be planning to outsource some of the work for your home extension. When you do, you still have to enquire of them about their awareness of health and safety risks and their track records to manage them. Ensure that they fully understand the equipment needed, such as props for your existing structure as well as the new build.
Ensure you have site insurance in place. You may need to check your existing policies or take out new ones to ensure that you have insurance in place and your cover extends to any damage to your existing home as well as the new build whilst construction takes place. You should check your builder has sufficient liability cover, although this may not cover natural events, so make sure you read the small print.
Dust and noise
Safety requires you to protect those around the building environment from excess dust and noise, so be mindful of sealing off areas outside of the build and when and where noisy equipment is used.
Some materials used in construction can pose threats to your health. When building an extension, you not only need to consider the safety of chosen build materials but also the materials used within your existing home construction which will be disturbed by the new extension. Asbestos-containing materials (ACMS) and Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) need careful and sometimes specialist disposal which may require professional assistance.
Adding an extension can cause pressure on your electricity supply. Use this opportunity to install residual current devices (RCD) where appropriate and plenty of electric sockets to reduce the need to use extension leads. Also, ensure during the build that equipment is used properly and handled safely with due consideration for surrounding materials is given.
In conclusion, homeowners should have carefully set out plans with clear goals, secured their existing property and chosen the most appropriate workers for the job. Keep within building legislation and Health and Safety regulations, use the appropriate equipment and work tidily, and you can look forward to a safe extension build.