new build

Building extensions


House extension in Green End, RenholdIn the present climate of once again rising house prices, a building extension may well prove a financial and practical proposition. With this in mind many home owners find that after taking appropriate advice from a financial adviser, they can capitalise on the increased value of their property to fund an extension, which both extends its capacity as a family dwelling and could perform a valuable role as a financial investment, maybe as part of a retirement plan.

Once a home owner has decided this may be a viable prospect then a builder such as K.J. Hill in Bedford can help with feasibility studies and hand holding as project managers from concept through design to construction and decoration/ finishing.

We worked on a job recently where a 3 bedroom detached house with 1 bathroom was being extended to include 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. In effect this would double its footprint and turn it into a property that suited the current situation of the owners without the need to move.

House extension in Green End, RenholdThe outside of the house changed quite dramatically. The existing flat roof extension was re-worked into a pitched roof which not only looks more in keeping with the original house, but is far more durable. We managed to locally source a batch of reclaimed tiles which meant that the new roof section didn’t look new but blended beautifully with the original structure. The outside was completed by rendering the front and partially rendering the back. Even I was surprised at what a difference the rendering made to the look of the house!

House extension in Green End, RenholdInternally there was a lot of remodelling and consequent steelwork as we completely opened up the rear of the house and blended it with the new extension to create a lovely space where we fitted a beautiful kitchen diner. New bathrooms were also needed, which we were happy to fit, along with new windows and internal and external doors throughout. We completed the job with the necessary plastering and decorating to turn this extensively remodelled house into a beautiful home.

Whether you’re designing a new-build, planning a house extension or having a loft or garage conversion it’s essential that you take advice on what is possible. Give us a call today to discuss your requirements 01234 765050


self build timeline stage 4

You can now take the scaffolding down and behold your beautiful new self-build home – from the outside…

The first fix

Now it’s time to call in your tradesmen and move inside for the first fix. Sort out the electrics, the plumbing, the carpentry and any underfloor heating etc. so your home is serviceable.

Walls, floors and ceilings

Now you can continue with the aesthetics of the inside of your property. Your team can now apply the floor screeding, ready for the flooring to be fitted. When you put in the main flooring will depend on your choice of material and whether you can do it before or after decorating. You will need to choose between dry lining and plastering to finish the walls; your choice of insulation may affect your decision.

Finish the services and carpentry

With the floors, walls and ceilings ready for the final decorations you’ll need to connect up all the mains services and complete the wiring and plumbing so your house is fully serviceable, complete with a functioning kitchen and bathroom.


Now you’re getting very close to completion and you can decorate and furnish your house to turn it into your perfect home. There are lots of things to consider here… lighting, which curtains / blinds to choose, how to design your perfect bedroom and what flooring  will suit your needs. Getting the interior design right is so important for your future enjoyment of your new home.

Back outside

With the inside now beautiful and ready for you to move in you can complete the outside. Put in the driveway and landscape the surrounding gardens so you can start to create an outside space to match the inside. You may need to put in patios or decking. It’s likely that you will have a fair amount of clearing up to do to repair damage caused by machinery and lorries.

The final inspection

Once you’re happy you can arrange for your house to be signed off by the building regulators. They will check that it conforms to regulations and the original planning permission.

Moving in

The only thing left to do now is to move in! The house is now your home. Don’t forget to put the building process behind you and just enjoy it as it is for a couple of years before making any further changes… unless of course you’ve been bitten by the “self-build bug”, in which case go back to the beginning, learn from any mistakes you made and do it all over again!


Building work starts

Finally it is time to move onto site…

Services and utilities on site

Get your site utilities set up. Both you and your team will need shelter, a kitchen and bathroom on site in order to work productively.

Site access

Prepare the access of the site so it’s suitable for the heavy machinery and delivery lorries to safely come and go.

Dig the foundations

When all of the above is complete you can finally get on with your build and start to dig the trenches and foundations of your new home. It is now that you will start to get a feel of the dimensions of your build as you will see the layout of the ground floor rooms.

Prepare oversite

In most styles of build the next stage requires concrete to be poured into the foundations and a solid ground floor established and prepared.

Going up

Once the ground-works are complete it is time to go upwards. For a block and brick construction the walls will be completed up to the first floor and this will be put in place before going up again and finishing with the roof. For a frame construction it’s likely that the frame will be completed all the way to the roof before the walls are filled in. The time-scale for this stage will vary greatly depending on the construction method and if any parts are pre-fabricated. But whatever the construction method your house will take shape terrifyingly quickly now, after the painful slowness of all the previous paperwork.

The roof

Once the walls are in place and any wall cavities filled with your chosen insulation, it’s time for the roof to go on. The framework may already have been in place, or this will happen now, along with whatever finish you have chosen, such as tiling.

Topping off

Once you’ve made it this far it’s time to get your whole team together, have a brief break and pat yourselves on the back. You might like to indulge in a topping off ceremony to celebrate the final bricks and tiles being in place in your building.

Make weather-tight

Now you can see the main body of your new home is complete it’s time to make it weather-tight. Your door and window suppliers should be ready to deliver on time so that this landmark phase goes smoothly and quickly. Putting in the windows is always nerve-racking and relies heavily on all parties following your exact measurements. After this stage is complete you can start to breathe again as your building is safe from the elements and looking more like a home than a building site.

Finish the external

At this stage you will still have the scaffolding up, so get the outside of the house finished while it’s still there. Put up the guttering, add any decoration such as rendering and painting. Rendering may also be necessary to ensure your home is completely watertight and insulated, depending on the type of construction.

To find out what happens next, look out for the next article in our “Self-build Timeline” series of blogs.


self build timeline 2 copy…The site is now yours, but you still have seemingly endless amounts of paperwork to get through before you can even think about concrete.

Find insurance

The first step is to find insurance. This is vital in case things go wrong with the build or any workers injure themselves.

Find your team

Now is the time to find your key workers. Depending on your experience and how much involvement you’re going to have in the project you will want to find an architect or a designer and a project manager. If you wish, you can take on the role of project manager yourself. A project manager typically costs 7-15% of the overall build cost, so doing this yourself could save you money, but it could also cost you if it isn’t done well. Be warned, project management means being on site most days and always available if something crops up.

Employing a company such as KJ Hill to project manage your self-build means that you have an experienced professional taking care of everything for you. Working to tight deadlines and ensuring that tradesmen are on site at just the right time can save you the cost of paying for your project manager and more. If you choose to take on the role yourself, be very sure you have the time, organisational ability and knowledge to do this.

Plan design

With your team together you now need to plan your design. This will come as a welcome break after months of paperwork. At the end of this stage you’ll have a clear vision of how your project will turn out; giving you the hope you need to get you through. Make sure budgets and time frames have some all-important leeway built in for the inevitable hiccups that you will come across.

Planning permission

You should already have a clear idea of the planning regulations that will affect you, but with your plot purchased and your design in-hand it’s time to seek planning permission. This stage will seem excruciatingly slow, but provided you’ve done your research you shouldn’t encounter problems. If you’re looking to build something unique that’s likely to come up against some resistance then it’s highly recommended that you start communicating with your local planning authorities before too much money is spent.

Apply for basic utilities

You will need your basic utilities. Apply for your water and electricity as soon as planning permission is granted so you don’t experience delays with your build.

Prepare detailed drawings

Work with your architect or designer to put together the detailed drawings that will act as the instruction manual for the whole team of workers, ensuring that everyone on site is coordinated and there are no costly errors.

Coordinate building control officers

It’s time to get the authorities involved again and inform the building control officers of all your plans and coordinate site inspections to ensure you’re operating a safe site that complies with building regulations.

Find your suppliers

Ensure you’ve selected the suppliers of raw materials and fittings that will deliver on time and can provide exactly what you’re looking for. Start to work with any companies that will be preparing bespoke items such as windows, doors or staircases.

Find your tradesmen

Find the tradesmen who will be working on your site. You may need a variety of different teams, or you may need one head builder who already has reliable subcontractors. Either way, do your research as you’re trusting your project and your finances with these tradesmen.

Of course, if you’ve employed a good project manager such as KJ Hill, most of the above will be their responsibility.

To find out what happens next, look out for the next article in our “Self-build Timeline” series of blogs.


Venetian blindsOptions of window coverings are now seemingly endless. What you choose will not only have a huge impact on the aesthetics of the whole room, but also the atmosphere, as the window coverings can affect the insulation of the room.

Natural light is one of the most sought after qualities in a room. It will lift your mood and make any room seem more spacious. But although you want to let light into a room you will need to choose window coverings that are practical for your situation. You may need privacy in the day time, black-out coverings at night, extra insulation and a covering that suits the style of your whole home.

Curtains are the obvious choice of window covering. Fashions now are changing so curtains can still provide you with a crisp, modern feel and don’t have to be so heavy. Curtains are perfect if you need some extra insulation. Lined curtains work perfectly to keep heat in when you have single-glazed or sash windows. They are a more expensive option, but you’ll soon start saving on your heating bills. Lining curtains also makes them hang more opulently and will protect the colour and pattern of the curtains from sun-damage, so they will last longer.

However, lined curtains can seem too heavy for some spaces and can block out some light during the day when they’re open. If you want to use lined curtains but want maximum day light, make the curtain rod longer so the entire window is exposed when the curtains are opened. It will also make the window feel larger. Or, you can tie curtains back. This is a very formal look that will not work in every home, but can provide a lovely frame for the extending view.

Curtains don’t have to be heavy. For a relaxed look use a lighter material, such as a crisp cotton. If you need curtains that come down to the floor consider having them made about 3 inches too long, so they trail and bunch attractively when drawn. This suits informal spaces and will do wonders in an older property for hiding an uneven floor. Lighter, unlined curtains fall very differently to lined curtains, will not offer much in the way of thermal insulation and will not block as much light, so won’t work if you have street lights outside your property, but they do work well in open, communal spaces.

Curtains don’t provide any privacy during the day, which is needed for windows that look directly onto a street or public area. If you wish to have curtains but maintain some privacy, or add an extra feature then you no longer have to use the heavy net curtains of the 1980s. You can now buy beautiful sheers that light can filter through. These can come with subtle patterns, or plain and add a touch of class to a room.

For a sleek look you will want to consider using blinds instead of curtains. There are many different styles of blinds to choose from and each has their own advantages and disadvantages. For a bedroom, black-out blinds are a very popular choice. They can come in thick, woven materials that will also provide some insulation when closed. Black-out blinds are very popular in children’s bedrooms, but ensure there are no parts of the mechanism that could be a hazard to your child.

Generally, black-out blinds are roller blinds. If you go for this choice then make sure you research the mechanism, so it’s within your reach. Roller blinds can work well in lots of different spaces due to the variety of colours and patterns. If you wish to have the blinds as a feature during the day, then hang them higher than necessary to cover the window, so you can have some of the blind showing without blocking any light.

Roman blinds add a look of luxury to a room. They can come in thicker material for improved insulation and block unwanted light during night time. The cascading fabric works well in grander spaces. Roman blinds are very hard to clean so hang them somewhere where they will not get messy.

Venetian blinds are traditional in spaces where you want both privacy and light control. They come in a variety of different materials. Wooden blinds provide a lovely soft look and are very sturdy, but offer little to no insulation. Venetian blinds can let in maximum light, or provide shelter from the sun in a room that is prone to getting too hot.

If you have large patio doors to cover, you may consider vertical blinds. Choose an option which gives you full control of how much light is let in to the home as during summer you may want to provide some shade. Vertical blinds are generally made from a lighter fabric that will not block all light, but will provide privacy.

When you choose your window coverings ensure you consider the practicalities before aesthetics. Decide on your budget, how much insulation is needed and how much light can filter through. Check the mechanisms of any blinds before you buy them. You will now find so many different options with colours, patterns and materials and you can experiment with how window coverings are fitted that you can add a truly unique and seemingly effortless touch to a room with your choice of window treatment.

Of course, for those of you lucky enough to be planning a new build, you have the luxury of choosing the shape, size and position of your window. Your project manager will be able to advise you on any implications that will affect the plastering, finishing and decorating, leaving you to choose your perfect window covering.



Welcome to our blog


Welcome to our new blog where we propose to discuss the many aspects of plastering, drylining and building in both the residential and commercial sectors of our industry. We look forward to showing information on domestic conversations, extensions and new builds, as well as renovation of care homes and offices.

For your convenience we have provided a tag cloud in the right hand column which should bring up related posts as we add them to the site.