What You Need to Know About Second Floor Home Additions in London

Do you wish your house had more functional space? Adding a traditional extension to the back of your home is a nice idea, but it can eat into precious garden space, which is rare enough in London. Instead, why not think about adding a second floor to your London home? UK planning regulations have changed recently making this a much smoother process.  If you’re wondering if this is a viable option for you, this guide will give you everything you need to know. 

How Much Does it Cost to Add a Second Story?

Cost of adding a second floor

The building cost of adding a second story to your house in London will cost on average £2,200 per square metre. For an 85 sq metre home (the average size of a house in London), a second floor addition would cost £187,000. 

When calculating the cost of your addition, you also need to factor in costs such as upgrading plumbing and adding a staircase, which can cost around £15,000-£20,000 more. 

Building Regulations for a Second Floor Addition in London

From September 2020, planning regulations have changed in the UK. Old planning laws restricted extensions above a certain height and the planning process was lengthy. This put many homeowners off adding a second floor to their home. 
White house with second floor additions

However, new regulations have sped up the approval process, cutting it down by half to just eight weeks. And although local authorities will still have to liaise with neighbours, the ability to block extension plans is greatly reduced.  

Under new guidelines, you can add up to two storeys to your home with a relatively straightforward planning process. 

Of course, if you live in a conservation area, you’ll need to go through the full planning process to get permission.

Reasons for Adding a Second Floor

Benefits of adding a second floor

If you’re wondering why you’d add a second floor to your home, rather than the usual single-storey extension, here are X reasons to consider it. 

1. A Chance to Redesign

Adding a second story to your house completely changes the functionality and aesthetics. You can take this opportunity to create a design that works perfectly for your family. It’s also an opportunity to make some upgrades to the first floor, since your contractor will be making necessary adjustments anyway. 

2. Not Losing Outside Space

A normal extension to the rear of the property eats into usable garden space. By adding a second floor, you don’t lose any valuable garden space. 

3. No Need to Move

Most families move when they outgrow their home, but if you’ve been in the same house for years, it’s incredibly hard to let go. Adding a second floor means you don’t need to move and can keep the family home you’ve created all your memories in. 

What and Who Do You Need?

If you’re overwhelmed thinking about the logistics of a second floor addition in London, here are some key things you’ll need.
Remodelled attic as a second floor

A Reliable Contractor

Your contractor will oversee the entire project, bring in specialists as needed, manage the build team, and ensure your project stays on budget and on time. This will be the person you check in with for updates throughout the extension process. 

A Structural Engineer

They will assess the foundations of your house to ensure they are strong enough to withstand a second floor. If not, they will give you recommendations on how to build a second floor. 

An Architect

The architect will draw up a plan for the second floor, including room sizes, shape, materials, etc. This will be used by the build team to get the project completed. This is an important step as your architect will be able to give their expert advice on roofing, window placement, optimal layout, and more. 

Timeline of Second Story Additions

White house with a second story

As you can imagine, it’s not a quick process adding an entire second floor addition to a house. Here is a rough timeline to give you an idea of what you can expect:

Preparation: 2 – 4 weeks

We cannot stress how important it is to take the time to plan your extension. In the first few weeks, you should:

  • Finalise your budget
  • Put together some ideas of what you need (number of rooms, bathrooms, etc.)
  • Get quotes from several architects for design plans
  • Research the planning permission process in your area

Design: 2 – 5 weeks

Once you’ve found your architect, they will need several weeks to draw up design plans. This will involve a survey of your home to get measurements, a meeting to discuss your second story addition ideas, and drafting up the plans. 

Planning: 8 weeks

Thanks to new laws, submitting plans for second story additions is now relatively easy and should take no longer than eight weeks. 

Tender process: 2 – 4 weeks

Once plans have been approved, you can submit them to builders to get quotes for the build. Make sure to look at past projects to get a sense of the quality of the build they offer. 

Building: 2 – 4 months

The build time will vary depending on the size of the extension and the level of complexity in the build. For example, large windows or fully glazed extensions take longer than traditional builds. 

Adding Another Level of Space and Functionality to Your Home

Wondering if you should have a second floor addition? They can be a great way to increase the curb appeal of your home and bring more life to it. Contact us today and let’s build it together!

Leave a Comment