How to keep safe when adding a property extension

Rising house prices and living costs are meaning that many Britons are choosing to stay put in their properties and add value to their homes instead of selling up. Building an extension is one such way to increase your property’s value, but it isn’t without its challenges.

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Findings by Nationwide last year suggested that adding an extension could boost a property’s value by up to a quarter, and if you have some building skills you might be considering extending your home yourself. However, you’ll need to prioritise safety on site. Read on for a guide to avoiding mishaps while your extension goes up.

Seek advice

When drafting your designs, it can be wise to consult a qualified architect, who will tell you how realistic your plans are and advise you on the safety elements of your proposed works. The architect will also be able to tell you whether your plans are likely to meet planning permission regulations, although you might need to get in touch with your local authority to find out for certain.

Avoid heavy lifting

Lifting heavy items is a major cause of back problems so, if you’re planning to lift and move objects around the site during the build, you’ll need to make sure you do so safely. The NHS has a section dedicated to safe lifting on its website, providing tips such as keeping the load close to the waist, adopting a stable position and avoiding bending your back.

Potentially even safer than choosing to lift heavy items manually is to rent or purchase trailers that you can load up with goods and move to wherever you need them to be. Visit to browse platform trailers that you can use to transport materials around the site.

Draft in the professionals

Building an extension can require expertise, so don’t try and tackle jobs you’re not confident you can complete properly or safely. You might be a seasoned bricklayer, but wiring the extension or plumbing in pipes can be different matter altogether.

Engaging qualified workers may cost you some money, but doing so could be quicker than attempting the job yourself, and may also give you peace of mind that the work will be completed safely and to a professional level.

Manage risks

A building site can be a dangerous place, so you’ll need to take steps to control health and safety risks. Work should be planned out, managed and monitored, and access to the site by third parties should be prevented.

You’ll also need to think about the welfare of anyone working on the site and make provisions such as access to toilets, drinking water and washing facilities, as well as a place staff can take a rest, among numerous other considerations.

Assess hazards

You’ll need to plan work carefully, ensuring people on the site are protected from threats like fire and electrical shock, and that they are properly trained for jobs like working at height. Consider where slips or trips could take place, potentially as a result of uneven/wet surfaces or items left in the way, and remove hazards where possible.

Mobile plant and vehicles should be kept separate from pedestrianised areas and lifting equipment should be supervised when in use. All the equipment to be used on the site should also be well maintained and checked for defects before use.


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