Architects use strange, unfamiliar language which can leave even a well versed property-enthusiast confused. Here is a little compilation of our most common architectural terms at Build Team, which will hopefully help put some terms into perspective. Of course, if something is still unclear, always ask – our Design Team and Build Team are always more than happy to help.

Side Return

This is generally a narrow extension built between your existing house and the boundary with your neighbour. They often ‘return’ the entire length of the building but can have a courtyard space between the existing and new to minimise light loss.  We always suggest you have some roof lights in your new extension, our favourites are Velux and Inflected skylights which make up for any loss of side windows.

Rear Extension

This is where the back of the property is extended, into the garden. The extension can come as far back as 6 metres out from the existing building as long as a percentage of the garden is retained. These can also be two storey extensions or contain a roof terrace to give a wonderful, outside space and make up for having a smaller garden.

Wrap Around

This is a combination of the two previous types of extension – Side Return and Rear Extension. The new extended spaces are built to the rear and side of the existing building, “wrapping” around the old.  This really makes the most of your project – in essence it is almost like creating two spaces and will maximise the amount of additional space in your new room.

Inflected Skylight

These are used in Side Return and Wrap Around extensions and are bespoke triangular roof windows. They typically allow light into the middle of the home. They are liked by Local Councils as from the exterior they look traditional and are not over imposing. As seen in our project below in Camberwell the finished effect is also stunning and highly stylish! See our bespoke windows blog for more information!

Party Wall

If you are extending, you will very likely have to serve at least one Notice to your neighbour(s). The Party Wall refers to the shared boundary with your neighbour. Notices to relevant neighbours have to be given before any building work can take place, and depending on how they react to the Notice, you’ll be presented with various options for how to proceed and draw up an agreement.

At Build Team, we have an in-house Party Wall Expert who can help with this part of the process.

If you are considering a new extension and aren’t sure what would be possible in your current home or are confused by any terms on our website – give us a call and book a site visit. Our Deign Team and Build Team are happy to help and talk through any questions you have. To book your site visit, get in touch with our team today on 0207 495 6561 – we’re open 7 days a week!