Do You Need Planning Permission?

We’re often asked by clients, “Do you need planning permission to get an extension?”. The worry is, of course, the stress of all the paperwork, the hopes of getting approval, the dismay and disappointment if you’re not approved, and then having to repeat the whole ordeal again. When you’re looking at the big picture at the early start of a home renovation or extension, it can feel intimidating, to say the least. Thankfully, we can assure our clients even at this early stage with two answers that are equally true.

Do You Need Planning Permission?

Our first answer for many of our clients is this; You absolutely don’t need to get planning permission to completely change your home. You would be amazed what adding just two or three hundred square feet to your home can do when it’s done strategically and with an overall vision in mind. You can create a home that really works. A common problem with traditional Irish houses is that the proportions are all wrong. You have important rooms like your living area that are too long and narrow, hallways that are too tight and small, kitchen and living rooms that aren’t centred, poorly placed doors that can make your living room feel a bit like a corridor. By strategically adding space to your home, the other rooms and partition walls can be reconsidered. Together, we can look at how you live, how you’d love to live, and we can re-envision your space to support you and your family.

Our Second Answer

So, do you need Planning Permission? Our second answer is for you if perhaps you need more space. Say you have a bigger family or more ideas of what they’d like your home to be. For you, we’d say you might need to get planning permission — but this absolutely does not have to be a source of stress for you. Sure, if you were doing this alone it could be problematic. But the reality is we do this every day. We know what the planning authorities need and want in a design. So we take your dream and ideas, and together we can create a plan. We ensure that what you want can be achieved with swift and painless approval. We are happy to manage the planning application process. Rest assured that no matter what steps you need to take, we’re here to help you. If you’d like to see what’s possible, feel free to give us a call today. We would be delighted to stop by to meet you, discuss your ideas, and give you an opportunity to see what we can accomplish. 

Getting Planning Permission for an Extension

Getting planning permission for an extension can be a tricky affair when you’re unsure of local regulations and other hurdles. Planning authorities have specific guidelines and occasionally some unwritten ‘no-goes’ that if you’re unaware of, can slow down the approval process or even lead to rejections in some cases.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult

We started Sigma Homes because we believed homeowners should be able to enjoy the experience of a new project or home extension. In a real sense, our goal is to improve our clients’ lives. Not just while we work with them during the design, planning and building phase, but for every day after for the rest of their lives. A large part of meeting our goal has been to alleviate the stresses of a build, renovation or home extension. In the years since we began, we have looked carefully at the areas of a typical project. And we took particular care in understanding areas that become ‘stressors’ for our clients, intending to alleviate or remove them altogether.

Getting Permission

planning permission for an extension

In some cases, planning permission for your extension must meet stringent criteria. Thankfully, we understand what planning authorities expect and require. We also know how to get the most out of your project while still adhering to these criteria. It’s almost always possible for you to get an incredible home extension no matter the criteria.

We provide a free consultation service that covers planning application requirements. We have the expertise and knowledge to anticipate potential snags before they ever become an issue during application. And if you decide to work with us, we will handle all aspects of the Planning Application process for you.

“We’ve Had Trouble Getting Planning Permission for an Extension In The Past”

If you’ve had trouble getting planning permission before, we might be able to help. Because we know what planning authorities are looking for and have now gone over hundreds of applications and reviews. We have an unmatched understanding of the landscape that means we can often navigate through the application phase without any hiccups. Having done this hundreds of times from new builds to renovations, we know how to help you maximise every facet of your project. You may be concerned that the authorities will reject your application. We’re often able to foresee and work around potential issues in a way that meets the planning authority’s strict criteria — so that you are more likely to get approval the first time around, even in particularly tricky circumstances. And even when previous attempts have failed, we have often had success in our first round.
If you’d like to find out more about consultation service, call us today on 021-436-5866

Building Project Management: Aiming for Excellence

Building project management can be one of the most stressful parts of a home renovation — especially when you’re doing it yourself. At Sigma Homes, we have examined the building industry in Ireland. We identified its most significant issues and used modern systems design principles to eliminate the cost, time-wasting and uglier aspects of the industry.

We aim for nothing but excellence. This is an easy thing to say, but we believe we have shown this is true through our results.  Our aim is to make everything easy. We will work closely with you throughout a redesign, new build, extension or renovation. Starting from planning, throughout the build, down to your experience after we leave and you’re enjoying your home, we aim to make everything about the experience pleasant and easy for you.

Building Project Management That Exceeds Expectations

It’s not enough to surpass expectations and get the job done on-time. We want to give you a lovely experience through and through. Everyone on our team showcases exceptional workmanship and professionalism. Our team of electricians, plumbers, plasterers, tilers, roofers and other building professionals each individually deliver quality work, delivered on-time while giving you a positive experience.  If you’re staying at home during the work, we’ll do our best to coordinate the project around your life. 

Building Project Management

You may have an existing space and looking to build an extension, or you may already have some ideas of what you’d like to do with it. We can call out to get a sense of the space and draw up plans based on your ideas. Our architect can ensure that whatever design you choose, it will maximise light and space to your specifications.

We’ll meet up with you regularly to follow-up on what has happened. We will provide a timeline so that you know what to expect – and we make every effort to ensure that dreams match reality. This is really important to us, especially when we know you have a busy life or kids. If we give you a timeline, we will hit it. We provide a 10-year warranty on a build or renovation. If you ever have a problem, you will always know that we’re only a phone call away. 

To find out more or to arrange a consultation, contact us today on 021 234 8095

Sigma Homes Wins The Best Of Houzz Award For Design

Sigma Homes of Cork

Awarded Best Of Houzz 2020

The Annual People’s Choice Award from the Houzz Community Highlights Home Renovation and Design Professionals with Most Popular Designs and Top Ratings

Cork, Ireland, 13 February, 2020 – Sigma Homes of Cork has won a “Best Of Houzz” award for Design on Houzz®, the leading platform for home renovation and design. The incredible Cork-based design and build team was chosen by the millions of homeowners that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 2.5 million active home building, renovation and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz badge is awarded annually, in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design awards honour professionals whose work was the most popular among the Houzz community. Customer Service honours are based on several factors, including a pro’s overall rating on Houzz and client reviews submitted in 2019. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognised with the Photography award.

A “Best Of Houzz 2020” badge will appear on winners’ profiles as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“We’re really happy here at Sigma Homes to receive this award, it’s really good feedback and it lets us know that we’re moving in the right direction. I want to thank Houzz but most importantly all of our customers and all of our staff. Stay tuned for an even bigger year” – Patrick Sigma Homes

“This year’s Best Of Houzz awards go to an incredibly talented and service-oriented group of home renovation and design professionals, and we’re proud to highlight the winners on the Houzz website and app,” said Inés Cid, Managing Director for Houzz UK. “This award is particularly meaningful as it reflects the sentiment of the millions of homeowners in the Houzz community who are hiring home professionals for their projects across the UK and around the world.”

Follow Sigma Homes on Houzz

About Sigma Homes

Sigma Homes’ design and build team has over 40 years experience completing one of a kind home extensions and renovations. They utilise this experience in every project to ensure they maximise the potential in your home and deliver a high-quality bespoke product. Their attention to every detail of your home ensures that they offer a high-quality complete project meeting all your requirements on time and on budget. Their high level of performance has earned them not only this award, but also the coveted Cork Construction Company Of The Year award for several years in a row. Whatever the project, Sigma Homes never fails to meet and exceed expectations.

About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home renovation and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, discover products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow, Tel Aviv and Tokyo. Houzz is a registered trademark of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit

House Renovations

At Sigma Homes, we provide a full design and build for house renovations. We listen to what it is you want out of the extension and what it is you want to change within the house itself. We take everything on-board and present you with a plan that includes everything you want. When it comes to home renovations, it’s the little details that make a difference.  If we see something during planning that’s within your budget which might take advantage of the space in ways you might not have thought of, we’ll suggest it when we think it’s something you might appreciate.

During Your House Renovation

Many builders are very pleasant when you first meet them because they want the job. But within the industry, there’s an issue with builders neglecting the project over time, becoming unapproachable or uncontactable as the build continues, causing delays through a series of design and build errors and then becoming irritable when things need to be fixed or adapted.

At Sigma Homes, we pay attention to detail. We know that the cost and time add up when things are not done to standard, which is why we stick to the budget originally set out. To do this, we only hire excellent, friendly and approachable professionals who care about their work. We treat your home as if it were our own.

Changing Plans During Renovations

We understand that things change. As plans becoming tangible, you may see things more clearly than when looking at a drawing. When this happens, you will naturally want to change things slightly, little things that you want to change or tweak to better suit your needs. That’s not a problem. We’ll take everything on board and our architect will always be there, guiding you through the process. We’ll remain flexible and approachable in all aspects of the renovation. 

Whether it’s just a single room, such as a kitchen, or full house renovations, if you will continue to live in the house, we’ll plan around your day. We’ll arrive in the house every day at the same time, and leave at the same time each day (ideally before you come home from work). We’ll always aim to leave your home as clean and tidy as possible to minimise disruption throughout the build. If you have kids, we’ll always aim to keep safety as a priority both inside and out of the house.

House Renovations that Stay On Time and On Budget

Our promise to our clients is to deliver within budget. We’ll aim to allow for scope for any small changes that might arise during the build. and we’ll treat the timeframe we set out very seriously. If you’d like to discuss your own renovation with us, feel free to contact us on 021 2348 095

Why Hire An Architect?

“Why hire an architect” is often a question that arises at those early stages of a renovation or new build. Perhaps you’ve got the basics of the plan. You can see what you need, and you already have some great ideas for the finishes. You have all these ideas laid out, and on paper, it looks clear as day. You want to keep the costs down, and you’re looking for ways to do that. This is one of the critical points in a project where if you’re not careful, things can go awry. We spent years identifying what is wrong (and occasionally right) with the building industry and coming up with solutions. Here are a few thoughts to help you decide what’s best for your project.

“Why hire an architect when we’ve made it this far ourselves”?

why hire an architect?

When you’re looking at a new build or renovation at the initial stages, it’s deceptively straightforward. Even for people who have been in the industry for years, it’s easy to view the plan as a checklist of items and think, “that just needs these traders, these suppliers, these fixtures — and I can organise them myself and find the cheapest options”. 

But thinking about a project and being in the thick of managing a project are two different animals.  Counterintuitively, the most expensive problems often arise because we are trying to reduce costs at the expense of quality and management.  The problem arises because it’s easy to get a “Yes” from traders and suppliers in the planning stages. They want the work, and they’ll often say they have the skill to complete your project to standard, even if they’re not completely familiar with a technology, design or approach. Recommendations can sometimes be misleading. A trader may have delivered a great office extension for your parents, but does that mean they have the skill and knowledge for your project?

Why Hire an Architect? Because Trying To Cut Costs In A Complex Process Can Lead to Greater Expense — And Disappointment

Shopping around, you can find traders who will get each individual job done. But problems arise when you need traders on-site at a specific time. Each trader is their own business, and as you know, out of fear of losing out, they are often running more jobs at a time than they can handle — often with little care for how that affects their customer’s lives. A three-month project can quickly become an eight-month project when you’re unable to begin the next stage till a certain task is completed. Maybe you’re relying on the roofing and air-tightness to be resolved before you can consider electrics. Then you find out that the roofers missed something because they weren’t in communication with the air-tightness guys or didn’t know about the latest specifications, so now that’s delayed too, because they had another job lined up so it’ll be three weeks before they can come back to you. And now you’re stuck for another six weeks because the airtightness needs to be completed before you can even think about plastering. And the problems, delays, and stress, can cascade until a seemingly ‘simple’ four-month project becomes a nine-month tragedy of errors. This can be tough when you’re waiting on a new home, but when it’s a house extension and you find yourself living on a construction site, it can be a nightmare.

So, why hire an architect, or specifically a build manager?

Because they will be able to avoid many of the issues that arise in this scenario. A good architect and/or site manager will know and anticipate the issues before they arise. They may have their own contractors who they can recommend for the task at hand and will help keep things moving.

At Sigma Homes, we provide a one-stop solution for all of these issues, and more…
We have studied the problems of the building industry in search of innovative solutions. We’ve examined where the bottlenecks occur and how unplanned costs arise. Using modern approaches, standards and “design thinking” techniques, we have streamlined the entire process with a focus on you, our client’s needs. Whether you have a design already laid out or you need help from the very beginning, we will come to you as one team. We put you first. We aim to reduce your costs, reduce disruptions and keep timelines to the absolute minimum. We keep everything clearly defined and on paper from day one so that there are no unpleasant surprises. Our team can help you from the very beginning, to conceive or refine your plans and ensure they’re to spec, and our builders and traders will bring what you want to completion with minimal interruptions, to standard, using the best materials, modern styles and finishes. So that you enjoy exceptional service and exceptional results.

If you’d like more clarity on your own project, we’ll be happy to talk. Call us today on 021 2348095.

6 Home Extension Tips

Are you planning a home extension? There are some tips to keep in mind if you’d rather handle it yourself.  Below are some quick pointers to keep in mind before you start any house extensions in Cork.  If you don’t get all your questions answered or you’re simply looking for professional advice, we’re very open to helping. We’ve decades of combined experience working with the best (and rescuing extensions made by the worst) in the industry.

1. Evaluate the Cost

Before starting out it’s important to be clear on your budget. You’ll need to assess the total potential costs, factoring in planning fees, design fees, insurance, material costs, labour and other factors. The following areas will influence the total cost.

2. Does your home extension need planning permission?

You must adhere to all building regulations, but not all home extensions need planning permission. Roughly speaking, any extension with less than 40sqm, and under 3-metres in height may be exempt from planning permission.  If you have any doubt, ask for a Section 5 Declaration Form from Cork City Council, or a Certificate of Lawful Development to ensure that you don’t need planning permission.

3. Assess The Extension’s Design

The design needs to factor in the kind of sunlight exposure you want, elevation, and the existing structure.  You must also consider the site and the existing house. You might need an architectural designer for the house design, and potentially a structural engineer to assess the correct construction materials. Additionally, you may want someone to assess the building energy rating.

4. Identify Finishes Before You Start

To Manage Your Budget, identify as many windows, doors, tiles and appliances as you can. Finding the right products for your space, within your budget, and crucially, with a good provider, can be a time-consuming and stressful ordeal. But it’s better to get started earlier. It might be hard shopping around now, but it’ll help you avoid the pain of selecting the wrong suppliers and having to contend with delays or re-orders for poorly installed or damaged fittings. The sooner you start shopping around the better. The best way to get an accurate price for your home extension is to have as many finishes listed as you can in advance. Otherwise, you’re at risk of ‘cost creep’.

5. Stay in Keeping with Fire & Building Control

If you secured planning permission you will need to go through the building control process by filing a commencement notice. Building Control requires that all structural work (including insulation) is filed for home extensions. The only exceptions are:

  1. Ground-level porches under 5sqm around an external door (even then, the porch’s glazing must comply with Part 5 of the Regulations).
  2. Conservatories under thirty square metres that are composed of mostly glass or transparent materials (50% of all walls and 75% of the roofing)
  3. Detached garages under thirty square metres composed of non-flammable materials.

6. Check that Your Insurance Is Still Valid

Ensure that your insurance isn’t going to expire during the building of the home extension. Also, check if you can get an insurance extension during construction. If you hire a contractor to manage the build, ensure that their insurance covers both public liability and employer’s liability.

7. Consider Getting An Expert To Handle All of This For You

If you’re undecided about whether to handle the build yourself, please give us a call on 021-2348095.  We’re always happy to help. If you’d like to read more about how we can help you renovate your home. 

How A New Home Extension Can Work Wonders For Your Home

Given the Irish weather and building norms of yesteryear, many of us live, or have lived, in the standard 3-bed semi-detached house typical of its time and designed as a functional family home but one that seems dated by today’s standards.


Building Technologies

Building technologies have improved hugely in recent years, and people considering a home extension can now enjoy design and build features that were simply not feasible in the past.

The combination of air tightness, new glazing systems and improved building and heating technologies all combine to ensure that even the most open plan of homes and extensions will remain warm and cosy throughout the year, and will, of course, cost a lot less than older homes to run.


Open Plan Design Features

Open plan features are particularly beneficial for family life, as the whole family can relax and spend time in the same space without feeling claustrophobic or in one another’s way. These spaces can be designed to suit the needs of a modern or growing family, and may include kitchen and dining spaces, and also seated areas where the whole family can relax together in a convivial home life environment.


Modern Kitchen Designs

One of the key benefits enjoyed by those who remodel and extend their existing homes is that they can now install a truly modern kitchen complete with the latest in storage solutions and space saving ideas, and not to mention the inclusion of thoroughly modern cooking appliances.

Discerning home owners typically use their new extension to locate the kitchen of their choice and we at Sigma Homes can help you to design and build the kitchen of your dreams that in its way will soon become the centre-piece of your new home.


Effective Glazing Solutions

Modern glazing solutions allow for the extensive use of floor to ceiling glass that allows any home to make the most of the natural bright daylight without compromising on the warmth and cosiness of the house.

In addition to these glazing options, the modern home extension can include custom-made sliding doors that facilitate the extension of the home into the garden if so desired by the home owner, and in this way add a huge amount of variation to the family lifestyle throughout the year.

Building a new home extension is a very personal journey for the home owners, and at Sigma Homes we understand that, and that is why we work with each of our clients to ensure their journey with us is as seamless and enjoyable as possible.

To this end we are always fully aware of the individual design features that any home owner might wish to include in their extension, and that is why we bring our many years of building experience to every project so that the home owners can include design cues and features that are truly unique to them, and that ensure they are truly happy and comfortable in their newly remodelled home.