Do I need permission for...

20 Jan 2010
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United Kingdom
I have just moved into my new house. I currently have an ensuite bathroom on the first floor. This was an alteration to the property about 10 years ago. I want to change the layout slightly to increase the size of the bathroom and move the door to the hall way. The original alteration has removed half of an internal wall and put up new walls to enclose the bathroom, my plan is to remove the rest of the wall and alter the other walls.

1. Do I need permission for the change as I will be changing the hall way layout and so potentially fire exits from bedrooms?
2. Do I need permission for the bathroom changes, the toilet will remain in the same place?
3. Do I need permission to remove the rest of the original wall if there has already been permission for some of its removal in the original alteration.
4. How can I find out what the original alteration had permission for, including an exact description.

Appologies if this exposes my ignorance but i'm just starting out and know i have a lot to learn!

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1. Not from a domestic point of view although if this layout has any structural/load bearing implications, then yes.
2. Some could argue that yes you would but to be honest, I wouldn't as it's "very" minor. It's not as if you're creating a new bathroom. You're simply altering the internal layout of the appliances.
3. Does one assume this wall is load bearing? If so, then yes, you would need to submit a Building Regulation (Building Notice) application.
4. Approach the Building Control department at your LA and they should be able to tell you that but details should have been passed to you when you took over the new property? And from a Building Reg's point of view, all I think the description would say would be... "Internal alterations to form bathroom" or similar. The BC department may have notes and drawings on file too.
Great, I don't think the wall is load bearing, but do i need to get this in writing and submit it somewhere or just keep hold of it? And who would be qualified to tell me? any builder or civil engineer??
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There are some checks you can carry out to see if it's load bearing (e.g. do the ceiling joists support onto it, run at perpendicular to the wall, etc...). A BCO could tell you but I don't think you should get them involved just incase they pick up on anything else. But some BCO's can be quite relaxed about it so it's up to you.

If you come down to sell (even though you have just moved), you could get it in writing that the works did not require Building Reg's. However, this would mean getting a BCO involved who (like I mentioned before) could at worst case ask you for an application.

At the end of the day, it's up to you how you go about doing it. Some people take risks... a lot of them and others would like to have somebody of authority on board early to advise if and when necessary. If the works did require a Building Reg's application, they could be done under a Building Notice anyway and for the smallest fee (i.e. works between £0-£2000). They should also be able to pop out, have a look and advise before you start.

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