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Does altering an "illegal" conservatory require building regs? (UK)

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by MrMaxP, 21 Aug 2017.

  1. MrMaxP

    MrMaxP

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    Hi all,

    We have an "illegal" conservatory, or at least that's how the estate agent sold it to us. It is a 4m x 4m full glass height and polycarbonate roofed conservatory on the back of the house. However, there is no barrier between the house and the conservatory. In fact the entire back of the livingroom just continues as a conservatory. The previous owner got exception insurance to cover themselves. (I'm not sure what that means). I've been told it's illegal as it's technically an extension that doesn't comply with building regs.

    So... Obviously it makes the living room freezing in the winter. I'm looking to DIY some insulation either by SuperQuilting and boarding the inside or going the whole way and replacing the entire root with a lightweight tiled and insulated roof.

    Since it's a conservatory I don't need to get any permission / comply with regs, but since it's an "illegal" conservatory which is technically an extension, do I need to apply and comply with building regs? Is it even possible to comply in this situation?

    I'm concerned that if I contact them they'll tell me to tear it down or fit doors. (is this what the insurance is for? Would it cover doors if they told me to fit them?). I don't want to fit doors. We love the openness of the living room. We just want to be warm!

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Max
     
  2. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    If you contact the council, they won't tell you to tear it down but they will require you to make it conform to any required regulations.

    Your indemity insurance won't cover anything. Neither will your home insurance - literally won't cover you for anything unless you tell them about the unauthorized conservatory.
     
  3. tony1851

    tony1851

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    Would the council be able to take any enforcement under Building Regs (assuming > 1year elapsed)?
     
  4. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    They are able to get an injunction outside of any section 36 notice/time limit. Normally this would be for life safety or significant potential structural issues.

    But in the OP's case, if he makes a fresh application, then he is bound to make it conform and the clock starts again for his new work.
     
  5. tony1851

    tony1851

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    Agreed, but for an injunction the burden of proof would be on the council so this method is quite rare.
    And they couldn't prove a life-safety issue; worst punishment they could inflict would be no certificate.
     
  6. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Fire spread is easy to prove and hard to deny. An easy injunction.

    Out the lounge (a high risk area) up through the plastic roof sheets, across to the neighbours or up to the bedroom or roof above. All before you can say "beep, beep".
     
  7. tony1851

    tony1851

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    Q. Have you ever known of a local authority issuing an injunction against a conservatory open to the house?
     
  8. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    I'm not the best person to ask that.

    But in general, the LA will only injunct as a last resort and in extreme circumstances - or when someone makes enough fuss. In which case, something like an innocuous missing door, can be dressed up to have significant implications for fire spread. Likewise, that's how an insurer would get out of paying out on a claim that related to a risk greater than was notified to them.

    But in reality there are probablly thousands of houses without doors to conservatories, and the LA wont know or wont be interested. These situations are OK untill they become relevant, and then they are not OK. House sale time is perhaps one of the more relevant occasions.
     
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  9. geraldthehamster

    geraldthehamster

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    I'd be inclined to do it, complying with regs as far as possible, and worry about BC in the unlikely event they get involved. My limited experience suggests they'd want to see that the structure was adequate for the new roof, insulation was to standard and any wiring was compliant. All of which you'd probably want yourself.
     
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  10. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    It's always easier to do something and ask for forgiveness, than to ask to do it in the first place and be told "no".
     
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  11. Nakajo

    Nakajo

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    This seems snappier: It's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission - to (possibly) paraphrase Grace Hopper
     
  12. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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  13. michaelscad

    michaelscad

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    the councils re coming down hard building conservatories
    they know its a way of getting extensions built by people who
    don't want the councils involved for whatever reason
    'dodgy builders' building over sewers cheap accommadation
    its a way of getting round the rules and when built stick a roof on it
    one near me no chance of getting approval for a house extension
    bilds a conservatory then sticks a roof on it its been up 5 years simples
     
  14. geraldthehamster

    geraldthehamster

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    A conservatory does, or doesn't need planning permission on exactly the same basis as any other extension. Based on size and other factors. You may be confusing planning permission with building regulations.
     
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