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Does it matter if extension building control certificate is based on a technicality?

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by mashie, 8 Aug 2019.

  1. mashie

    mashie

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    The private Building Control company hired by my builder plans to issue a certificate for my new extension based on the fact it is exempt if the builder installs external doors between the extension and the existing house. This means no U value calcs are needed. Doors are not yet installed and I didn't originally want external ones.

    If I get a certificate through this technicality, is there any downside?

    I wanted an all-year-round extension not something officially classed as a conservatory. It's a 25 sq m, very highly glazed extension with a warm roof with lantern. Floor and roof have been inspected and meet regs; builder installed windows with U value 2.8 which I am paying him to replace with U value of 1 to 1.2).

    I am hopeful a full house SAP calc would pass as elsewhere (in a renovation covered separately by a different BC company) I am installing 10cm wall insulation (on over 60 sq m of wall), insulated lime plaster (8 sq m) and extensive double glazing (14 sq m) to replace 1970s aluminium windows. The total house floor area is 400 sq m. The extension elements individually meet regs but of course there is too much glass, even allowing for existing patio doors that are being covered up.

    Should I insist on a full house calc or let them issue a certificate on this basis and get on with my life? Does it matter as long as I get the certificate or could it bite me later (e.g. when selling).

    I'd be shooting myself in the foot if we don't meet regs with the full house SAP calc ...
     
  2. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    If it was me, I'd be really piissed off that I was being ripped off and conned.

    But it's your house, do what you like and just worry about it when you try to sell.
     
  3. mashie

    mashie

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    I am piissed off and a half and trying to fix it!

    I know you're sensible Woody, but in practice, it isn't easy fighting builders. What steps would you take to fix the situation?

    Currently the builder has downed tools because I briefly shouted at him on Tuesday and "he can't put his team at risk" (I'm a 5 foot 2, 55 yo female, clearly very scary for builders). But he won't walk away as he is due too much money and he is re-starting on Monday. It is a complete PIA. After 18 months of this we are desperate for it to be over but also want decent work done.

    So you reckon it does matter when it comes to sell? It will have a certificate.
     
  4. Notch7

    Notch7

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    If it was me, Id call an energy test company and discuss it.

    Im confident the one I use would get a whole house SAPS to pass......prob worth doing for the £300 it would cost.

    Mind you, in terms of selling, as long as you have a final cert, thats prob good enough.

    Whats confusing me is that an exempt structure normally has no inspections: theres no in between option, its either exempt or compliant.

    An exempt conservatory would have no inspections at any stage.

    Sounds to me like the builder or private inspectors are telling porkies.........
     
  5. mashie

    mashie

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    I have no doubt builder is telling porkies. I think he intended to pass regs properly and stuffed up because he doesn't even know what regs are, then found this loophole. He also won't complete the patio atm unless I accept in writing the risk of the fall he built being 1 in 100 ... I don't even know what that risk is, but I think I have to accept the falls because it isn't really something that could be changed given block and beam and walls are all in place... sigh...

    Could you please PM me with details of your energy test company?

    Husband thinks that for selling all we need is the cert, I suspect we'd have to state on some house info sheet that it only passed as an exempt conservatory (or whatever this trick turns it into...). I know some people would pass regs and then tear down the doors anyway! I actually want a warm room...
     
  6. securespark

    securespark

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    End of the day, if you're not getting what you want, or more to the point feel pressured to accept something that is less than what you wanted, you should stand your ground.
     
  7. Notch7

    Notch7

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    Often thats easier said than done.

    The law doesnt protect the innocent.

    Time delays and legal costs nean its often best to avoid.
     
  8. jonbey

    jonbey

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    You need the cert though, don't pay them until you have it.

    Do you know how much insulation went in the floor and walls? Probably 100mm in the walls, if 70mm kingspan in the floor it might all pass.
    Do you have anything in writing though - were there plans showing it open to the house?
     
  9. mashie

    mashie

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    Hi Jonbey, The plans showed the doors - mere accident. The architect happened to draw the existing (completely shot) doors.

    From building control inspections:

    The floor is "100mm PIR to floor with compacted MOT and lapped dpm"
    Roof is "Warm roof 120mm Celotex on top all ok."
    From what builder said I thought this was minimal but is 100mm better in fact (looks as if minimal would be 70mm)
    Nothing useful in writing. Never again...
     
  10. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Despite having a certificate, if a buyer instructs a surveyor and he does as he should and check that the work done tallys with the certificate issued, then it would flag up as an issue. So don't think that having a bit of paper is a get out of jail card.

    Money is the main motivator with building work, but it sounds like you may not have that lever if the contract has not been managed properly and you are in this predicament in the first place.

    But the option of county court action remains in order for you to recover your losses from the builder's work and potentially instructing new builders - but it's whether that is something you are prepared to undertake.

    The big thing is that what you agree now has an impact on you for the future, and your builder is off on his other work without a care in the world. What that means in practical terms is that if the room is freezing cold or boiling hot, if you can't use the room for 9 months of the year, if the work is crap and has maintenance issues, if you hit massive problems in trying to sell and lose out finacially, then all that comes back to the decisions you make today about what to do with this builder. And if there are any problems in the future they are your problems and not the builder's - who has been paid and is grinning like a cheshire cat.
     
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  11. mashie

    mashie

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    Thank you Woody. The work will tally with the certificate in that we'll bite the bullet and install external doors. I planned on double glazed doors in any case just from common sense, to keep other rooms warm in winter.

    I agree with everything you say but don't feel able to push back much. It is a daily battle as it is and I have to choose my fights. I could resort to the law but because of our lack of documentation it would be difficult to prove what was agreed.
     
  12. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    OK, but for what it's worth at the county court, judges are very good at determining what would have been intended or implied when there are no documents or records. A homeowner is not expected to know much about building work and so allowances are made for that, and the builder's actions (and what they should have done being the "professional" party) are under more scrutiny and open to criticism. As long as reasonableness can be demonstated then that tends to be enough to sway decisions.

    But yes sometimes it may well be best to move on. But if the work is not complete, deal with things differently from now on to prevent any further issues. And don't pay money unless work is complete and verified as being satisfactory, as that's the only lever you may have.
     
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  13. jonbey

    jonbey

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    Of course, if the insulation is not up to scratch, then you will have a cold room in winter, and you might well want to close it off anyway. In which case, you might as well put in a nice bifold door to separate the rooms. But if you want it as a usable room all year, meaning cosy enough to walk about barefoot in PJs etc. then you need to get it sorted, so that there are no unusual causes on the building control certificate.
     
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  14. mrrusty

    mrrusty

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    What did you ask him to build? An extension? or a conservatory?
     
  15. mashie

    mashie

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    We asked for a sunroom. Never a conservatory. May have used the word extension and the word orangery. Not conservatory because it has a solid roof (with lantern) and one solid wall. Good thought...

    I've spoken to a lot of people today and decided not to do a SAP calc but to go with the building certificate as gained, allow him to install the external doors inside (which is not a huge deal as we planned on doors anyway) and try to make sure the overall spec is what we want (by installing good glass not the 2.8 clear-clear double glazing units the builder provided...)..

    thanks to all for the good advice and common sense...
     
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