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Existing Loft Conversion and Building Regs

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by Footsoldier888, 8 May 2018.

  1. Footsoldier888

    Footsoldier888

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    I am interested in a house for sale. It is a Victorian semi with gable roof which is laid in concrete tiles.

    It is being sold as a 2 bed house with loft room and it must be some form of ladder access. In the loft is a fully fitted out bedroom with double bed, wardrobe, TV. No en-suite. No dormer but one velux type window.

    My question is this - given that the room is plasterboarded and carpeted how would a surveyor be able to test the joists, if I went for a full structural survey?

    Assuming it was done 25 years or so ago, is there a chance it confroms to regs as they were at the time? I think they can't have a completion certificate because of the fact the house is being sold as a 2 bed. But is it possible I could obtain one assuming the work was done correctly?

    Or alternatively should I really be thinking in terms of discounting it entirely?

    http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-61502329.html
     
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  3. wessex101

    wessex101

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    The two main hurdles appear to be the means of escape in what looks like an open plan ground floor and probably insulation thickness.

    Not much has changed with Building Regs for loft conversions over last 30 years other than insulation and fire doors self closers so it probably never complied.
     
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  4. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    There would be no testing of joists. The room is not a proper room and so the surveyor should not really be reporting on it as such, but should just comment on the apprarent appearance and condition and recommend that it is either bought up to regulation standard or used only for storage.

    He may well stomp on the floor and comment on whether it is bouncy.

    Normally, further investigation is recommended to either lift a floorboard (not part of normal home survey) or instruct an structural appraisal. But in this case as the room is unauthorised, then the surveyor should not recommend further investigation other than if there is a clear structrual issue.

    BTW, a structural survey will only comment on the structure, and not on any other regulation issues such as fire safety or insualtion etc.

    No loft served by a ladder would have met any building regulations at any time.

    Check the insurance implications for if you buy such a property.
     
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  5. Footsoldier888

    Footsoldier888

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    Thanks both, invaluable advice.

    Woody I did not know that about the structural survey and fire regs. Or the ladder for that matter, I thought there had been some leeway allowed in the past. Clearly mistakenly.

    Yes very good point re insurance. There was a case this year where a family lost their house after the insurance refused to pay out following a fire. They insured it as a 3 bed but were infact using two loft rooms as bedrooms.
     
  6. wessex101

    wessex101

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    If that is the case I'm thinking of that was just to do with the estimated rebuilding cost, nothing to do with non compliant loft conversions.

    I cannot remember the figures but it was something along the lines of buildings insurance was based on £300k rebuilding cost for a 3 bed house when it was in fact a 5 bed with a rebuild cost of £400k. Insurance companies have always been very quick to invalidate a claim for under estimating the rebuild cost by homeowner to keep the policy premiums artificially low.
     
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  8. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Risk is also a big factor.

    If you say its a 3 bed then the premium is based on the risk from that, not from the higher risk of a 5 bed - more people and more space and more things to go wrong - especially with an unauthorised conversion of unknown standard.

    Under-insuring is an easy thing for the insurer, so may be a preferred route if available.
     
  9. Footsoldier888

    Footsoldier888

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    Ok I have this case now, my memory of it was a bit sketchy and not quite how I presented it!

    http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/...rer-refused-pay-said-7-bedrooms-not-five.html

    I am not really clear what to take from the case and can't help wondering if there was a bit more to it ;).

    What they didn't discuss was the loft hatch. If it was all closed off then that would surely impinge on the definition of a bedroom. Was the ladder fixed or retractable? And were there beds in or not?

    At that sort of money you would think the case would go quite high up the legal chain, what with no win no fee lawyers nowadays. Interesting case though.
     
  10. SFK

    SFK

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    Foot,
    I too agree that not really clear what to take from the case and can't help wondering if there was a bit more to it.

    But comment from owner (Paul) suggests that he had put a bed into the room in question:
    "Paul says 'Installing a radiator, cupboard and throwing a bed in a small room does not make it suitable sleeping accommodation'."

    SFK
     
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  11. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    That's worth s court claim. I feel especially sorry for one of the kids.
     
  12. big-all

    big-all

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    measure the opening from ceiling to floor level if its around 125mm its likely to be a trampoline
    nearer 200mm has a better chance off being up to standard
     
  13. DIYnot Local

    DIYnot Local

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