1. Visiting from the US? Why not try DIYnot.US instead? Click here to continue to DIYnot.US.
    Dismiss Notice

Loft Conversion - Ground Floor Building Regs

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by s3nf2029, 19 May 2016.

  1. s3nf2029

    s3nf2029

    Joined:
    19 May 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Thanks Received:
    0
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    I am currently mid-loft conversion build in Brentford, Middlesex and have just been informed by my builder and architect that they missed out telling me a crucial piece of information. Apparently to meet building regs we must close off our Ground Floor open plan living/dining room as part of the works. This has a huge impact on what we wanted to do with the property and completely changes the dynamic of the house (AKA we wouldn't have done the loft if we had know about this). My architect is useless and of no help at all. Can anyone think of a clever alternative than to what my architect has suggested in the plans below?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Sponsored Links
  3. wessex101

    wessex101

    Joined:
    4 Jul 2013
    Messages:
    1,208
    Thanks Received:
    207
    Location:
    Dorset
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    I hope your "architect's" professional indemnity insurance is up to date. That is probably one of the worst mistakes I have ever seen. What a numpty and certainly not a qualified architect or architectural designer.

    Not used them myself but I believe you can have an open plan ground floor on a 2 storey with second floor loft conversion with a small domestic sprinkler system. Probably not cheap.
     
  4. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

    Joined:
    3 Nov 2006
    Messages:
    25,557
    Thanks Received:
    2,549
    Location:
    Bedfordshire
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    A friend had a very similar experience. It comes down to the need to protect the escape route from the loft to the outside of the house. The stairs have to be closed off from ground floor rooms to prevent the spread of smoke and / or flames into the stair well and thus preventing them being used to evacute the building. There is a possible exempton if there is a safe way to evacute people from the loft via windows to the loft and a safe route from those windows to the ground. Sliding down a roof is NOT considered to be safe.

    As with the case of my friend's loft conversion your architect was negligent in not pointing this out to you before work started
     
  5. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

    Joined:
    21 Jan 2007
    Messages:
    19,736
    Thanks Received:
    2,206
    Location:
    Devon
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Sprinklers are around £2-4K though actually not all BCO's will accept them. Occasionally a mains interlinked smoke detector in every room will get you an approval but depends on the inspector and layout.

    Presumably this is being done on a Notice? That's the risk of doing it on a Notice but agree its a cock up by the designer, assuming the order of events is as simple as its been described.
     
  6. Nakajo

    Nakajo

    Joined:
    5 Dec 2014
    Messages:
    2,081
    Thanks Received:
    191
    Location:
    Berkshire
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Or build the wall, put in mains inter-linked smoke alarms (this bit is vital), get BC sign-off. Remove the wall. Put the wall back when you come to sell. Incidentally, I grew up in a house just like your existing plan. The District Surveyor (as we called them back then), grumbled but in the end was happy that my parents provided a smoke alarm (battery powered of course). They live there still (my parents, not the DS).
     
  7. s3nf2029

    s3nf2029

    Joined:
    19 May 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Thanks Received:
    0
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Thanks for all your comments guys. Our building control company has suggested that they will give sign off if we have a sprinkler system installed on the ground floor to compensate. We are now looking to install a Plumis Automist system. It looks expensive but we will see what happens. In regards to the architects professional indemnity insurance. What legal action can we take?
     
  8. Sponsored Links
  9. wessex101

    wessex101

    Joined:
    4 Jul 2013
    Messages:
    1,208
    Thanks Received:
    207
    Location:
    Dorset
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    It depends. Is the "architect" actually qualified? Are they a member of one of the professional institutions? Do they even have PI cover? It will also depend on the terms of engagement and exactly what he was contracted to provide. If it is being done on a building notice did you actually have detailed construction drawings?

    For instance I am regulated by my Institution so I have to provide a complaints procedure which includes free access to an independent ombudsman scheme, that is on top of my PI cover and the threat of being struck off if I'm naughty or stupid.

    Probably best going back to him with a breakdown of the extra/unexpected costs you have incurred because of his incompetence and ask him what he is going to do about it. I suspect it will end up as a small claims court job, now called Moneyclaim or something. If he doesn't have PI you'll have to weigh up if he has enough assets to make it worth while.

    Not sure you would get full cost of sprinkler system as you would have needed that anyway (or partition to the stairs) but possibly part of the cost if you argue that if he had advised you correctly from the outset you would not have proceeded with the loft conversion.
     
  10. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

    Joined:
    21 Jan 2007
    Messages:
    19,736
    Thanks Received:
    2,206
    Location:
    Devon
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    That's all very well but apart from the obvious safety issues the house insurance will be completely invalid. But fires always happen to someone else.
     
  11. s3nf2029

    s3nf2029

    Joined:
    19 May 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Thanks Received:
    0
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Having recently had a major water leak in the house (which prompted doing the loft conversion now) the last thing I want to do is invalidate my house insurance!
     
  12. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

    Joined:
    3 Nov 2006
    Messages:
    25,557
    Thanks Received:
    2,549
    Location:
    Bedfordshire
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Check with the insurance company for their opinion about sprinklers instead of a fire proof wall. Check that they will pay for water damage after a false triggering of the sprinkler system

    Also considered the effect a sprinkler / mist will have on people evacuting the building in the dark.
     
  13. Nakajo

    Nakajo

    Joined:
    5 Dec 2014
    Messages:
    2,081
    Thanks Received:
    191
    Location:
    Berkshire
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Have a look at mist suppression systems. I've not used one, but they start at about £500 for a (very) basic installation. But check with your BCO if this is acceptable to them.
     
  14. ^woody^

    ^woody^

    Joined:
    3 Sep 2006
    Messages:
    33,546
    Thanks Received:
    4,561
    Location:
    West Mids
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Just fit a Grade B LD1 or LD2 fire detection system
     
  15. DIYnot Local

    DIYnot Local

    Joined:
    3 Sep 2019
    Country:
    United Kingdom

    If you need to find a tradesperson to get your job done, please try our local search below, or if you are doing it yourself you can find suppliers local to you.

    Select the supplier or trade you require, enter your location to begin your search.


    Are you a trade or supplier? You can create your listing free at DIYnot Local

     
Loading...

Share This Page