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Looked at a house with no building regs in loft conversion

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by Looking to buy, 25 Jul 2020.

  1. Looking to buy

    Looking to buy

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    I know this isnt exactly an uncommon thing. However, theres stairs up to the conversion from the landing without any sort of fire door etc. Is it advisable to try and buy a property like this or is it a minefield in terms of structural issues and purposely not attempted to be signed off.

    Link below
    https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-82008484.html
     
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  3. tony1851

    tony1851

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    a) how long ago was the conversion done?
    b) is the house being sold with the conversion classed as a bedroom?
     
  4. Looking to buy

    Looking to buy

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    A) unsure at the moment, going to find out.
    B) no.

    Our main worry was structural issues if it was a cowboy job and maybe issues selling down the line.
     
  5. SpecialK

    SpecialK

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    The roof windows appeared between 31/12/2001 and 31/12/2005 according to google maps. They got planning for the rear extension in 2005 (Fri 26 Aug 2005) and that was also on the map on the 31/12/05.

    So the loft extension could have been in for 15 years. Comparing it to the other properties are they selling it as adding value? There may be no insulation - could be freezing in winter. Perhaps knock on their door and ask - They may have loads of pictures of it being completed...!
     
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  6. johnny2007

    johnny2007

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    We bought a house with an undeclared loft conversion (a proper bodge).
    We paid extra to have a structural engineer assess that nothing structural had been damaged beyond repair and, apart from a couple of easily replaceable roof supports, the house was ok.
    We bought it at same rate as other houses in the area without "conversion" and eventually added a dormer to it.
    Stairs were replaced as they were the mdf kind that last a couple of years.
    So my advice is to get it checked for structural stability.
     
  7. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Insurance will be either high, not available, invalid or you may be required to get the work regularised as part of getting insured.
     
  8. johnny2007

    johnny2007

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    Not sure about that.
    If you use the loft as a loft, make sure it's structurally safe and it's not classed as a bedroom, insurance will not need to know.
    Differently if you use it as a bedroom.
     
  9. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    If it's got fixed stairs, then it's a conversion whatever you call it or do with it.
     
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  11. johnny2007

    johnny2007

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    Ah, yes.
    I missed that bit.
     
  12. tony1851

    tony1851

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    It's long out of time for the council to take any action over it.
    With regard to structure, many of these unauthorized conversions just used the existing ceiling joists for the floor instead of putting normal floor joists in. If so, the floor won't collapse, but might be a bit bouncy.
    The roof might not be insulated to modern standards but, again, not actionable.
     
  13. frutbunn

    frutbunn

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    Regardless of how anyone chooses to describe it is a loft conversion and a habitable space, even if BC accepted that it was not a habitable space (unlikely) there is still work that has been carried out that is subject to B Regs, however due to the length of time involved they are statute barred from enforcement
    You can apply for retrospective approval (regularisation Certificate), however you must still satisfy BC it complies with the B Regs applicable at the time the work was commenced, this may involve opening up and carrying out remedial work.
    Indemnity insurance is available but I know nothing about it or its implications, however I have personally been involved with 3 Reg cert apps where indemnity insurance had been previously purchased and claims had been denied, as a consequence Reg Cert was applied for. I understand that litigation was in progress and I believe my report of non compliant work was to be used as evidence, so be cautious of following this route. I will stress that other than dealing with these purely as a BCO I had no other involvement.
    Oddly Sunderland is the only authority I either haven't worked for or submitted any B Reg apps to in the NE.
     
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  14. Looking to buy

    Looking to buy

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    Thanks for all the replies. We like the house but it's not even like its s retractable ladder, like people have said it's a fixed staircase and clearly a part of the house. It has been sold stc previously and came back onto the market, so obviously it did cross my mind that it could be this as the issue.

    Its certainly alot of money to gamble with and the vendor apparently isnt interested in chasing the sign off.
     
  15. Looking to buy

    Looking to buy

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    Does having fixed stairs change anything legally/issue wise rather than having a retractable ladder.
     
  16. Looking to buy

    Looking to buy

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    There is an open staircase on the landing as the pictures show. The stairs look are quite narrow but when you get upstairs there is a small landing with 3 doors (bathroom, bedroom and office), none looked like fire doors. If them doors were to be replaced with fire doors, what else would be required to get it up to current regulations?

    Fire doors on the landing? A closing fire door at the top of loft stair case?
     
  17. frutbunn

    frutbunn

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    No its still a habitable space, the fact that it has a retractable ladder is one more item that would not comply.
     
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