Part M: removing bathroom and adding cloakroom ground floor

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Hi all,

We recently bought our first house and decided to do some work on the ground floor to:
- convert the garage into a TV room
- remove the bathroom (which was not used since the ground floor only had a bathroom, utility room, garage and small dining room)
- add a cloakroom in the hallway (it was very wide originally)

We submitted building notice to the council which was accepted after submiting some simple drawings (before and after that I did on floorplanner).
However when the building control officer came to the house (2 weeks after the start of the work) he told us that we would not get approval for the cloakroom as it was not compliant with Part M.
The explanation I got was very surprising: by removing a bathroom (with shower, toilet and sink) and making a cloakroom we made the ground floor less compliant with part M (not that it was ever compliant: house built in the late 1990s, 30cm step to walk in the 3 storey town house). We could not afford to make the cloakroom the size of the previous bathroom (and it would not have fitted in the hallway anyway) we decided to keep on with the work and possibily try to argue our case closer to completion of the job.

The work is now nearly finished and the BCO is due to come for a final visit. Form our previous meetings we know that he intends not to approve the work that has been done but mention in his letter that everything is compliant but the toilets.

I disagree with the argument and it seems that the building regulation is subject to interpretation and I would have thought that some common sense would be apllied by the BCO to realize that the house was not compliant with Part M before and is not less compliant now. According to me the distinction between a family bathroom and a cloakroom should be made.

Many houses in our area are designed with the exact same layout as ours. If I were to find one of my neighbour who had a similar project approved in the past could I use this as an argument?

Is there anything I can do? I would rather ask for help now before getting the final inspection from the BCO.

Thanks for your help
 
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It's something that came in with the 2004 ADM, I would suggest you look at page 72 and diagrams to see if yours meets this standard or if you can show the space to the WC is no worse than before.

Just know what you need to achieve and try to negotiate with them.
 
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As per grovepark, you need to try and negotiate.
The main point is that you should not make the facility any less accessible than it was previously.
My hunch is that the room containing the wc is now smaller than previously, in which case it could be less accessible.
You could write out an Access Statement, describing in detail how you have attempted to meet part M. If the Council refuses to pass it, you would need to consider an appeal; a Statement would help show that you have considered all options.
 
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Thanks for your answers.

Based on diagram 32 on page 72 my WC meet all requirements except the room width which in my case is only 70cm (vs min of 85cm for side entrance based on the diagram).

We could not have made the room wider or else the entrance door of the house would not open anymore.

We chose not to make the WC under the stairs to make it bigger but there is clearly no other place it could have been moved to (converted 3 rooms on the ground floor into a kitchen and living room).

Is the best solution to write the Access Statement and try to negotiate?
 
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I don't see why it would have to match todays Part M, if anything it would need to be no worse than the Regs that were applicable at the time.

A revised Part M came out in 1999 and before that was there even a requirement for a toilet at entry level in a dwelling? On the first page of the 1999 edition it highlights the revisions to this edition and states that Part M is now applicable to new dwellings, suggesting it was not even applicable prior to the 1999 edition. The archived version is not on the Planning Portal and I do not remember.

The requirements in the 99 edition are less onerous than the current regs though it seems your toilet would not comply with those anyway.

So begs the question to what Part M regs was your house built to?

Bit daft that you just ploughed on regardless, still, 'tis the nature of doing stuff on a Notice, you have to know your Regs. Its not just about wheelchair bound people either BTW or residents, I have several visitors who find stairs difficult to negotiate, then can manage a few steps but a flight of stairs more challenging.
 
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