Really need some honest advice re building regs please

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by chalkstorm, 10 Jan 2013.

  1. chalkstorm

    chalkstorm

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    Hi all

    I've got an old house - build 1870... and have just accepted an offer on it. The buyers have a surveyor coming around on Monday to have a good look around - and I'm pretty nervous about it. I don't think there is anything structurally wrong with it and some previous damp in a gable end has pretty much gone (lighting the fires every other weekend has done something - I suspect the two open chimneys and a year of rain had caused it... and never lighting the fire).

    Anyway, since I've been here I've done the following:
    Rewired a room in the attached barn (that was advertised as a play room when we bought it 10 yrs ago) - and boarded it (foil back and with insulation). It had had a new lighting circuit and lights installed. The builder was a friend - and the boarding wasn't a structural change or change the use of the room- just made it warmer. The sparky (who is now part p) was about to be certified and asked if an inspector could view his work as part of his certification (I wasn't in when he wanted to do it - so it didn't happen and I never got a certificate (end of 2004/early 05). I am still in touch with him.

    We gutted the kitchen and fitted a new one... and created a downstairs toilet. Proper soil pipe was laid under the floor - again, by friends (who do this sort of thing as foreigners).

    More recently, I had the bathroom extended. It needed a RSG as we moved a load bearing wall - and that was specced up by a proper 'expert' - and I have all the drawings and calculations... just not building regs.

    So, what should I do. Will the surveyor know? Will the searches show anything? Should I just come clean now?

    Relaly unsure if I should plead ignorant - or come clean and just tell him (I want to do that but cannot afford losing the sale). We'd never intended moving but life changes and we find ourselves having to. I wish I'd have involved building inspectors.... you live and learn.

    Thanks in advance

    S.
    :?:
     
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  3. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    You don't tell the surveyor anything. You are not obligated to.

    Let him do his job and see what he comes up with.
     
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  4. chalkstorm

    chalkstorm

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    Thanks Woody

    Can I expect him (or the searches) to highlight any of the changes I've made?
     
  5. kbdiy

    kbdiy

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    If your alterations are not recorded anywhere (no Building Regs applications etc) then it's up to the surveyor. If he can't put a specific date on anything using the evidence he can see then it won't be a problem. He shouldn't ask you anything anyway as he can't rely on your word alone, he has to back up his findings with hard evidence - documents, certificates etc. If they don't exist, no problem. The work you mention could have been done years ago and Regs are not retrospective.
     
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  7. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    It does not matter if there are no building regs for the work. If the surveyor sees work which should be subject to an application, he should flag it up.

    What he should also do, is comment on the condition of the alteration - ie if there are no structural issues, then he should say so ... because that is his duty to his client. Unfortunately, many won't and then this puts doubt in the buyers mind.

    In addition, once a numpty solicitor sees this, he will then bring in more doubt and rattle on about building regulations - even if the work is now time barred for any enforcement and perfectly sound.

    You never know which way a situation like this will go, so just let it play out

    Typically, it ends up with a possible reduction in the asking price and a £100 or so indemnity policy. Or nothing happens and the sale goes through.

    Just say nothing and see what happens
     
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  8. chalkstorm

    chalkstorm

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    I guess I need to sound him out. Sounds like a proper surveyor (googled him)... and I've already asked if he'd survey the house I'm looking at buying (trying to build a relationship).

    I just hope he can explain to the buyers that there is nothing to worry about....
     
  9. chapeau

    chapeau

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    Er, the surveyor is primarily acting to protect his insurance policy premiums, secondary is his duty to the person who is paying his fees. He has no desire/will/obligation to do anything for you at all. Don't buddy up to him, in fact try not to be there when he turns up. If you have an agent then tell them to handle it, they are after all getting commission, make them get off their backsides and earn it.

    You have to declare all this stuff when you get solicitors involved.
     
  10. chalkstorm

    chalkstorm

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    Mmm - so it's been and gone. He was here for nearly 5 hours! The good - he missed the damp in the gable end chimney breasts.....! The bad....well, he suggested the purlins in the 130 year old barn needed changing as they were causing the roof to 'spread' and crack some of the walls (the cracks have been there for 10 years and not changed). There is also a sloping roof that joins the house to the barn - I'm guessing at 40 years old - but the purlin holding it up is too long and bending (he said they don't make steel that long) - suggested a solution that wouldn't be too expensive.

    Also, the cinema room (which I told him was there) wasn't up to regs - but he said if it's been more than 3 years it's irrelevant. He said it looked like the garage ceiling was asbestos... and that I should provide an electrical safety certificate. Finally, seems that at some point (40+ yrs ago) when a wall was removed downstairs (and chimney breast) - now supported by a wood covered steel of some sort - he can't be sure there was any support for the chimney breast in the room directly above it (he claims this is a common issue).

    So, I'm pretty sure the report will read like a car crash -but after speaking to my EA and solicitor, this is normal from a surveyor.

    I think the buyer should have it in his hands by tomorrow. I can only hope that whatever he has valued it at minus whatever work he thinks needs doing meets! The house has been valued at between £350 & £400k - but of course, it's only worth what someone will pay (and we're selling for £306.5k).

    Fingers crossed it doesn't spook them...
     
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