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

Thinking of buying an abandoned project - building regs?

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by Mark the Harp, 14 Jun 2016.

  1. Mark the Harp

    Mark the Harp

    Joined:
    14 Jun 2016
    Messages:
    13
    Thanks Received:
    1
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Hi all – new member here!

    I am thinking of buying a Grade 2 listed barn conversion which is approximately 85% complete.

    It had planning permission granted in 1992. What has been done, seems to have been done to a very good standard, and it's a solid, massive building. The electrics are all in place and they function, although some exposed wiring is still to be plastered in. All the heating/underfloor heating circuits are in place. It needs a new boiler (I'm thinking air-source heat pump). There are some leaks / damp patches - one internally in the structure, which seems to be associated with the chimney, and several near the ends of purlins. It's a stone tile roof. I've made a list of the items I think are important, and going there with project manager / surveyor who is experienced in old buildings, to see how correct my assumptions about requirements/costs are.

    The main problem is that the vendor, who did the work (I think, all himself, given how long it's taken) and who also drew up the plans, died last year. No-one knows if any building regulations application or inspections were ever made.

    There is nothing lodged with the local authority to do with building regulations, although the planning paperwork has a great deal of written correspondence to do with the listed building status – for example, colour of tiles and things like that.

    My questions:

    Will building regulation requirements be deemed to be immune from prosecution from the local authority, because the planning/project started in 1992?

    I assume I have to abide by building regs for the work I complete, or is potentially everything ever done to that building going to have to be checked for compliance?

    The building is very solid, and almost to the state it could be lived in - cosmetically it still needs internal finishing, kitchen, grouting in some places, and the odd bit of carpentry to some external windows and doors.

    I would be very grateful for any thoughts/experiences on how I should proceed. For example, should I contact the building control people? Or am I right that they cannot insist on retrospective compliance for the work already done because of the age of the project, and hence my only contact with them should be to apply for regulations for new work I undertake? If they insist on visiting, can I refuse? And if not, and retrospective building regs have to apply, which building regs apply - those applicable at the time (1992) or now?
     
    Last edited: 14 Jun 2016
  2. Sponsored Links
  3. gingerbiscuit

    gingerbiscuit

    Joined:
    7 May 2009
    Messages:
    34
    Thanks Received:
    5
    Location:
    Kent
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Taking on a grade 2 listed property for development could be a bit of a money pit, despite the work already completed. I would get in touch with local building control to check what if anything they have on record. You need to check that everything so far complies with Grade 2 listing and BC, don't assume anything or you could get your fingers burnt. Get this done before you part with any cash relating to the property.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  4. Nakajo

    Nakajo

    Joined:
    5 Dec 2014
    Messages:
    1,732
    Thanks Received:
    145
    Location:
    Berkshire
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    So, properly, you would apply to BC for regularisation. While it sounds like this will be fine, if works were found to be non-compliant, it could be very expensive. In terms of part L, because this is a listed building, they should take a relaxed view, so that leaves gas, electrics, fire safety, and structure! I wonder if the gas-fitter and electrician were self-certifying?
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  5. Mark the Harp

    Mark the Harp

    Joined:
    14 Jun 2016
    Messages:
    13
    Thanks Received:
    1
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Thank you both for your great points. Good point about whether the electrician was self-certifying but there's no way of finding out who did the work (there's no mains gas fortunately - or not). Have just had another look round with my friendly project manager, and there are definitely a few things I never noticed - for example, structural steels without plasterboard covering (no fire resistance) and concrete slab floors with very strange insulation - plus some steelwork to replace tie-beams, which would have needed engineering calculations. My solicitor says to phone the building regs people if we are serious about it. There are other offers on it, but they could be from people who can afford to gut the thing and start again. We want to basically complete and live in the thing as is, which is likely to involve undoing some of the work. So will see if it has any certification. I'm not holding my breath!
     
    Last edited: 15 Jun 2016
  6. oldbutnotdead

    oldbutnotdead

    Joined:
    11 Jan 2013
    Messages:
    2,957
    Thanks Received:
    564
    Location:
    Durham
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    If your budget would be tight then (unfortunately) you will be best off walking away. If Building Control have no documentation from the start of the build then they could insist on (a) opening works up for inspection and (b) work done that complied in 1992 could (due to lack of paperwork) be deemed to be non compliant now and require rectification. Start your Plan B, I reckon you'll need it
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  7. Mark the Harp

    Mark the Harp

    Joined:
    14 Jun 2016
    Messages:
    13
    Thanks Received:
    1
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Spoke to Building Control and (surprise, surprise - to quote the late Cilla Black) there are no BC records or certifications post 1995. They only had access to the electronic records, as everything before then was on paper. However, I was told that building regs certification didn't exist before then (though the regulations did exist) so any work before 1995 wouldn't have had any certification as such anyway - although they were willing to hunt down any paper records from before that time. Provided other planning matters were fine (permission / listed bidding consent) then the implication was that any works prior to that date would be exempt from any certification requirements. I might be wrong here but she seemed to imply that they wouldn't necessarily come knocking on the door and ask to open up the structure.

    Talked through this with my PM person, who said that if that's the case, I could (for example) finish off the electrics / heating etc - as long as it wasn't new work but simply "making good" what's already there, without any further bc involvement.

    However, yes, the roof insulation on the top floor is pretty marginal and it would be a beast to heat (oil - no gas of course). A heat pump wouldn't be running efficiently and would probably cost as much as oil. The joinery would require a lot more updating than I had figured (replacing a "substantial" amount). He wouldn't be drawn on the total amount and whether it would be within budget, because there's so much that's hidden. In addition to the stuff I've already mentioned, the manifolds for the UFH are just basic electric valves to each manifold. And who's to know if any of the loops are leaking under the floors or not. Theres some terribly messy historic leakage from the radiator pipes in one upstairs room, and these pipes look pretty ropey and inaccessible. So all in all, not a great picture.

    It does look nice (the bits that aren't leaking / missing!), it's a well-planned big building with room for us and our three children (floor area of house and annexe is 520m2 in an acre), and I have 160k to play with to do the main house only, but this may well not be enough (is my thinking) if something major emerges or has to be opened up.

    And, aside from that, of course it is important to live in a safe, well-insulated house that you can sell without the same problems rearing their head again. Simply putting right what is there is not really an adequate solution, if I'm being honest and dispassionate about it.

    So I think plan B it is....but thank you, and just setting this down has helped me.
     
    Last edited: 15 Jun 2016
  8. Sponsored Links
  9. ^woody^

    ^woody^

    Joined:
    3 Sep 2006
    Messages:
    28,641
    Thanks Received:
    3,638
    Location:
    West Mids
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    There is no time limit on life-safety issues where building control functions are concerned. And for insurance purposes, an insurer would expect an insured property to be compliant with any relevant standards.

    In cases like this, its a risk-based pragmatic approach in terms of getting work done. But there is always the unknown of what needs to be done and to what extent. So it would normally mean having suitable cash reserves to cover any possibilities.

    In context, building control do not go around looking for work with no building regs. But should anything happen at the property to cause the involvement of any authority (fire, water, gas, electrics, environmental health or) or genuine public concern, thats when the property gets flagged up.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  10. Mark the Harp

    Mark the Harp

    Joined:
    14 Jun 2016
    Messages:
    13
    Thanks Received:
    1
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    That's a brilliant answer - thank you. Yes, basically it would require a huge amount to put right if something major was lacking. And I'm embarrassed that I didn't think about insurance because last year I looked at a house where building regs weren't in place and when I asked an insurer about this issue, they said absolutely that lack of regs would reduce or remove any payout in the event of a claim.
     
    Last edited: 15 Jun 2016
  11. charliegolf

    charliegolf

    Joined:
    7 Jan 2014
    Messages:
    865
    Thanks Received:
    55
    Location:
    West Glamorgan
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    The build insurance is one way of getting a solid answer out of someone. The ones which end with a 10 year 'warranty' use surveyors to check the work in stages. They may be willing to quote for such a policy, subject to a survey which outlines remedial work if any. After that hurdle, 'ordinary' insurance won't be a problem, since the house will have, been 'constructed to industry standards', or some such wording.
     
  12. charliegolf

    charliegolf

    Joined:
    7 Jan 2014
    Messages:
    865
    Thanks Received:
    55
    Location:
    West Glamorgan
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    PS- Not in Derbyshire by any chance- sounds exactly what my daughter is after LOL.
     
  13. Mark the Harp

    Mark the Harp

    Joined:
    14 Jun 2016
    Messages:
    13
    Thanks Received:
    1
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    No - sorry!

    Despite everything, and thanks to everyone's comments on here, I'm still interested in "mine". But now: only if I can get it properly examined before committing AND can then get it at a price that allows me to do the work. You've all let me see that otherwise it would be nuts.
     
    Last edited: 15 Jun 2016
  14. 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

     
Sponsored Links
Loading...

Share This Page