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New loft room cannot be built to building regs - what would you do?

(28 Posts)
leo1978 Tue 30-Nov-10 18:12:36

We have inherited plans for a loft room from our previous buyer and have involved Building regs people, gone through the process with a bulder and proceeded with the work. It turns out now we can't get the 2 metres headspace at the top of the stairs to the loft and so it wont meet building regs.

What would you do? Proceed with a 'storage room' - how legal is this and what are the consequences. Or call Building regs man and tell him the problem and risk him saying we cannot proceed.

Help! x

leo1978 Tue 30-Nov-10 18:13:50

I mean people who previously lived at our house obv.

claricebeansmum Tue 30-Nov-10 18:18:43

No reputable builder will do conversion without building regs. May be worth getting architect to help you to see if alternative.

Did building regs give OK to plans?

MollieO Tue 30-Nov-10 18:22:10

How far off are you? I assume the build has been inspected at relevant stages by building regs?

frogetyfrog Tue 30-Nov-10 18:26:22

How far have you gone. If a long way but it cant be signed off by BRegs then I would use it as a loft storage room. If you have hardly started I would talk to B Regs as you wont lose anything really. They will either find a way round it with you and your builder, or they will agree approval for a loft storage room.

By the way - reinforcing the landing floor can be done which means floor height can be lowered slightly if you havent already got floor struts in (ie landing can sit on reinforced ceiling joists which arent as thick as floor joists) if BRegs will agree - some do and some dont.

magichomes Tue 30-Nov-10 18:29:53

If your house has high ceilings, these can be lowered on the floors below to ensure you can lower the loft floor in order to meet the head height requirements. It's a big and hideous job, but is more common than you'd think.

CarGirl Tue 30-Nov-10 18:32:05

We couldn't have a loft bedroom so have a storage room but it is only used as an occasional bedroom and is mainly used for storage. Depends on what you intend to use it for tbh

KristinaM Tue 30-Nov-10 18:35:17

I would put apply for planning permission to put in a dormer to get the 2m at the top of the stairs

what country do you live in?

leo1978 Tue 30-Nov-10 18:38:17

Building regs okayed the plans! The floor is done, window in, insulation done - the whole thing is done to building regs in terms of safety - floor joists etc. Building regs have not inspected any work yet - in fact they are not proactive at all. The head height is fine in the loft, it's just the top of the new stairs (that aren't in yet).

I am fine with it being a storage room. It is tiny. We were going to use it as an office. I am just worried if we dont contact Building regs and ontinue with build that they might come and inspect it and tell us to rip stair case out. I think I'm going to have to either call them and tell them we are not progressing with the room or go quiet and hope they disappear.

Building regulations meant we were going to have to have a sprinkler system put in anyway which was pissing me off - it's only a tiny terraced house.

frogetyfrog Tue 30-Nov-10 18:59:08

If they ok'd it then it should be fine if it is built to the plans, surely.

Anyway - if it is to be used as an office then they may treat that differently to a bedroom.

Cant see what you gain if you say you are not continuing with it, or if you go quiet but still finish it as it will then become a major issue if you come to sell, or need to claim on fire insurance etc. Surely to fight it out now, bearing in mind they approved the plans, and get it signed off is best all round.

CarGirl Tue 30-Nov-10 19:02:45

If it's not signed off then surely it is just a storage room and not counted as a "room".

We don't have sign off which may cause a problem if we ever sell however the chance of us ever being able to move are so minimal - we will probably leave in our coffins.

Our property is so small and inexpensive (for the area) the only way to downsize is to a one bed retirement flat when we are old!

KristinaM Tue 30-Nov-10 19:39:34

when you come to sell your house there will be a problem if you have done unauthorised alterations and you will diminish the value of your property by the cost of putting it right. you will also put off some prospective purchasers

why don't you just turn the stair or put in a dormer?

leo1978 Tue 30-Nov-10 19:47:35

We don't have space for a dormer. I know that it causes issues when you sell. Our neighbours all have 'storage rooms' i.e rooms with no building regs and had to get indemnity insurance.
Ohhh I don't know what to do? Contact building regs and risk him saying its a no go when we have done work already OR say we are just having a storage room?

londonmackem Tue 30-Nov-10 19:50:56

It won't cause issues when you sell as long as you don't call it a room - it is simply your loft with stairs. Lots of places round here are sold with 'accessible loft area' or other such gubbins which means not building regs!

leo1978 Tue 30-Nov-10 19:55:53

Only problem is building regs man knows we are having the work done. How do I throw him off the scent?

MollieO Tue 30-Nov-10 20:26:22

leo it is for your builder to contact building regs at relevant points and arrange for them to inspect. It is not for building regs to be contacting you!

MollieO Tue 30-Nov-10 20:28:12

Whatever you do you will need to get building regs to sign it off (and ensure that it has been inspected as required). Any future purchaser will want to see the Building regs certificate.

DreamingofFour Tue 30-Nov-10 20:30:17

Can you alter the direction the stairs go so that the top of the stairs is at a point where there is sufficient head height?

greenlotus Tue 30-Nov-10 23:15:52

I would speak to the building inspector, they are normally helpful IME and may even have some suggestions. Who told you that you had a problem? I think the absolute minimum is 1.9m at the centre and 1.8m at the edge. (see here at 6.21)

KristinaM Wed 01-Dec-10 10:42:29

honestly leo, trying to con building control is not a good idea. its like conning the inland revenue or the benefits agency, it will come back to bite you. please dont risk it

if you do unauthorised alterations it might also affect your house insurance. have you checked your policy?

Gentleness Wed 01-Dec-10 13:50:58

One of the houses we were persuaded to view had something like "loft room, not authorised by building regs" in the details. The loft room was fab, used a bedroom & playroom for a little girl and a great addition to the house, but not knowing what the building regs situation was really put us off - I didn't know how it would affect insurance and so on.

The agent said they had to declare it openly on the house details and it did look awful written down!

leo1978 Wed 01-Dec-10 19:22:29

I am interested how it will come back to bite me KristinaM. I know it can be an issue at the other end but we will have plans and certificates to show that the entire thing will be built to building regs - the only issue is 8inches in the centre of the door as you enter the loft. The staircase is enclosed and there will be fire doors at each end. I don't want to ge flipping spinklers but will if I need to. How do you progress if everything is to building regs except the centre of the door? I'm not trying to con anyone - I just need the extra space and the head height at the entrance isn't playing ball.

KristinaM Wed 01-Dec-10 21:55:10

its not me you need to persuade, its the building control dept of your council. Speak to them and get a completion certificate.

vess Thu 02-Dec-10 11:30:27

The company that is going to do our loft suggested a velux window at the top of the stairs so there will be enough room - just. Plans have been approved by building regs.

MollieO Thu 02-Dec-10 14:40:49

leo if your building work does not comply with building regs you will not get a completion certificate. Your builder will know this and should have told you how the building regs process works. The fact that he hasn't would concern me, if I were you.

If the plans complied with building regs but the actual building work doesn't the building regs inspector can order that the work be redone.

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