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Integral garage conversion without building regs

(21 Posts)
BoyMeetsWorld Tue 04-Mar-14 19:04:53

As the title says -

Very nice house but the dining room / utility room are situated in an integral garage conversion which had no planning / building regulations

Would you still buy the house?

What issues might arise?

& what would be a rough. cost of either 'fixing it' & applying for building regulation or turning it back into a garage then doing the job properly!


tiredandsadmum Tue 04-Mar-14 19:09:10

Could you check with the local authority planning department what the process would be. Emphasising your keen ness to do things properly.

BoyMeetsWorld Tue 04-Mar-14 19:42:32

Would there be costs to do that?

LEMmingaround Tue 04-Mar-14 19:50:34

If you have a look on your council website under building control, there will be a table of prices - you can get retrospective certification so long as everything meets the buiding regs.

The planning portal has lost of information. My DP is a carpenter/builder and I often refer to this to make sure things comply.

There may be issues with a garage conversion if there are parking problems in the area. I don't THINK you need planning permission as i think its a permitted development (depends on borough and parking) but will probably need building control especially if any load bearing walls have been taken out.

It also depends on when the conversion was made, so you might get lucky there. I would be finding out the lay of the land before i made any offers.

LEMmingaround Tue 04-Mar-14 19:51:29

retrospective building regs cost more than doing it at the time, usually dependant on the cost of the original work.

LEMmingaround Tue 04-Mar-14 19:58:30

Just had a look at the planning portal It would seem that you are unlikely to have needed planning permission, unless its in an area where permitted development has been revoked (as i said, this is usually due to parking issues) so this at least means that it is unlikely that you woudl have to put it back to a garage. The issue is building regs which does cover quite a lot of the things that need done. Is it good quality workmanship? When was it done? Look at the windows - ask what sort of glass it has (this is a recent change but the rules regarding installation of windows require they meet a certain standard). I'd be asking questions about the water/sewage supply to the house too - DP had a nightmare once doing an extension that turned out to be over a water main, architect failed to inform thames water - you have to get permission to build over a water main/sewer and adjust build accordingly, delayed the build for three months. Client well pissed off - thankfully not DP's fault.

I think you have a fair few q's to ask before you commit.

BoyMeetsWorld Wed 05-Mar-14 03:52:30

Thanks all - we suspected it could be an issue as the house is in a v desirable area, at a v reasonable price & has been on the market 2 yrs! This could be our only way though to afford a house that size in this area

What questions should we be asking then & will the estate agent be able to tell us?

Silverfoxballs Wed 05-Mar-14 09:05:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pinkje Wed 05-Mar-14 09:24:04

I'm surprised that the vendors haven't applied retrospectively especially if this is why the house hasn't sold in 2 years. Surely their agents would have notified them. Is there another reason why it is still on the market?

DrownedGirl Wed 05-Mar-14 09:47:41

You can get insurance to protect you from action arising from lack of planning permission, but you can't get it if you have alerted the council to the possibility there might be an issue.

Re building regs, once the work is more than a year old, action can't be taken.

However, if there are no building regs then the work may be substandard, and you will find it hard to sell later. Yu may need to put the work right if you want to do further improvements involving building control.

BoyMeetsWorld Wed 05-Mar-14 10:11:49

Pinkje - I suspect the work must be sufficiently bad to mean it can't be done retrospectively although it looks very could be because there are no windows / fire escape & nowhere any could really go.

Or it could be that it should never have been done in the first place - its a relatively new estate so parking may be an issue. It's a 4 bed house & other than the garage there's only driveway parking for one car.

Could a planning officer tell us that too? I don't really want to pay a solicitor before we've even put an offer in...

LoveVintage Wed 05-Mar-14 10:14:29

In Scotland so apologies as it may differ, but there would be a comment in the Home Report if there was any question of permissions being needed. If so you can ask sellers' solicitor for more information - the onus is on them to satisfy you as to the position. If you are getting a mortgage and something has been raised which is questionable, your solicitor will have a duty to your lenders to investigate.

Seeline Wed 05-Mar-14 10:18:12

If it's a relatively new estate it is quite likely that there is a restrictive condition on the original planning permission for the houses preventing the conversion of garages without prior consent from the Council. The Planning Office will be able to tell you that. Have any of the other houses have the garages converted? You could check the Council web site to see whether any others have applied for permission - not a precise way of finding out but a fair indicator.
In planning terms if a use has been carried out for more than 10 years without planning permission, or enforcement action, it is exempt from any future enforcement action, but it sounds as though the property may be newer than that.

kitsmummy Wed 05-Mar-14 10:30:26

I would think you should either demand that the sellers get retrospective building regs sign off, or that you pay an amount for the house that you would pay if the room was still a garage

eg without building regs, the room doesn't really have any more value than a garage would

BoyMeetsWorld Wed 05-Mar-14 12:07:13

Kitsmummy - I think actually the price of the house is what it would be if the room were still a garage, so that parts fair...

My concern is that if we bought it we could end up being forced to spend a fortune on top, either if the council insisted it were turned back or to get it done properly in order to sell in future?

Very annoying, it's such a perfect house for us in every other way..I bet they've had a lot of prospective buyers in this position over the years so can only think they can't be that desperate to sell or simply can't afford to sort the issue out....

littlecrystal Wed 05-Mar-14 12:21:58

If I was planning to live in the house for a very long time and the conversion did not include major structural work that could have damaged the structure, then I would hapilly buy it regardless.

BoyMeetsWorld Wed 05-Mar-14 12:32:53

Littlecrystal - no major structural work: literally a plasterboard wall, walls plastered & wallpapered...garage door still there (the plasterboard wall just in front of it with a small storage space when the door lifted).

The house would definitely do us for the foreseeable future.

But could we get forced to turn it back into a garage? Also, would it void the building insurance & of so would we even get a mortgage for it?

BoyMeetsWorld Wed 05-Mar-14 16:11:44


7to25 Wed 05-Mar-14 17:05:27

There is one of these for sale near us.
I strongly suspect that the current insulation (if there is any) does not meet modern standards.

BoyMeetsWorld Wed 05-Mar-14 17:32:08

7to25 what would that mean if it was the case?

7to25 Fri 07-Mar-14 11:50:10

Sorry for that delay
I think that the plasterboard would have to be removed, the insulation inspected by building control and either signed off or re-done.

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