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Retrospective building regulations for loft conversion

(12 Posts)
wispywoo1 Wed 12-Aug-15 13:24:41

In 2013 we bought a repossessed house and didn't know whether the loft conversion had building regulations. We went ahead with the purchase and now we are getting some work done to the loft. We have had a banister built and due to get some carpet. I thought now would be a good time to check with the council incase they need to check under carpets if an inspection takes place. The council do not have a record of any inspection i.e. no building regs.

The inspection is over £600 and if completed and it shows that the regulations are not up to standard, then these things will need to be corrected. I know a relative of the previous owner and she is going to ask the previous owners if they know anything.

Does anybody have any experience with this? The loft had a proper staircase. Velux windows and seems well built. What are the chances of us needed to do corrections? From what I've read we will need a wired fire alarm and fire door as a minimum. Thanks

HollyMaingate Wed 12-Aug-15 13:53:08

How long ago was the conversion done? If a while it is very unlikely to meet current regs and could end up costing you a fortune to put it right.

HowDdo2You Wed 12-Aug-15 13:55:57

I am sure you can get something called a "comfort" certificate, if the room has been serviceable for a long period.

Rangirl Wed 12-Aug-15 14:05:22

You would almost certainly have an issue with this if you were going to sell the house so may be best to sort it out now Different councils have different policies on letters of comfort

wispywoo1 Wed 12-Aug-15 14:42:24

The conversion was complete approx 10 years ago. If we start the ball rolling with a retrospective inspection and costly faults are identified are we required to correct the faults or can we just leave it and go without building regs? confused

I emailed the planning dept and they didn't mention a comfort certificate. Will enquire about that now.

lalalonglegs Wed 12-Aug-15 15:10:04

If it was done 10 years ago it is very unlikely to meet current regulations (which the council will base their inspection upon, not the ones in force c 2005). I would speak to an independent expert such as a surveyor about the level of work that is likely to be needed before inviting the council in. It could be very disruptive and expensive. Unfortunately, since you have now informed them that there are no regs in place, you will not be able to get an indemnity insurance policy further down the line.

lalalonglegs Wed 12-Aug-15 15:11:45

I've never heard of a comfort certificate either - I'd be interested to know more. Google not showing up anything.

wispywoo1 Wed 12-Aug-15 16:01:37

I've been reading a lot online about this today and one suggestion was to consult a building Surveyor before seeking a building regs from the council. A local surveyor charges £360 but would be able to do all the drawings/calculations before going to the council. I'm just worried that the council will say x and y needs to be done or you have to seal it all off etc. Ahh nightmare! I do think we should get this sorted now though rather than leaving it a few years etc.

lalalonglegs Wed 12-Aug-15 16:37:25

Get the surveyor in for a fee to see how much work is involved first and then make a decision about whether you want to go the whole hog. To be honest, lifting the floors isn't the problem, it's whether you have to remove all the ceilings to add more insulation or reconfigure it at all for fire regs.

HollyMaingate Wed 12-Aug-15 16:55:35

Or if it doesn't have steels /adequate flooring joists and you have to add those etc etc

wispywoo1 Wed 12-Aug-15 17:01:26

I've just had a reply from the council and he suggested indemnity insurance so maybe they haven't logged my enquiry? Would this still be possible? Clutching at straws I know! Thanks for the help so far.

mandy214 Wed 12-Aug-15 21:29:17

No, the indemnity insurance is to protect you if the Council subsequently takes enforcement action against you. The insurers are banking on the fact that the Council doesn't check every project and therefore is unaware of the problem. Most insurers will ask you as a preliminary question whether you have been in contact with the Council. If the answer is yes, they won't provide cover because chances are, once the Council knows they'll take action (and the insurer will have to pay out). You will probably find that you can't actually get cover now because you've contacted the Council.

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