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Building consent for windows in loft rooms

(27 Posts)
CooCooCachoo Tue 21-Nov-17 22:07:23

Just had an offer accepted on a 3 bed new build. Developer (small, independant builder and 12 houses on development) couldn't get planning for 5 beds but created two rooms and a loo in the loft BUT with no windows fitted. Reason given is that it would have created 5 beds in contravention of planning permission.

I've checked building consent for velux type Windows and if we stick within criteria (not protruding more than 150mm from roof level etc.) I think it should be ok. Obviously paying more than the market price for 3 bed but not 5 bed purchase price so was willing to do work ourselves.

So for any planners out there...does putting in the additional Windows to create two further useable bedrooms sound feasible/usual (slightly cheeky) practice ...or are we being had?

MoreThanJustANumber Wed 22-Nov-17 15:58:03

Now I'm not an expert but as I understand it, it's Building Regulation approval you need. Does he have that?

If not you will struggle if you come to sell it as a five bedroom house, it would be a three bedroom with two loft rooms, and without building regs even that would be a bit questionable and I wouldn't risk it.

BubblesBuddy Wed 22-Nov-17 17:01:14

Yes to building regs and a staircase that meets fire regs. The builder has, rightly, assumed Building Regs Inspectors don’t visit anymore and is trying to con you. Does the staircase to the loft meet regs? The windows are the least of your problems.

SilverSpot Wed 22-Nov-17 17:24:25

That is so dodgy. Why would you buy from a builder so untrustworthy? What else hasn't been done to code?

CooCooCachoo Wed 22-Nov-17 22:00:24

There is otherwise a completion certificate that confirms that all criteria are met in terms of staircase, room size, head height etc.. I've seen this and have checked it with building regs for the local planning authority. They apparently can't currently be called bedrooms because of ventilation I.e. Windows.

They are a small independant developer in comparison with the Taylor Wimpeys and Crest Nichlsons of this world but otherwise well known in the local area and have several sites on the go. Does that make a difference do you think?

CooCooCachoo Wed 22-Nov-17 22:17:28

Thanks for responses, it did make me go back to Urey further. Don't think anything hasn't been done to code. They are reputable developers just not a big developer like Taylor Wimpey or Crest Nicholson. This is their reply to my query via the agent received today:

"As you are aware we have NHBC warranty for this development, which also includes building control. The completion certificate will be included in the legal pack, which will be supplied after the ATP has been received from the local HTB agent.

There are currently no opening windows to the top floor and therefore this does not comply with Part F.

We have fitted fire doors to all habitable rooms, except WCs/bathrooms."

So classed as habitable subject to section F criteria which refers to ventilation.

CooCooCachoo Wed 22-Nov-17 22:20:10

Problem I guess would be if we couldn't put the windows in ourselves...we then have two windowless room. Mini gym and movie room? (Probably just extra storage in reality).

MaudAndOtherPoems Wed 22-Nov-17 22:27:01

I imagine you've seen the guidance on the Planning Portal. Isn't there a risk that anything you do with Building Regs will alert the planning authority to the fact that the house has been built in a way that plays fast and loose with the terms of the planning permission?

CooCooCachoo Wed 22-Nov-17 22:27:54

Double posted above. Didn't think it had loaded (ancient iPad)!

Thatsnotmycat Wed 22-Nov-17 22:32:30

I would check the planning permission as I’m guessing that the planning approval may have withdrawn permitted development rights for new openings to the roof? Maybe to prevent the roof being used as bedrooms. If so then you would have to apply for planning permission for the roof lights and if they’ve removed the rights for it I’m not sure if they would turn around suddenly give approval for them. Hope that makes senses.

CooCooCachoo Wed 22-Nov-17 22:34:12

Thanks Maud, this had occurred to me but hadn't found anything specific but not really sure what I'm looking for. I guess they're relying on the fact that velux don't need planning permission if meeting requirements for building regs so wouldn't be flagged?

The house is in Surrey and we're struggling to afford a four bed as moving from south west (not got a whacking great deposit). Anyone fitted velux without necessity of planning I.e. Just under building regs?

MaudAndOtherPoems Wed 22-Nov-17 22:42:36

Yes, but as Thatsnotmycat says, the builder may be relying on the installation of Velux etc windows being possible under permitted development rights. If the planning authority has withdrawn permitted development rights for this development (or more widely across the area) then they will require planning permission and that (as far as I can see [caveat: am not a planner]) could trigger enforcement action if the planning authority thinks the developer has played fast and loose.

You'd do well to seek advice either from a planning consultant or from Surrey's planning department.

CooCooCachoo Wed 22-Nov-17 22:50:27

Noted, I'm going to call the building control dept tomorrow to try and get a clearer view (no pun intended!).

Bufferingkisses Wed 22-Nov-17 23:17:20

Check out the need for egress as well. Windows will have to be below 90??cm. Fully opening and so on to allow escape. You'll also need wired in smoke alarms in each room and a fire door at the top or bottom of the staircase - as I understand it.

Archipops Wed 22-Nov-17 23:51:13

@OP. So, the reason developer didn’t put in velux windows is because it would have contravened planning?

MaudAndOtherPoems Thu 23-Nov-17 09:15:38

Archipops has put it far more succinctly than I managed. The planning authority did not want this to be a 5 bedroomed house. A conversation with them about installing loft windows might not go the way you hope.

whiskyowl Thu 23-Nov-17 09:19:06

I am a bit horrified by this. It seems like such a shonky way of building. shock

plasticcheese Thu 23-Nov-17 11:39:13

I've had a velux fitted in a loft room without planning or building regs. Managed to sell it on too, although not counting the loft room as a bedroom. Did get an indemnity policy when selling, buyer's solicitor was happy with this.

butterfly56 Thu 23-Nov-17 12:41:37

There may also be an issue with off road parking. New builds especially 4+ bedroom houses need 3 car spaces. 3 bedroom may need at least 2.
It all depends on the area, but best to check with your local councils Core Strategy.
You can also look at the all planning application online(search by street or planning number) to see if the first planning application was refused and for what reasons.

Ridingthegravytrain Thu 23-Nov-17 12:51:39

I would be cautious. Surely if there had been any way of putting in velux and making it a 5 bed house the developer would have done so and charged accordingly? Unless I’ve misubderstood

LIZS Thu 23-Nov-17 12:57:03

You may well find that permitted development rights have been removed for a fixed initial period and any alterations or additions require full planning consent. Would certainly need building regs approval.

CooCooCachoo Thu 23-Nov-17 20:34:39

Further digging around in the planning docs online revealed that permitted developments have been withdrawn for this small site so even velux would need a planning application - you were right !

Spoke to planners who confirmed that permission was limited to 3 beds and even though second floor complies with all necessary building regs (except Windows), they didn't have permission to create two further bedrooms. Planning officer took a dim view of this and said a retrospective application for additional rooms would be needed.

We have left a message with EA but if developer not willing to do this then we will need to withdraw offer. (Sad face)

CooCooCachoo Thu 23-Nov-17 20:45:56

Interestingly, building control (I spoke to both departments) said provided the windows were installed at right height in roof, he would very likely be more than happy to sign off.

There was objection from neighbours to the site though so I can imagine if neighbours saw velux being installed they would likely object. So back to having to submit full planning app I imagine...

MaudAndOtherPoems Thu 23-Nov-17 21:35:49

Oh, so much as we suspected. I'm sorry you've had this setback, but thank goodness you thought to check rather than buying the house and then discovering you (almost certainly) couldn't do what you wanted with it. I'd think it unlikely that planning would give permission for something they refused not so long ago.

Archipops Fri 24-Nov-17 01:36:05

Is the attic floor area more than 40sq.m by any chance? if I recall correctly thats the limit for attic conversion under permitted dev.

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