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About to remove a wall which will affect building regs. Need to vent.

(22 Posts)
PavlovtheForgetfulCat Fri 07-Aug-09 18:24:05

Not sure if this should go into pregnancy (hormonal) property/DIY (loft conversion), relationships (I want to kill my builder/architect), mental health (as I am about to blow a gasket).

So I have put it here. I am sounding off really. Please help me calm down, ideally by telling me this level of stress is inevitable, and that it will all turn out fine the wash. Or alternatively some stories that will help me figure out what to do with this fucking mess of a loft conversion.

Here is the story, its long, and probably boring. I have also posted it in another thread which surprisingly was in existance when I came to post, but I did not want to just hijack that poor OPs thread, I have done my own.

We are having our loft done. We have just had building regs signed off for insulation, structural steels etc, all the structural stuff has been approved. We are about to put in fire doors, integral fire alarms throughout the house, and meet ALL the criteria for building regs. Apart from one thing is very wrong.

Due to the stupidity of building regs, we now have to have a little landing upstairs before the fire door starts. Which now it has been put in, with the partition walls being quite thick, and it takes up so much room in the loft space that we will struggle to get the bloody bed in, and it cuts off almost half the bedroom . I am furious, very very stressed, lost it in front of the builders and have been pulling my hair out, almost literally. I am laying the fault of this with the structural architect who was some-what creative with his drawings. Although the drawings were structurally correct, the ratios he showed us demonstrated the usable space to be hugely bigger, we could fit a kingsize bed in no problem. He said, and according to the plans this appeared true. And the eaves space, less than he demonstrated, and the cupbaoard space, non-existant.

So, we have in effect paid £17for an almost unusable space, all because of this very new regulation which states we now have to have this landing. Not for fire regs, not for structural regs, not for any purpose I think than to piss me off.

We have decided that once building regs are signed off, we will remove the partition wall that is causing the major problem, and put the fire door directly on top of the stairs, so that the fire corridor still exists, we will not compromise the fire safety or the structure in any way, but know that all other work is safe by the building regs being signed off.

We are intending on not selling. We are planning that when we come to move, we will rent this place out and buy another place. But, as plans never seem to follow how we want them to (things always seem to fuck up), if the eventually comes that we need to sell, we will be honest and upfront with the potential buyers, and accept that we will need to either rectify the changes, or take an indemnity for the structure (and accept a slight decrease in the offer) in the knowledge the structure is completely safe. We will not put the room back as it was straight away as it is unsightly, we will let any buyer decide if they want that or not, and be responsible for it.

The alternative is to keep a fucking huge space (which is in fact only a small lobby on one side but due to walls etc loses a lot of space) which is ugly, intrusive and stops us using the space correctly just to please anal fucking building regs people who decided we are too stupid to be able to know there is a fucking step there.

angry angry angry

My builders left quietly, and in a hurry blush

HerHonesty Fri 07-Aug-09 18:29:04

well there is a rather famous incident which is bought up by dh rather more than i would care for it to be when i had a complete flid at our builders at 36 weeks pregnant when i threw handbag, keys etc on the floor and just screamed. so you are doing ok there.

just get the buiding regs signed off and then remove all the partition stuff to what it originally was.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Fri 07-Aug-09 18:38:43

hermajesty you have made me feel a little better! <very MN hugs>

I did not flip at the builders, as at the time i was not entirely sure who would be getting my wrath. I knew someone needed to get it, but could not find the words to figure it out. So I generally stomped, ranted, swore (i don' think they have heard me swear) and generally sounded so angry that even DH had to hug me. He normally gets annoyed that I am angry, but he said he knew I was about to lose it completely.

Once I calmed down a little, I called the builder and asked how straightforward it would be to pull the partition wall down, he said 'easy peesy'. I then said 'i apologise for my rant. I am very fucking angry, not at you, at least I don't think I am so hold on that one for a while just in case, but I am definitely angry at someone, but have a nice weekend and we will discuss it on monday' he said, 'ok pavlov, you too'.


PavlovtheForgetfulCat Fri 07-Aug-09 18:39:59

I am getting everyones name wrong herhonesty although I am sure you will be fine with hermajesty eh?, I actually feel rather unwell after that completely ott outburst and my brain feels fuzzy hmm

CarGirl Fri 07-Aug-09 18:52:59

Pavlov omg I think I would have driven around to the architect bloke and battered him with my handbag because surely this is his cock up?

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Fri 07-Aug-09 18:58:40

Cargirl - I am tempted, don't tempt me further!

I just do not know what to say to him. Technically, technically it is not wrong. The measurements are correct, but the way it was drawn, it demonstrated a much bigger space. I am not a fucking engineer or architect, and it was his job to show us exactly how it would look. That is what we paid him for. But, what should I hope to gain other than feeling better for a moment? He won't give us the money back as the screw-up, well god knows, the proportions he drew were all wrong. Even the builder said as he looked at the drawings that some of the cupboard space was not as much as it appeared, we accepted that, as we were assured the rest of it was fine.

Fine, if your a fucking small person.

I will call him tomorrow, but I think I need to calm myself down. I think I have just gone from very low blood pressure to very high blood pressure and I am sure that is not good.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Fri 07-Aug-09 19:00:54

I mean, I don't know about drawings, and scales, and measurements, if I did I would have done the bloody drawings myself and employed an engineer just for the steels. I mean really.

Fucking hell.

I feel a lot calmer after reading the other thread I posted on, about insurance being something lots of people would be ok with, I would happily take out the insurance for a buyer as I know the structure is secure. If the whole house fell down, the loft would stay there, and still be warm it is that secure and well insulatated!

CarGirl Fri 07-Aug-09 19:03:45

presumably he told you it was big enough to be a double bedroom and in reality it isn't. That is the approach I would take with him as to how misleading he has been.

Presumably you could have put the staircase in differently to reduce the space issue.

I'd look into reporting him to his professional body?

Did he do you a floor plan?

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Fri 07-Aug-09 19:09:30

cargirl - he said it would be big enough to fit a kingsize bed in it, he even drew the bed in it to show the 'scale' and the space around it, and we have a double bed, with a 'lip' around it, so probably around the size of a kingsize in total. I will fit if we do not want to have any space to walk around it.

The stairs could not go in any other way, due to head height restrictions, and the new regs which state you cannot have open plan, ie you need a fire door at the top, or the bottom (either of which need a 'landing' for a reason that cannot be fully explained to us). We knew this landing would be a pain, but not that it would take up this much room.

You are right, he misled us. Don;t know if he did that so we would take the contract, or because he is crap, but he was the building control head honcho up to recently, and even got some other problematic areas cleared for us due to his 'stature' in the building control. I am very surprised, and pissed off about it.

I am not 100% convinced it is not the builder, but I cannot see how or where the builder would have messed up, there is nowhere to have messed up and everything else measures up?

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Fri 07-Aug-09 19:13:30

We would have considered not getting it done at all, if we realised the space would be so small, or looked at alternative ways of doing the stairs (at additional cost, but perhaps we could have done something else - too late now)

HumphreyCobbler Fri 07-Aug-09 19:16:06

not surprised you went mad, i would have too

building regs are sometimes a pita

i had to mediate between building regs and a conservation officer. Glad to say the conservation officer won!

CarGirl Fri 07-Aug-09 19:16:49

well pursue it, you have nothing to lose by trying it.

Put the onus on the architect to prove it is the builders error?

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Fri 07-Aug-09 19:19:56

Cargirl - I will of course try it, but really what recourse is there? I mean, contractually, what can we do about it? We do not have a formal contract which states we can sue if he does not draw the bed to scale hmm grin.

CarGirl Fri 07-Aug-09 19:27:00

He clearly stated that you could fit a king size bed in it and walk around it and you cannot errrrrrr he made a mistake. Do you have any free legal advice with your home insurance.

Did you give you to scale plans of the room or were they artists impressions that has to make a difference.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Fri 07-Aug-09 19:29:30

cargirl - oh I don't know. I am sure they were to scale, they certainly had measurements on them and are what the builders are using to do the work to.

I will talk to him first, see what he has to say. I am sure not a lot.

CarGirl Fri 07-Aug-09 19:31:07

just make sure you have all the original plans & drawings in your possession and you keep it that way. Small claims court perhaps?

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Fri 07-Aug-09 19:36:17

HAHA! We have it on email, as he emailed them to us! Thats one small thing in our advantage at least.

I hate fighting like this, but your right, I can't just leave it sad.

GrapefruitMoon Fri 07-Aug-09 19:38:49

Do the plans show the landing at the loft level or was this something that Building Control asked for later?

LIZS Fri 07-Aug-09 19:44:56

If the plans are to scale, and that was what the builders have actually constructed, it should be possible to see whether a ks bed would fit easily. Not clear why the walls need to be thick, surely it is the fire retardant material and insulation which are critical. Has your architect visited to assess the accuracy of the build ?

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Fri 07-Aug-09 20:23:56

LIZS - the walls are I guess not ultra thick, just thicker than the paper I would like, I think what I mean by saying they are thick is, although the space itself, the landing is tiny, the amount of space, with the walls etc is in fact quite big.

And it clearly is not possible to fit a kingsize bed in. We have just been up, today now the stairs are in and the walls are in, to measure the space, and the length between the wall and the backwall is just longer than our bed. I mean just longer, where on the plans, it was significantly longer.

There is no no insulation between the partition walls that I am aware of, they are literally partition walls. Should there be insulation? There is insulation everywhere else though!

Architect/engineer has not been out, but I suspect he will be visiting very soon after I talk to him tomorrow. but I just do not know what we can physically do about it now, even if he has effed up, or the builder has feffed up. I just cannot see where the builder has effed up.

I think what has been effed up, really, is our ability to see past the drawings done.

grapefruitmoon no this little landing thing was already there in the plans, our architect/engineer said it has to be there due to building regs, so we always knew it would be there. But, the proportions are badly wrong.

CarGirl Fri 07-Aug-09 20:49:08

it's not something silly like the door should be opening the other way?

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Fri 07-Aug-09 21:01:23

alas if it were that simple! No the door opens to the side, so that it did not encroach on the space between the wall and the bed! Joke, seeing as there is no space at all! So you come to the top of the stairs, which have wound around half a tread to face into the room, to the little landing, and instead of walking forward the door is to the side.

Take this little landing out, and it is just 3 steps into the room. rather than the equivalent of 7.

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