Loft without Building Regs

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pinkylisa | 18:56 Wed 10th Feb 2010 | Property
6 Answers
I am in the process of buying a house with a loft conversion. The vendor has told me that there are no building regs ( i believe that it doesn't require planning anyway as it is still within the roofline). I intend to use this room as a bedroom for my 8 year old son and put in a couple of Velux windows. What problems could i be bringing on myself and how can i protect myself if at all? Is it safe to use as a bedroom and would it come under home insurance if not done officially? The vendor has told me that the roof has purlings (???is that right???) and that he has doubled them up and put extra 8x2 floor joists in and that he is confident (as a chippy himself) it is all done to Building regs, he didn't get them at the time it was done in 2005 as he didn't have the extra money to do so. I am confused!!! HELP! x


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There are a lot of regulations if you want to use a loft as a bedroom.
This is helpful.
All sounds a bit doggy, you will have to wait for the master man BM, mybe down the pub right now?
Would feel inclined to give this property a wide berth, feel you are storing up a lot of expense for the future.
Broadly agree with what the others above are saying - but let me explain the technical reasons why.
In doing such a loft conversion project, there are 4 (main) parts you have to satisfy for Building Regulations:
The structural strength
The insulation performance
The exit routes in case of fire

You seller has probably done the first one OK. However to demonstrate that he has done it, he would have had to submit the calculations to Building Control and he hasn't done that. So, no way, Jose.
The second one you may be able to inspect. To satisfy BRs there are minimum standards of insulation set for good reasons - the Government wants UK to use less energy in our homes, and - it will cost you less to heat to a reasonable comfort temperature. The way this is done is to install insulations between the rafters - however the amount of insualtion required is considerable. Until about 4 years ago a product called Actis Tri-ISO was in use. It is a multi-foil product and very thin - which made it great for this application where thickness was a real issue. Then there was doubt under tests that it would work the way intended so some local authorities BC banned its use. I am not up to speed on the current situation. The alternative is that at least 200mm of Celotex insulation was installed. If you don't have one of these two fitted the room will be expensive to heat - and does not meet BR.
Thirdly, for any SECOND (or more) storey room to be 'habitable', requires adequate exit routes in case of fire. This effectivly means that EVERY internal door that abuts the landing and hall from which the person would escape MUST be changed to a fire door - not difficult but probably costs £150 per door (fitted cost).
Ventilation would be sorted by Veluxs.
You are correct that you do not need Planning Consent for this - unless you live in a Conservation or other special location.
If this has been done on the cheap, it is not worth it unless you price the house based on it being a house without a loft conversion that you can start afresh.
Fire regs probably hardest to meet.
Escape by ladder possible argument, but velox would have to be so close to eaves. Enclosed stairwell?
Buildersmate correct ... Just a boxroom until has permission.

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