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  • FIRST POST
    • misswoosie
    • By misswoosie 14th Mar 17, 12:09 PM
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    misswoosie
    Building reg's for conservatory
    • #1
    • 14th Mar 17, 12:09 PM
    Building reg's for conservatory 14th Mar 17 at 12:09 PM
    We're in the process of buying a home which has a conservatory on the back if the kitchen.
    According to the vendor,the current conservatory was built in 2015 and replaced an older conservatory.
    The vendor didn't declare that the house had been extended on the property information form.. Eventually they produced a guarantee for the conservatory but when we asked about building regs we danced around for a couple of weeks and now the vendors solicitor is saying that they've asked the vendor the questions regarding the criteria for conservatories to be exempt from building regs and they say that the conservatory meets all of those requirements.
    From https://www.planningportal.co.uk/info/200130/common_projects/10/conservatories/3

    conservatories are normally exempt from building regulations when:
    They are built at ground level and are less than 30 square metres in floor area.
    The conservatory is separated from the house by external quality walls, doors or windows.
    There should be an independent heating system with separate temperature and on/off controls.
    Glazing and any fixed electrical installations comply with the applicable building regulations requirements (see below).

    Our understanding of this is that the conservatory needs to be separated from the kitchen by an external quality door and this isn't the case.
    Additionally, the heating system is a radiator connected to the main combi system although it does have a TRV, but if you just wanted to heat the conservatory then you would have to go round the whole house and turn off all the other radiators, so I'm not sure if the heating requirement is met.

    Not too bothered about the heating element as we could get around that, but ,apart from the fact that building regs haven't been met and the future hassle that might bring, we're concerned that it will be colder than the rest of the house and it can't be closed off.

    We'd asked for a reduction in price of £800 towards the cost of fitting UPVC patio doors.
    Interested to know if people feel we're correct in our interpretation of the exemption reg's.
Page 1
    • martinsurrey
    • By martinsurrey 14th Mar 17, 12:10 PM
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    martinsurrey
    • #2
    • 14th Mar 17, 12:10 PM
    • #2
    • 14th Mar 17, 12:10 PM
    You are right.
    • Hoploz
    • By Hoploz 14th Mar 17, 12:23 PM
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    Hoploz
    • #3
    • 14th Mar 17, 12:23 PM
    • #3
    • 14th Mar 17, 12:23 PM
    However, bear in mind that it's possible you could lose this house if the seller says no and you've given them an ultimatum. Think carefully before you say anything rash ... at the end of the day the building is what it is. The council are not going to be interested in enforcing lack of building regs on a conservatory. Would you actually want the external grade door separating it, or is it nicer without?

    Just because something does not have the correct paperwork doesn't mean it isn't perfectly fine to live in.
    • HouseBuyer77
    • By HouseBuyer77 14th Mar 17, 12:33 PM
    • 861 Posts
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    HouseBuyer77
    • #4
    • 14th Mar 17, 12:33 PM
    • #4
    • 14th Mar 17, 12:33 PM
    We'd asked for a reduction in price of £800 towards the cost of fitting UPVC patio doors.
    Potentially reasonable, though the vendor may well say you could clearly see it was a conservatory without any doors to seperate it and they had marketed it at a price (and accepted that offer) given that issue was known.
    • misswoosie
    • By misswoosie 14th Mar 17, 5:02 PM
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    misswoosie
    • #5
    • 14th Mar 17, 5:02 PM
    • #5
    • 14th Mar 17, 5:02 PM
    Potentially reasonable, though the vendor may well say you could clearly see it was a conservatory without any doors to seperate it and they had marketed it at a price (and accepted that offer) given that issue was known.
    Originally posted by HouseBuyer77
    This is true, however we didn't think about building regs at the time as the vendor described the conservatory as a dining room. You don't get the full information about the property until the property information form is provided and it was when the vendor failed to mention that the house had been extended and building regs weren't produced that we started thinking about the structures construction, realised it wasn't a cavity wall etc and looked at the building regs. The structure has a completely solid full height wall along one side ,the other side has a wall with 2 large windows in it and there are french doors at the garden end.
    However, bear in mind that it's possible you could lose this house if the seller says no and you've given them an ultimatum. Think carefully before you say anything rash ... at the end of the day the building is what it is. The council are not going to be interested in enforcing lack of building regs on a conservatory. Would you actually want the external grade door separating it, or is it nicer without?

    Just because something does not have the correct paperwork doesn't mean it isn't perfectly fine to live in.
    Originally posted by Hoploz
    "we're concerned that it will be colder than the rest of the house and it can't be closed off"
    it would be better without if the structure was built to building regs standards! Having lived in a huse with a conservatory that couldn't be closed off I know how cold it can be. The vendor may walk away and we understand that, but the house has been on the market for approaching a year with no offers until ours and we're cash buyers without anything to sell. Looking at the most recent sold prices in the same development I think we're paying a fair price.

    Would a lender be concerned about the lack of building regs?

    Our solicitor has just sent us a copy of the building regs that I've just posted above. At the moment the vendors not even prepared to admit that it doesn't meet the regs. Additionally there's a clause in the deeds that says consent has to be sought for any extensions to the property and there's no evidence of that either.
    • ££sc££
    • By ££sc££ 14th Mar 17, 7:53 PM
    • 236 Posts
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    ££sc££
    • #6
    • 14th Mar 17, 7:53 PM
    • #6
    • 14th Mar 17, 7:53 PM
    We had the exact same situation with a house we purchased. We had to write a letter to our proposed lender to assure them we would install doors on completion. Our solicitor telephoned me to advise that we didn't actually need to do it but she needed the letter from us, only time we spoke on phone everything else she obv put in writing to us. Our lender never checked and we are with another lender now anyway, who never asked any questions about building regs when we remortgaged. We couldn't decide if we wanted the doors up or not, nicer space without versus whole hot/cold thing of conservatories. Bought some very good quality thick curtains secondhand off eBay for £30 and have never installed the doors. Amazing temperature difference the curtains hold between the rooms. If you're very keen on the house i wouldn't both losing it over £800 doors in the grand scheme of things.
    • dgtazzman
    • By dgtazzman 14th Mar 17, 8:42 PM
    • 1,114 Posts
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    dgtazzman
    • #7
    • 14th Mar 17, 8:42 PM
    • #7
    • 14th Mar 17, 8:42 PM
    Ask the vendor if they kept the original doors, if it was only put on in 2015. I'm doing so with my conservatory that I am currently having built. I'm taking the doors out, but keeping them in my garage, just in case of future sale or building regs issues. The heating issue would be more on my mind. To be classed as a conservatory, it should have it's own standalone heating system...
    • Hoploz
    • By Hoploz 14th Mar 17, 8:50 PM
    • 3,529 Posts
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    Hoploz
    • #8
    • 14th Mar 17, 8:50 PM
    • #8
    • 14th Mar 17, 8:50 PM
    Just to put the cat amongst the pigeons here ... If it has one solid wall is it still a conservatory? There is a certain % of glass to make it qualify for building regs exemption, as well as the heating and separate door issue.

    If the seller has built this in the place of another conservatory, then have they actually 'extended' the property?

    However, as I said before... Think carefully about how to get over this. If the discount is to offset the cost of installing doors, and this will make it your perfect home then that's great, go ahead. But if the lack of paperwork is the problem, a discount won't solve this.
    • misswoosie
    • By misswoosie 14th Mar 17, 9:43 PM
    • 71 Posts
    • 33 Thanks
    misswoosie
    • #9
    • 14th Mar 17, 9:43 PM
    • #9
    • 14th Mar 17, 9:43 PM
    We had the exact same situation with a house we purchased. We had to write a letter to our proposed lender to assure them we would install doors on completion. Our solicitor telephoned me to advise that we didn't actually need to do it but she needed the letter from us, only time we spoke on phone everything else she obv put in writing to us. Our lender never checked and we are with another lender now anyway, who never asked any questions about building regs when we remortgaged. We couldn't decide if we wanted the doors up or not, nicer space without versus whole hot/cold thing of conservatories. Bought some very good quality thick curtains secondhand off eBay for £30 and have never installed the doors. Amazing temperature difference the curtains hold between the rooms. If you're very keen on the house i wouldn't both losing it over £800 doors in the grand scheme of things.
    Originally posted by ££sc££
    Yes, we liked it open, that was until we got our thinking heads on.Obviously it was winter when we viewed the house and it didn't feel cold (and I'm a cold fish) and don't think the heating was on.Useful info in case we find we can get a mortgage in the future. Lived abroad for 5 years till 2 years ago plus earning below the threshold for anyone to lend.

    Ask the vendor if they kept the original doors, if it was only put on in 2015. I'm doing so with my conservatory that I am currently having built. I'm taking the doors out, but keeping them in my garage, just in case of future sale or building regs issues. The heating issue would be more on my mind. To be classed as a conservatory, it should have it's own standalone heating system...
    Originally posted by dgtazzman
    Well unless they're on the loft they haven't got them! The house is very small and has no garage. I think the previous ,not the current, owners put the original conservatory on. What are you putting in for heating? A hardwired high efficiency electric panel heater or something similar?

    Just to put the cat amongst the pigeons here ... If it has one solid wall is it still a conservatory? There is a certain % of glass to make it qualify for building regs exemption, as well as the heating and separate door issue.

    If the seller has built this in the place of another conservatory, then have they actually 'extended' the property?

    However, as I said before... Think carefully about how to get over this. If the discount is to offset the cost of installing doors, and this will make it your perfect home then that's great, go ahead. But if the lack of paperwork is the problem, a discount won't solve this.
    Originally posted by Hoploz
    That thought has crossed my mind. So if doesn't have the specified % of glass it's not a conservatory and should meet building regs ie insulation etc etc etc. The plan from Land Registry doesn't show the conservatory so someone has added it at since the house was built but I see what you're saying. It should've been picked up by their solicitor when they bought it. I guess an idemnity policy could cover that. I assume that (as long as it's a conservatory) with the doors on we could get retrospective building regs. If it's not a conservatory then it's going to cost a fair amount and a lot of upheaval to bring it up to building regs assuming there's no insulation in it. The roof is a bluey (coated?) plastic.I'm off to look at how much glass a conservatory needs to have!
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 14th Mar 17, 10:16 PM
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    Doozergirl
    If the doors are in place, it is *exempt* from building regulations. (Provided it is within size restrictions)

    No building regulations requirement = no certificate needed = no indemnity needed.

    The doors are the main issue. People are starting to complicate this! If you think it is a conservatory, then it is a conservatory. It's only the lack of doors that make it an extension and therefore regs required.

    It shouldn't be an extension as far as building control is concerned; conservatories are outbuildings - as long as the doors are there (and you aren't attempting to heat the entire town via your central heating and a polycarb roof)
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 15-03-2017 at 3:07 PM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • misswoosie
    • By misswoosie 14th Mar 17, 11:59 PM
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    misswoosie
    of course we won't need to get retrospective building regs if doors are in place.Thanks for that!
    • martinsurrey
    • By martinsurrey 15th Mar 17, 9:56 AM
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    martinsurrey
    If the doors are in place and heating seperated, it is *exempt* from building regulations. (Provided it is within size restrictions)

    No building regulations requirement = no certificate needed = no indemnity needed.

    The doors and heating are the only issue. People are starting to complicate this! If you think it is a conservatory, then it is a conservatory. It's only the lack of doors and joined heating that make it an extension and therefore regs required.

    It shouldn't be an extension as far as building control is concerned; conservatories are outbuildings - as long as the doors are there (and you aren't attempting to heat the entire town via your central heating and a polycarb roof)
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    just added a bit on heating. joined heating makes it part of the thermal envelope of the building, and within the scope of regs.
    • HouseBuyer77
    • By HouseBuyer77 15th Mar 17, 10:12 AM
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    HouseBuyer77
    If it's not a conservatory then it's going to cost a fair amount and a lot of upheaval to bring it up to building regs assuming there's no insulation in it. The roof is a bluey (coated?) plastic.I'm off to look at how much glass a conservatory needs to have!
    That'll be a polycarbonate roof.

    I have a very similar setup in my property. Conservatory with polycarbonate roof, one wall is fully brick (cavity I think, double skinned at least), has a radiator. It's open to the rest of the house.

    I'm not going to say it's perfect but it works fine. I decided that I can get doors fitted easily enough if I didn't get on with it but been there almost 2 years now and haven't felt the need. Energy bills seem reasonable, had no issues with it getting far too hot in the summer etc (though it is north facing).

    I briefly looked into upgrading the roof, plenty of companies claiming they have a perfect solution, plenty of warnings about how it's a bad idea (foundations/structure can't take the weight of a better roof, turns it into an actual extension for building regs etc).
    • misswoosie
    • By misswoosie 15th Mar 17, 11:19 AM
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    misswoosie
    just added a bit on heating. joined heating makes it part of the thermal envelope of the building, and within the scope of regs.
    Originally posted by martinsurrey
    But if it didn't have any heating at all and the doors were in place then it's a conservatory and exempt from building regs? Or does it have to have a source of heating?
    • martinsurrey
    • By martinsurrey 15th Mar 17, 11:21 AM
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    martinsurrey
    But if it didn't have any heating at all and the doors were in place then it's a conservatory and exempt from building regs? Or does it have to have a source of heating?
    Originally posted by misswoosie
    yes, or if it has heating but that heating is completely independent of the rest of the houses system (seperate boiler, electric, solid fuel), it would also be exempt from regs.
    • misswoosie
    • By misswoosie 15th Mar 17, 11:27 AM
    • 71 Posts
    • 33 Thanks
    misswoosie
    photos
    That'll be a polycarbonate roof.

    I have a very similar setup in my property. Conservatory with polycarbonate roof, one wall is fully brick (cavity I think, double skinned at least), has a radiator. It's open to the rest of the house.

    I'm not going to say it's perfect but it works fine. I decided that I can get doors fitted easily enough if I didn't get on with it but been there almost 2 years now and haven't felt the need. Energy bills seem reasonable, had no issues with it getting far too hot in the summer etc (though it is north facing).

    I briefly looked into upgrading the roof, plenty of companies claiming they have a perfect solution, plenty of warnings about how it's a bad idea (foundations/structure can't take the weight of a better roof, turns it into an actual extension for building regs etc).
    Originally posted by HouseBuyer77
    Actually, the walls may be double skinned as, looking at the photos, the windows aren't flush with the wall below them. There's a lip of around 6". This is the link to the property. See photos 5 and 9. http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-43247409.html
    • misswoosie
    • By misswoosie 15th Mar 17, 11:30 AM
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    misswoosie
    The vendor has agreed to a reduction in price of £400 which we're probably going to agree to.
    • foxy-stoat
    • By foxy-stoat 15th Mar 17, 11:35 AM
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    foxy-stoat
    Nice negotiating, you got 0.01% off the asking price.
    • martinsurrey
    • By martinsurrey 15th Mar 17, 11:48 AM
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    martinsurrey
    Nice negotiating, you got 0.01% off the asking price.
    Originally posted by foxy-stoat
    I don't want you to be my negotiator...

    £400 of £108,950 = 0.36%, only out by a factor of 36!
    Last edited by martinsurrey; 15-03-2017 at 12:22 PM. Reason: I got it wrong
    • Typhoon2000
    • By Typhoon2000 15th Mar 17, 11:50 AM
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    Typhoon2000
    We opened up the wall between the conservatory and kitchen. Put bifold doors in and got building control to sign off the work. Then took the doors off and stuck them in the garage.
    We also have radiators connected to the main central heating but have also put in underfloor heating, but didn't need it in the winter. The conservatory has a half height brick wall running all the way around except for the patio doors. The polycarbonate room was converted to a insulated tiled roof by the previous owners. Its plenty warm enough and much nicer with no doors to the kitchen.
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