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  • FIRST POST
    • Braboor
    • By Braboor 11th Jun 17, 8:34 AM
    • 32Posts
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    Braboor
    Retrospective Building Regulations vs Indemnity Insurance
    • #1
    • 11th Jun 17, 8:34 AM
    Retrospective Building Regulations vs Indemnity Insurance 11th Jun 17 at 8:34 AM
    I have recently discovered that the seller of a property I am currently in the process of buying, completed an extension without applying for Building Control Approval. I had a full Building Survey carried out & my surveyor noted that the new roof ventilation was not conforming to regulations, although everything else seemed in order.

    The seller has delayed negotiations by withholding the Memorandum of Sale for 7 weeks, after accepting my offer. My own buyers are keen for me to move & have a Completion Date. I need to move fast but am not happy with a quick fix Indemnity Insurance as issues have already been identified. Is it possible to fast-track retrospective Building Regulations Approval & where would I find out about cost?
    Last edited by Braboor; 11-06-2017 at 8:35 AM. Reason: error
Page 1
    • lwhiteman88
    • By lwhiteman88 11th Jun 17, 9:33 AM
    • 81 Posts
    • 58 Thanks
    lwhiteman88
    • #2
    • 11th Jun 17, 9:33 AM
    • #2
    • 11th Jun 17, 9:33 AM
    Firstly was the extension completed after 1985 if not then the Regularisation route is not possible.

    The only real way to 'fast track' a Regularisation Certificate would be to go with an Approved Inspector instead of the local authority. This could allow you to speak with the company before hand to get a better idea of timescales etc. The local authority will just give you their standard time frames.

    However this could be an expensive solution. When building an extension there are a number of things which are regulated of which are hidden from view i.e. foundation depths, insulation thickness etc. Therefore to obtain the certificate it could require quite extensive investigations. Trial pits, opening the wall cavity, opening up the ceiling etc.

    Were any engineers drawings or building regulations drawings completed for the extension (albeit not submitted)? This may help a bit.

    If you are looking for a quick solution I would avoid the regularisation route. However for a piece of mind it and to get an idea of any other potential issues it could be useful.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 11th Jun 17, 9:44 AM
    • 23,114 Posts
    • 88,447 Thanks
    Davesnave
    • #3
    • 11th Jun 17, 9:44 AM
    • #3
    • 11th Jun 17, 9:44 AM
    When building an extension there are a number of things which are regulated of which are hidden from view i.e. foundation depths, insulation thickness etc. Therefore to obtain the certificate it could require quite extensive investigations. Trial pits, opening the wall cavity, opening up the ceiling etc.....
    Originally posted by lwhiteman88
    .... which the current owner will probably resist, unless or until they believe such investigation is inevitable.

    They may, instead, decide to attempt a sale to someone else.

    Is there a mortgage involved? If one is, your solicitor is bound to inform the lender.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 11th Jun 17, 9:59 AM
    • 7,235 Posts
    • 7,744 Thanks
    AnotherJoe
    • #4
    • 11th Jun 17, 9:59 AM
    • #4
    • 11th Jun 17, 9:59 AM
    I have recently discovered that the seller of a property I am currently in the process of buying, completed an extension without applying for Building Control Approval. I had a full Building Survey carried out & my surveyor noted that the new roof ventilation was not conforming to regulations, although everything else seemed in order.

    The seller has delayed negotiations by withholding the Memorandum of Sale for 7 weeks, after accepting my offer. My own buyers are keen for me to move & have a Completion Date. I need to move fast but am not happy with a quick fix Indemnity Insurance as issues have already been identified. Is it possible to fast-track retrospective Building Regulations Approval & where would I find out about cost?
    Originally posted by Braboor
    That doesn't necessarily mean it was built badly. Regulations change all the time, that doesnt mean that older houses have to be altered to comply.

    Pragmatically, the issue for you is more the question of will lack of consents give you a future resale issue, rather than is it unsafe.
    • Braboor
    • By Braboor 11th Jun 17, 10:52 AM
    • 32 Posts
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    Braboor
    • #5
    • 11th Jun 17, 10:52 AM
    • #5
    • 11th Jun 17, 10:52 AM
    I'll try & answer all questions in one post.

    The extension work was to add a first floor bedroom & roof over an existing ground floor kitchen, so the foundations already existed. Completed July 2013. Drawing situation unknown (I have only seen Planning Application drawings) but I have requested all drawings to be handed over on Completion.

    There is no mortgage, this is a 'cash from proceeds' purchase. My surveyor only spotted one issue, to do with ventilation at the roof eaves. I read that indemnity insurance will only cover losses and expenses arising out of enforcement action, not any loss arising because of a defect in the work.

    The roof space is currently cold ...I would like to alter that to a hot space & use it for storage as the floors are already boarded.
    Last edited by Braboor; 11-06-2017 at 10:54 AM.
    • lwhiteman88
    • By lwhiteman88 11th Jun 17, 11:06 AM
    • 81 Posts
    • 58 Thanks
    lwhiteman88
    • #6
    • 11th Jun 17, 11:06 AM
    • #6
    • 11th Jun 17, 11:06 AM
    Already having foundations for a single storey kitchen extension does not mean that they are adequate to support an additional floor and roof.

    The ventilation of the roof eaves could be an easy fix but could be a suggestion that there are other hidden mistakes because any knowledgeable builder would know to ventilate the eaves. (and notify building control during the works!).

    If it was me I would call an approved inspector and ask what exactly they would need to inspect and how quickly they could complete the certificate. As I say they are normally quite prompt and helpful. You will need this to avoid issues for resale so doing it before completion might not be a bad idea.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 11th Jun 17, 1:13 PM
    • 41,077 Posts
    • 47,190 Thanks
    G_M
    • #7
    • 11th Jun 17, 1:13 PM
    • #7
    • 11th Jun 17, 1:13 PM
    The extension work was to add a first floor bedroom & roof over an existing ground floor kitchen, so the foundations already existed. .
    Originally posted by Braboor


    Yes. Foundations to support a single storey. Were they strengthened/deepened to support double the weight......?

    Indemnity Insurance will cover your financial costs in the (highly) unlikely event that the local authority come along, take a look, and demand that you either rebuild the extension or make changes (eg deepen the foundations!).

    Indemnity Insurance will NOT cover the cost if the extension starts to subside/collapse, or some other problem arises as a result of short-cuts or shoddy work.

    Retro BRs, will ensure the work was done to the right standard. It may conclude it was not, in which case the owner may have expensive rebuild/re-work to do! It will in any case involve disruptive and damaging investigations (eg digging to inspect the foundations.)
    • Chanes
    • By Chanes 11th Jun 17, 1:40 PM
    • 841 Posts
    • 523 Thanks
    Chanes
    • #8
    • 11th Jun 17, 1:40 PM
    • #8
    • 11th Jun 17, 1:40 PM
    I think the phrase for this is 'can of worms'...In your place, I would want certainty the foundations were capable and correct for the structure and work from that point.
    • Braboor
    • By Braboor 11th Jun 17, 5:11 PM
    • 32 Posts
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    Braboor
    • #9
    • 11th Jun 17, 5:11 PM
    • #9
    • 11th Jun 17, 5:11 PM
    I don't know if it makes any difference but the existing walls were the solid rubble type (circa 1850) 500mm thick.
    • sparky130a
    • By sparky130a 11th Jun 17, 5:27 PM
    • 638 Posts
    • 775 Thanks
    sparky130a
    I don't know if it makes any difference but the existing walls were the solid rubble type (circa 1850) 500mm thick.
    Originally posted by Braboor
    It's not the walls that count.

    It's what they are built on.

    You need to find out about the foundations.

    Personally i'd already be up the road ( running) to look at other properties...
    • Braboor
    • By Braboor 11th Jun 17, 5:37 PM
    • 32 Posts
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    Braboor
    Personally i'd already be up the road ( running) to look at other properties...
    Ha ...the property I really wanted (just up the road) sold last year! Ironically, whilst I was waiting to view this one ...a neighbour told me he was putting his on the market (but it didn't have the same view ...which I love).

    I think I need to look at rental as time is running out for me & this purchase looks doomed
    • parking_question_chap
    • By parking_question_chap 11th Jun 17, 5:56 PM
    • 1,400 Posts
    • 1,209 Thanks
    parking_question_chap

    The only real way to 'fast track' a Regularisation Certificate would be to go with an Approved Inspector instead of the local authority. This could allow you to speak with the company before hand to get a better idea of timescales etc. The local authority will just give you their standard time frames.
    Originally posted by lwhiteman88
    To my knowledge regularisations can only be dealt with by the Local Authority Building control. Not sure why people are pointing op towards approved inspectors.
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 11th Jun 17, 6:10 PM
    • 9,634 Posts
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    lincroft1710
    The question you need the answer to, when BR not obtained is Why?

    Was the vendor too mean (BR costs), but it may or may not have been built in accordance with BR? Did he do it on the cheap, so did not have it built in accordance with regs? Was his builder a cowboy, who ignored BR?

    The roof ventilation not being compliant is a worry, unless relevant regs changed since 2013.
    • Braboor
    • By Braboor 11th Jun 17, 6:17 PM
    • 32 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Braboor
    Was his builder a cowboy, who ignored BR?
    I did get to speak to the builder (as his invoice was included in some paperwork). I asked him why he has no 'internet presence' (as I had previously searched his name) & he said all his work comes 'word of mouth'. The invoice was surprisingly cheap but did not specify if it were for the complete works.
    • Braboor
    • By Braboor 11th Jun 17, 6:23 PM
    • 32 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Braboor
    Above the softwood rafters there is a breathable type modern underlay ...we further note that there is insulation evident in the sloping ceiling section but we could not see ventilation gaps (minimum 25mm) between the top of the insulation and underside of roof underlay as is required by the Building Regulations. (surveyor)
    ...I have read that if the underlay is breathable ...the ventilation gap is not required. Confused.
    Last edited by Braboor; 11-06-2017 at 8:09 PM. Reason: error
    • lwhiteman88
    • By lwhiteman88 12th Jun 17, 7:42 AM
    • 81 Posts
    • 58 Thanks
    lwhiteman88
    To my knowledge regularisations can only be dealt with by the Local Authority Building control. Not sure why people are pointing op towards approved inspectors.
    Originally posted by parking_question_chap
    You're quite right. Luckily none of my projects have to taken regularisation route which was why I didn't consider this.

    I did help out one person with some drawings. They had applied for a regularisation certificate for a loft conversion they did and it was very onerous. Not only did they need to open up a lot of the conversion but they also needed the drawings to support the findings which was an added cost.

    ...I have read that if the underlay is breathable ...the ventilation gap is not required. Confused.
    Originally posted by Braboor
    I think its a bit difficult to comment on this without inspecting properly as there could be other reasons for requiring the air gap. i.e. is there 50mm air gap between membrane and tiles, is it connected to another part of the roof which requires venting etc. Your surveyor should know the requirements but if you are unsure on what they have advised I would ask them. However as we have said this could just be 1 issue which was visible.
    • jbainbridge
    • By jbainbridge 12th Jun 17, 8:04 AM
    • 1,713 Posts
    • 1,106 Thanks
    jbainbridge
    Given the age of the work no enforcement action can now be taken. The only reason the council could have for action would be safety related, no one will be bothered about an air gap.

    That said, you should satisfy yourself that the foundations are ok ... though your surveyor seems happy enough? If you don't need a mortgage and are happy ... crack on.
    • sparky130a
    • By sparky130a 12th Jun 17, 8:07 AM
    • 638 Posts
    • 775 Thanks
    sparky130a
    Look, it's quite simple.

    BR are not the elephant in the room.

    The foundations are.

    A man with a clipboard won't save your property in 10 years time when it collapse's/has subsidence ....

    A man with a 1.5T digger and a shovel might just prevent that ever occurring.

    But do you (And the vendor) want the hassle... ?
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 12th Jun 17, 8:39 AM
    • 2,104 Posts
    • 3,039 Thanks
    EachPenny
    I don't know if it makes any difference but the existing walls were the solid rubble type (circa 1850) 500mm thick.
    Originally posted by Braboor
    Do you know what materials were used to construct the walls of the first floor? Brick/Block/Timber?

    Likewise, what is the roof covered with? Is it tiles, slates, or something else?
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • lwhiteman88
    • By lwhiteman88 12th Jun 17, 8:47 AM
    • 81 Posts
    • 58 Thanks
    lwhiteman88
    Given the age of the work no enforcement action can now be taken. The only reason the council could have for action would be safety related, no one will be bothered about an air gap.

    That said, you should satisfy yourself that the foundations are ok ... though your surveyor seems happy enough? If you don't need a mortgage and are happy ... crack on.
    Originally posted by jbainbridge
    I don't think enforcement action is the concern. However getting approval from building control would give the OP a piece of mind that the whole extension has been built properly. Things like no air gap may seem minor but they are the main causes of damp/condensation.

    The scale of the work seems quite small so I agree that these issues could never arise but it's still an unknown. Digging a small trial pit to see the foundations would be a half days work with a shovel and then maybe pay an hour of an engineers time to visit/comment. The regularisation certificate could be done after you have exchanged and then you can take your time to fix any minor issues if you decide to sell.
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