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  • FIRST POST
    • dan~
    • By dan~ 3rd Oct 17, 2:12 PM
    • 49Posts
    • 5Thanks
    dan~
    House - Doesn't have building regs
    • #1
    • 3rd Oct 17, 2:12 PM
    House - Doesn't have building regs 3rd Oct 17 at 2:12 PM
    Hello,

    We had an offer accepted on a house, and have had the home buyers report done and got initial draft contracts in.

    The report bought up the fact that the owners have removed a wall between two bedrooms to make one big one, removed a wall in the kitchen which use to be a utility so opened it up (there is a visible bar, whether RSJ or not I'm not sure) and also eaten a bit of the attached garage to make the kitchen a bit bigger too.

    The owners said, they didn't get building regs as "exempt", it's been like it for a few years atleast so i'm certain it's somewhat safe.

    My solicitor has given me some information of indemnity insurance which I will not be paying as I shouldn't have to cover the costs of someone elses mistake.

    As far as I'm aware I have 3 options

    1. Use the indemnity insurance - case closed as far as i'm aware and move on

    2. demand regularisation certificates - From what I gather that then means Option 1 is pretty much out of the window, once the council is aware.

    I believe it'll be somewhat invasive and will need to remove plaster to check quality of workmanship and parts used

    this process is more time consuming can add a month or two, whilst the council building control come out to check it and sign it off (if it passes)

    Also is it correct that as soon as the council is aware, then they could fine the current owners and get them to either put it back or put it right?

    3. Walk away - I really don't want to do this

    If say I went with option 1, then after 12 months I want to fully convert the garage (properly!) and apply for planning permission etc, if the council come in to inspect it, what happens if they notice the utility wall was removed aswell, I'm assuming they can't do anything because I have the indemnity insurance?

    I really dislike the idea of indemnity insurance as to me it's a bit of a cop out and will never really stop people doing things incorrectly.

    What's the best course of action? I could also see if I go with option 1 then in the future if I want to sell the house, this issue could crop up again and if my buyers don't want to get an indemnity policy, then I'll be in the situation where I could have to pay to get things put right, which I don't - but not planning on moving ever again to be honest
    Last edited by dan~; 03-10-2017 at 2:17 PM.
Page 1
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 3rd Oct 17, 2:22 PM
    • 6,257 Posts
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    davidmcn
    • #2
    • 3rd Oct 17, 2:22 PM
    • #2
    • 3rd Oct 17, 2:22 PM
    When were the works done? If long ago then you may have some comfort because (a) enforcement may be time-barred and (b) if the house was going to fall down it would already have done so... Has your surveyor made any comment about the works other than getting the paperwork?
    • Rambosmum
    • By Rambosmum 3rd Oct 17, 2:38 PM
    • 1,548 Posts
    • 2,011 Thanks
    Rambosmum
    • #3
    • 3rd Oct 17, 2:38 PM
    • #3
    • 3rd Oct 17, 2:38 PM
    How about option 4 - Indemnity policy, paid for by the vendor. I don't know of a single buyer whose had to pay for their own indemnity insurance.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 3rd Oct 17, 2:47 PM
    • 24,053 Posts
    • 66,664 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    • #4
    • 3rd Oct 17, 2:47 PM
    • #4
    • 3rd Oct 17, 2:47 PM
    How about option 4 - Indemnity policy, paid for by the vendor. I don't know of a single buyer whose had to pay for their own indemnity insurance.
    Originally posted by Rambosmum
    Then you can start your list with me. Sometimes you have to pay just to get things done. In the grand scheme, it's very little.

    The indemnity does to some extent protect you from any enforcement action that building control might want to make, although inviting them in to look at something else probably invalidates it as well. It's a piece of paper for a piece of paper's sake. However, in nearly 20 years of building, we have never had a Building Control Officer point out something that pre-exists. After 12 months, they'd need a court order to start any enforcement proceedings and this really is something they would only ever reserve for blatantly dangerous structures, not something that is standing the test of time and has been done with some regard, given that you do at least have what you call a 'visible bar. They really aren't interested. Most houses pre-date building regs and so the houses themselves don't comply with anything, the process for asking for certificates for can only ever count for things carried out over the last 30 years.

    You really just want your surveyor to be happy that the house is solid. Building Control will not be bothered. The indemnity insurance is really only to satisfy the lender.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • dan~
    • By dan~ 3rd Oct 17, 2:50 PM
    • 49 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    dan~
    • #5
    • 3rd Oct 17, 2:50 PM
    • #5
    • 3rd Oct 17, 2:50 PM
    Hello,

    No idea how long ago it was done, I'd say a good few years atleast maybe 10+ at a guess.

    I do agree though if it was too dodgy then something would have fallen by now.

    The surveyor only said "obvious signs of alterations on probably load-bearing walls" we went for the home buyer report and would of thought they'd know if it was load bearing or not.

    I suppose if it was non load bearing then no need for building regs and the seller would be correct; however I'm sure there's a RSJ from where the utility was and the rest of the kitchen.

    The house was built in 2000, and I always thought other than the outside the rest of the internal walls were always non-load bearing.

    no other comments were made about getting paperwork, just an observation. Our solicitor has now had to tell our lender so hopefully on Friday we'll get a message back and hsbc all happy, albeit with an indemnity, but I'd personally like to avoid indemnity in case it causes me issues in the past.

    Walking away from the house isn't really an option as we love it, and this is bound to be the same for any other property
    • Surrey_EA
    • By Surrey_EA 3rd Oct 17, 2:55 PM
    • 1,302 Posts
    • 1,566 Thanks
    Surrey_EA
    • #6
    • 3rd Oct 17, 2:55 PM
    • #6
    • 3rd Oct 17, 2:55 PM
    When were the works done? If long ago then you may have some comfort because (a) enforcement may be time-barred and (b) if the house was going to fall down it would already have done so... Has your surveyor made any comment about the works other than getting the paperwork?
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    I do not believe that there is any time limit for the enforcement of building regulations.

    As you say, if when the wall was removed it was inadequately supported then it's highly likely that there would be some indication of it by now!
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 3rd Oct 17, 3:06 PM
    • 10,032 Posts
    • 8,091 Thanks
    lincroft1710
    • #7
    • 3rd Oct 17, 3:06 PM
    • #7
    • 3rd Oct 17, 3:06 PM
    Then you can start your list with me. Sometimes you have to pay just to get things done. In the grand scheme, it's very little.

    The indemnity does to some extent protect you from any enforcement action that building control might want to make, although inviting them in to look at something else probably invalidates it as well. It's a piece of paper for a piece of paper's sake. However, in nearly 20 years of building, we have never had a Building Control Officer point out something that pre-exists. After 12 months, they'd need a court order to start any enforcement proceedings and this really is something they would only ever reserve for blatantly dangerous structures, not something that is standing the test of time and has been done with some regard, given that you do at least have what you call a 'visible bar. They really aren't interested. Most houses pre-date building regs and so the houses themselves don't comply with anything, the process for asking for certificates for can only ever count for things carried out over the last 30 years.

    You really just want your surveyor to be happy that the house is solid. Building Control will not be bothered. The indemnity insurance is really only to satisfy the lender.
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    Quoted because this is the correct answer, FTBs please read and inwardly digest!
    • dan~
    • By dan~ 3rd Oct 17, 3:35 PM
    • 49 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    dan~
    • #8
    • 3rd Oct 17, 3:35 PM
    • #8
    • 3rd Oct 17, 3:35 PM
    The other issue aswell, is if we go with indemnity. I want a log burner installed in the kitchen diner.

    i'm not sure if this then alerts the council to the fact I'm getting it fitted if I used a HESTA fitter? Again will they turn round and see a beam and go "hmm that's not meant to be there" and bring up issues?

    Or wouldn't that likely be an issue?
    • Rambosmum
    • By Rambosmum 3rd Oct 17, 3:57 PM
    • 1,548 Posts
    • 2,011 Thanks
    Rambosmum
    • #9
    • 3rd Oct 17, 3:57 PM
    • #9
    • 3rd Oct 17, 3:57 PM
    The other issue aswell, is if we go with indemnity. I want a log burner installed in the kitchen diner.

    i'm not sure if this then alerts the council to the fact I'm getting it fitted if I used a HESTA fitter? Again will they turn round and see a beam and go "hmm that's not meant to be there" and bring up issues?

    Or wouldn't that likely be an issue?
    Originally posted by dan~


    Most likely won't be an issue. We had work done to ours and had the building regs inspector round. He looked at the bit we directed him to, the bit we were paying him to look at. The rear extension (not done by us) which had neither pp nor regs and was completely visible to him on his visit was left alone.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 3rd Oct 17, 3:58 PM
    • 24,053 Posts
    • 66,664 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    HETAS.

    I've answered that question with the OP - I was quite general. Building Control are as a rule not interested in your previous work unless it looks absolutely dangerous.

    There's possibly no potential issues at all as HETAS are self-certifiers, if I recall, and you only need the certificate straight from them. BC aren't involved.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • dan~
    • By dan~ 3rd Oct 17, 6:01 PM
    • 49 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    dan~
    Excellent thanks all.

    I rang the local building control and gave no house details, who said if an application form was completed tomorrow and paid over the phone, they would be at the propperty the following date to check it over.

    I mentioned about indemnity and ask for money off and he said thatís the route heíd go down.

    So iíll give them those options and see what happens.
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