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    • pma13
    • By pma13 1st Dec 17, 1:32 PM
    • 115Posts
    • 14Thanks
    pma13
    Indemnity insurance loft conversion
    • #1
    • 1st Dec 17, 1:32 PM
    Indemnity insurance loft conversion 1st Dec 17 at 1:32 PM
    Hello
    Just wanted to get some advice /feedback . It's come back that the 4 bed we,re buying hasn't got building regs for loft conversion. Surveyor says he's not concerned over safety but it will incur costs to get up to building regs spec. And to be honest as this will be daughters room I am keen to do this. I gave vendor two options money off to account for work to be undertaken ( this decision wasn't taken lightly there's a lot unexpected work to do along side this ) or himself go for retrospective regs.

    Anyway they've come back and said they'll purchase indemnity insurance. Yes I am happy that we're protected in case any action taken by LA but my opinion is that I am still going to be paying out more unexpected money. Am I being greedy ? Expecting too much ? Can anyone advise how to proceed even though I've told solicitor they've sent contracts this morning !
Page 2
    • glasgowdan
    • By glasgowdan 2nd Dec 17, 4:55 PM
    • 2,642 Posts
    • 2,950 Thanks
    glasgowdan
    Some things such as loft conversions bring out the fear in people! Daily Mail headlines may be to blame.
    • Aylesbury Duck
    • By Aylesbury Duck 2nd Dec 17, 8:38 PM
    • 1,205 Posts
    • 1,501 Thanks
    Aylesbury Duck
    Some things such as loft conversions bring out the fear in people! Daily Mail headlines may be to blame.
    Originally posted by glasgowdan
    Maybe, but when the OP reports this:
    The surveyor...advises we will need works doing to upgrade ie windows, fire doors , stairs unlikely be fire rated, no mains operated fire alarms etc fire escape inadequate.
    Originally posted by pma13
    ...then if it was a house I was buying, I'd be considering an offer that reflected the cost I'd want to incur to make sure it was safe. It's easy to be glib about the level of risk which admittedly is low, but when the OP is in a situation where they may be able to create the financial space to improve the safety of it, why not pursue it?
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 2nd Dec 17, 11:20 PM
    • 24,085 Posts
    • 66,698 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    So it is now a 3-bed with a "useful loft room" not a 4 bed. What impact has that on price in your area?
    Originally posted by RedFraggle
    This isnít true. It absolutely depends on the quality of the conversion. Not having building control sign off does not make a room not a room.

    I find myself saying this over and over again. When people build extensions without Building Control Approval, no one on this forum pipes up to say it isnít an extension and the price has to be reduced.

    Clearly, if the Ďextensioní is a wooden lean-to it isnít going to add value - same with a loft conversion. Itís about quality. BCA proves compliance, but a lack of it does not disprove it. The idea of quality shifts with time so there is no hard and fast rule about what qualifies.

    Similarly, most houses with loft conversions never had sign off on the houses themselves when they were built, but yet it isnít an issue.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • jimbog
    • By jimbog 3rd Dec 17, 8:52 AM
    • 619 Posts
    • 988 Thanks
    jimbog
    Itís about quality. BCA proves compliance, but a lack of it does not disprove it.
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    True. But it is the uncertainty that is the issue here and the risks with regards to safety that people are prepared to take.

    Even if you were to buy it the next buyer would have similar concerns and it could hit you financially - the problem doesn't go away
    The problem with quotations on the internet is that you can never verify their authenticity - Abraham Lincoln
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 3rd Dec 17, 9:14 AM
    • 24,085 Posts
    • 66,698 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    True. But it is the uncertainty that is the issue here and the risks with regards to safety that people are prepared to take.

    Even if you were to buy it the next buyer would have similar concerns and it could hit you financially - the problem doesn't go away
    Originally posted by jimbog
    Absolutely. My point specifially was that it is incorrect to make a blanket statement (which happens over and over again on this board) the lack of BCA automatically means that a house physically has less bedrooms and is worth less as a result. Even the phrase Ďuseful loft roomí is utterly ridiculous.

    Most, if not all houses come with issues. Iíve ripped up enough to know. And Iíve sold enough to know that many people will walk away over apparent non-issues where others are still perfectly happy to pay.

    The surveyor has no structural concerns over this extension. It is a room. Fire safety should be improved but this is also the case for thousands upon thousands of existing conversions with BCA from a different era, and in fact, millions of existing homes without loft conversions.

    Every house has to be taken on its own merits and people need to be aware that ancient BCA is not a sign for current quality and the ignorance of not obtaining BCA for a more recent addition is not an immediate sign of a structural problem.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 3rd Dec 17, 12:16 PM
    • 3,280 Posts
    • 4,573 Thanks
    Cakeguts
    My main worry about this loft conversion would be if they haven't brought it up to the current fire regulations what else haven't they done? I would start with lack of insulation. So that it is freezing cold in winter and boiling hot in summer.

    I personally wouldn't buy a house with a loft conversion simply because unless I took it apart I wouldn't know how it had been done or to what standard. There are houses that are built with rooms in the loft area as part of the design but they aren't conversions. Actually there is house not far from me that an ex next door neighbour nearly bought that had a loft conversion done many years ago where there surveyor pointed out that there were not enough supporting timbers in the roof. Just waiting for that one in 20 years winter and the whole thing collapses under a blizzard........The not enough supporting timbers is just bad construction.
    • unforeseen
    • By unforeseen 3rd Dec 17, 12:24 PM
    • 1,987 Posts
    • 2,504 Thanks
    unforeseen
    My main worry about this loft conversion would be if they haven't brought it up to the current fire regulations what else haven't they done?
    Originally posted by Cakeguts
    Unless a house has been built in the last few years then the whole structure, not just any loft conversion, won't meet CURRENT fire regulations.

    All the law requires is that a structure meets the regulations in force AT THE TIME of construction.There is no requirement to update as the regulations change if no further work is being carried out.

    I personally wouldn't buy a house with a loft conversion simply because unless I took it apart I wouldn't know how it had been done or to what standard.
    To satisfy your paranoia then you would need to do the same with the house as well as that will not meet regulations. In fact, any house you buy unless new build off plan would require you to do that
    • macman
    • By macman 3rd Dec 17, 2:53 PM
    • 41,425 Posts
    • 17,050 Thanks
    macman
    Surely the issue is not that the conversion does not meet current Building Regs, but that BCA was not obtained when the original conversion was done 10 years ago?
    The purchaser will have the same issue when they come to sell, and will be expected to provide indemnity insurance themselves.
    How can the surveyor possibly say it is structurally safe without removing the flooring to see how the steels have been inserted?
    Bringing it up to current fire and insulation standards is another matter entirely.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 3rd Dec 17, 3:52 PM
    • 10,047 Posts
    • 8,113 Thanks
    lincroft1710
    I agree with macman. If BR weren't applied for when the conversion was carried out, why weren't they? It always suggests something was not done properly even if the conversion would have complied with BR in force when built.
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 3rd Dec 17, 3:54 PM
    • 3,280 Posts
    • 4,573 Thanks
    Cakeguts
    Unless a house has been built in the last few years then the whole structure, not just any loft conversion, won't meet CURRENT fire regulations.

    All the law requires is that a structure meets the regulations in force AT THE TIME of construction.There is no requirement to update as the regulations change if no further work is being carried out.

    To satisfy your paranoia then you would need to do the same with the house as well as that will not meet regulations. In fact, any house you buy unless new build off plan would require you to do that
    Originally posted by unforeseen
    My current house doesn't have a staircase that ends in a part of the house where there isn't an outside door.
    • pma13
    • By pma13 3rd Dec 17, 6:02 PM
    • 115 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    pma13
    Ok I get that it wouldn't meet current spec but if I re sell I can't list as 4 bed + my argument is that I thought I aS. Buying a 4 bed now it's just a posh loft room
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 3rd Dec 17, 7:21 PM
    • 24,085 Posts
    • 66,698 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    Ok I get that it wouldn't meet current spec but if I re sell I can't list as 4 bed + my argument is that I thought I aS. Buying a 4 bed now it's just a posh loft room
    Originally posted by pma13

    If it is structurally sound (and you employed a surveyor to tell you) then it is a room!

    “A posh loft room” is not a thing. It is either a room or it is a loft. You can’t sometimes use a room as a room but say it isn’t.

    At some point there is a standard which is crossed and a loft becomes a room. That point has to be when it is structurally sound because that is all of us can expect from any house. Many house are originally built over many floors and don’t meet those standards at all. The typical Georgian and Victorian London terraces in very expensive areas never had to meet regs and aren’t required to meet anything that resembles current regulations and yet they fetch millions.

    http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-70145063.html

    Indemnity insrnace is available that will cover future owners too, not just the next owner.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • glasgowdan
    • By glasgowdan 3rd Dec 17, 8:56 PM
    • 2,642 Posts
    • 2,950 Thanks
    glasgowdan
    Unless I missed it, the OP said the conversion was done BEFORE 2007, not in 2007. If it were done LONG before 2007 then lack of a BRC is quite a normal common thing.

    Our loft was converted in the 1970s and we have no paperwork for it. It's survived 40 winters and is ACTUALLY a bedroom.
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 3rd Dec 17, 9:15 PM
    • 3,280 Posts
    • 4,573 Thanks
    Cakeguts
    Where is the bottom of the staircase up to the loft. Is it like an extension of the original staircase or is it in a position where getting out of a house full of smoke won't be fast because the bottom of the stairs to the loft are not close to the top of the stairs to the ground floor?
    Last edited by Cakeguts; 04-12-2017 at 12:08 AM.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 3rd Dec 17, 10:42 PM
    • 6,283 Posts
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    davidmcn
    Ok I get that it wouldn't meet current spec but if I re sell I can't list as 4 bed
    Originally posted by pma13
    I don't see why not. If it were, say, a kitchen in a ground floor extension which lacked paperwork, you wouldn't be obliged to pretend that the house didn't really have a kitchen.

    I suspect that even if it meets all the current regs it would still be worth less than a house with all 4 beds on the first floor - not everyone wants another flight of stairs and to be "in the attic" with sloping ceilings / rain battering Velux windows etc.
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