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Extension done in 2021 with building completion certificate

Hi we are in the process of buying a leasehold flat (victorian conversion, not new-build) in London.

The vendors did a side return extension in 2021 with wet underfloor heating. When we were viewing, the boiler seemed new and electrics seemed to be new as well (many spotlights in bedrooms and extended ares (which is being used as open reception / dining area) 

They shared the building completion certificate, but no EICR, no gas safety certificate. EPC is C so pretty good. The building certificate is just one page that said the work was done in accordance with the building regulations, but it doesn’t list what was reviewed. 

We have two questions:
- In this case, is it ok to just to homebuyer’s report as there is a building completion certificate? Or still worth doing a full building survey?

- Also, can we assume that the electrics, gas/boiler and drainage would have been looked at and signed off by building inspector? Or would we need to take on additional electric/gas/drainage surveys on top of our homebuyer survey?

Our first time looking at an extended / renovated flat so not sure to what level we should spend money for the surveys…whether they would be worth it

Thank you for all advice!

Comments

  • eddddy
    eddddy Posts: 16,141
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    edited 25 November 2023 at 8:30PM
    JK4158 said:

    They shared the building completion certificate, but no EICR, no gas safety certificate. EPC is C so pretty good. The building certificate is just one page that said the work was done in accordance with the building regulations, but it doesn’t list what was reviewed. 


    The council building control department will have documents with the full details.

    You might be able to find them on the council's website, or alternatively, you can probably make an appointment to see the documents at the council offices.

    But perhaps the best option is to ask your solicitor to request all the details from the seller's solicitor.


    JK4158 said:

    The vendors did a side return extension in 2021...

    Were the vendors leaseholders when they did the extension - or a sole freeholder, or a joint freeholder?

    Extending a leasehold flat can be super-complicated. You should make sure that everything has been done properly, including...

    • Was planning consent obtained (there's no permitted development for flats)?
    • Is there written consent from the freeholder?
    • Was the lease plan updated to reflect the new layout?
    • Is it clear who is responsible for maintaining the structure of the original building (e.g. the freeholder) and who is responsible for maintaining the structure of the extension (e.g. the freeholder or the leaseholder)
    • Have the insurance and service charge percentages been adjusted because of the extension?
    • Have all the leases for the building had lease variations to reflect the above?

    You should explicitly make your solicitor aware of the extension - to make sure he/she investigates this stuff. (And hopefully you're not using an online conveyancing warehouse!)

  • JK4158
    JK4158 Posts: 20
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    Thank you super helpful! Yes they were leaseholder when they did the extension. Thanksfully(?) the freeholder is the council and there is a full planning permission in place, so I am assuming the freeholder / council is aware of the extension. The freeholder (the council) is responsible for maintaining the structure of the building and external/shared area. I will check with the solicitor if the lease variations are needed to reflect the extension


  • eddddy
    eddddy Posts: 16,141
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    JK4158 said:

    The freeholder (the council) is responsible for maintaining the structure of the building and external/shared area. 

    Just to clarify...
    • The council would have been responsible for maintaining the structure of the original building
    • The cost of maintaining the structure of the original building would have been split across the leaseholders (e.g. If there was 3 flats in the building, they might have to pay 1/3rd each)

    But.... if a leaseholder builds an extension
    • The council won't be responsible for maintaining the structure of the extension - unless the council agree to take over responsibility
    • The other leaseholders can't be forced (and would probably refuse) to contribute to the costs of maintaining the extension. They won't agree to spending extra money on maintaining an extension which they can't use.


    JK4158 said:

    Thanksfully(?) the freeholder is the council and there is a full planning permission in place, so I am assuming the freeholder / council is aware of the extension. 


    I suspect the council as freeholder would be very pedantic about insisting that the leaseholder obtains the correct planning consent and building regs. But I guess it's still worth double checking.

    But don't assume that different council departments talk to each other. Just because the council is the freeholder - it doesn't mean they talk to the planning department or building control department about the property.

  • Doozergirl
    Doozergirl Posts: 33,718
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    edited 25 November 2023 at 11:23PM
    FYI, building control documents are not in the public domain so you will not have access to the documentation other than the completion certificate. That's perfectly normal.  

    If gas works were carried out as part of the extension then they will be covered by the building regulations certificate but there should also be a separate Gas Safe cert for it which BV would have requested - again, that's only if works directly to do with gas were carried out, otherwise there's no need.  

    Surveys do not cover gas and electrical installations so if you want something checking on that front, you need to organise separate checks by someone qualified to do so; surveyors are not qualified.  

    The building control certificate doesn't cover the whole dwelling, just the new works, so there's no reason why not to have a survey.  


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