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    • Amosh
    • By Amosh 12th Oct 18, 1:44 PM
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    Amosh
    Buying old loft conversion without regs
    • #1
    • 12th Oct 18, 1:44 PM
    Buying old loft conversion without regs 12th Oct 18 at 1:44 PM
    Hi everyone!

    I've looked at multiple people asking similar questions to this, but not one that's really the same situation. Me and my partner are in the process of buying a house and just about to sign contracts ready for exchange, but the question about building regulations for an old attic conversion has only just been answered.

    So the loft was converted during the early 90's with the installation of a velux window, but access was still left as a hatch ladder. It looks like the vendor has used it as some sort of storage space with very occasional use as a hobby room. However we have no plans for it and will only use it for light storage.

    We now know that there are no building regs associated with the conversion, and since it was done over 20 years ago it is out of the enforcement period, so the vendor will not provide indemnity insurance or apply for inspection for building regularisation.

    This leaves us with a bit of a dilemma, since we'll only use it for light storage, I'm not too concerned about regs for floor strength etc, but since there's no regs for the window then that could bring in to question the strength of the window/roof, but it has been fine for the last 20+ years, so would this gamble be enough for some people. Finally does anyone think this would cause too many problems for future selling or any insurance issues etc?

    Sorry for the long message, been in touch with Building Control (staying anonymous to them) and solicitors and there's been no straight answer so we just keep going around in circles!

    Thanks for any info and help!!!
Page 1
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 12th Oct 18, 1:47 PM
    • 5,064 Posts
    • 7,599 Thanks
    Cakeguts
    • #2
    • 12th Oct 18, 1:47 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Oct 18, 1:47 PM
    Have you had a survey done? What does that say about the window and the roof?
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 12th Oct 18, 1:49 PM
    • 11,117 Posts
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    lincroft1710
    • #3
    • 12th Oct 18, 1:49 PM
    • #3
    • 12th Oct 18, 1:49 PM
    Apart from the Velux window, what other alterations have been made?
    • Amosh
    • By Amosh 12th Oct 18, 1:52 PM
    • 7 Posts
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    Amosh
    • #4
    • 12th Oct 18, 1:52 PM
    • #4
    • 12th Oct 18, 1:52 PM
    Have you had a survey done? What does that say about the window and the roof?
    Originally posted by Cakeguts
    We had a homebuyer report conducted so not a structural survey, but they stated that the boarding of the loft space has hidden much of the construction so inspection was limitied, however it stated no other issue related to them
    Last edited by Amosh; 12-10-2018 at 2:05 PM.
    • Amosh
    • By Amosh 12th Oct 18, 1:54 PM
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    Amosh
    • #5
    • 12th Oct 18, 1:54 PM
    • #5
    • 12th Oct 18, 1:54 PM
    Apart from the Velux window, what other alterations have been made?
    Originally posted by lincroft1710
    The loft was lined and boarded, one velux installed, storage cupboards created in the eaves and the expansions tanks for the CH system were boarded off, but that appears to be it
    Last edited by Amosh; 12-10-2018 at 2:04 PM.
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 12th Oct 18, 2:59 PM
    • 11,117 Posts
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    lincroft1710
    • #6
    • 12th Oct 18, 2:59 PM
    • #6
    • 12th Oct 18, 2:59 PM
    What is important is, if any parts of the roof trusses were removed without suitable strengthening. Also that the aperture for the Velux was properly formed.

    The answers to your next questions are that it may be easy to see if parts of the trusses have been removed, it may not be easy to see if they have been strengthened.
    • Amosh
    • By Amosh 12th Oct 18, 3:31 PM
    • 7 Posts
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    Amosh
    • #7
    • 12th Oct 18, 3:31 PM
    • #7
    • 12th Oct 18, 3:31 PM
    What is important is, if any parts of the roof trusses were removed without suitable strengthening. Also that the aperture for the Velux was properly formed.

    The answers to your next questions are that it may be easy to see if parts of the trusses have been removed, it may not be easy to see if they have been strengthened.
    Originally posted by lincroft1710
    Okay thanks, but I'm guessing there's no way of knowing without a structural survey.

    I think the main question is whether this is a make or break situation and whether we should continue with the purchase. We wouldn't necessarily be able to afford any roof issue were some to occur, but on the other hand we could risk it by proceeding with the purchase and gamble on the fact that if its still standing after 20+ years, then it should hopefully have no problems in our hands.

    Just don't know what to think!
    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 12th Oct 18, 4:33 PM
    • 3,007 Posts
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    ReadingTim
    • #8
    • 12th Oct 18, 4:33 PM
    • #8
    • 12th Oct 18, 4:33 PM
    Okay thanks, but I'm guessing there's no way of knowing without a structural survey.

    I think the main question is whether this is a make or break situation and whether we should continue with the purchase. We wouldn't necessarily be able to afford any roof issue were some to occur, but on the other hand we could risk it by proceeding with the purchase and gamble on the fact that if its still standing after 20+ years, then it should hopefully have no problems in our hands.

    Just don't know what to think!
    Originally posted by Amosh
    And that in a nutshell, is it. Having evidence from 20 years ago that certain administrative steps were taken in respect of the conversion offers only limited assurance that it won't fall down 2 decades later, given all of the things which could have potentially happened in the intervening period. But the fact that it hasn't fallen down in that time offers a fair indication that it's unlikely to spontaneously collapse now.

    The only way to get a more accurate view would be to pay for a full structural survey, but again, that will only indicate what has happened, or what's likely to happen as a result of the conversion - but it can't guarantee that it won't cause any problems down the line.

    So ultimately, you simply have to take a view. Your money, your choice. Heads you do, tails you don't, if you must. (other decision making devices are available, such as phone a friend or ask the audience).

    The only thing to be aware of is that unless you provide indemnity insurance or apply for inspection for building regularisation when you're selling it, your buyer will have to go through exactly the same though process, which could cause those of a more nervous disposition to get cold feet....
    • Amosh
    • By Amosh 12th Oct 18, 6:36 PM
    • 7 Posts
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    Amosh
    • #9
    • 12th Oct 18, 6:36 PM
    • #9
    • 12th Oct 18, 6:36 PM
    And that in a nutshell, is it. Having evidence from 20 years ago that certain administrative steps were taken in respect of the conversion offers only limited assurance that it won't fall down 2 decades later, given all of the things which could have potentially happened in the intervening period. But the fact that it hasn't fallen down in that time offers a fair indication that it's unlikely to spontaneously collapse now.

    The only way to get a more accurate view would be to pay for a full structural survey, but again, that will only indicate what has happened, or what's likely to happen as a result of the conversion - but it can't guarantee that it won't cause any problems down the line.

    So ultimately, you simply have to take a view. Your money, your choice. Heads you do, tails you don't, if you must. (other decision making devices are available, such as phone a friend or ask the audience).

    The only thing to be aware of is that unless you provide indemnity insurance or apply for inspection for building regularisation when you're selling it, your buyer will have to go through exactly the same though process, which could cause those of a more nervous disposition to get cold feet....
    Originally posted by ReadingTim

    Thank you very much for that, been quite reassuring, but seems like we have a nice weekend of decision making. If only there was a 50:50 lifeline to remove one of the options
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 12th Oct 18, 8:14 PM
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    Doozergirl
    This isn't a loft conversion, it's the insertion of window in the roof.

    There is a point about whether a purlin has been cut through, but after 20 years I'd fully expect to see a sagging to the roof if that were the case.

    Even when lofts are boarded, the purlins are usually visible, especially if there is no insulation.

    If concerned, then it's a quick look over by a structural engineer. If one has a decent survey then I'd expect them to spot roof sag.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 12th Oct 18, 8:21 PM
    • 3,007 Posts
    • 4,457 Thanks
    ReadingTim
    Thank you very much for that, been quite reassuring, but seems like we have a nice weekend of decision making. If only there was a 50:50 lifeline to remove one of the options
    Originally posted by Amosh
    what, like a coin (heads or tails), a pack of cards (red or black) or a dice (odds, evens). Grow a pair and chose yes or no - it's really not that hard.
    • Amosh
    • By Amosh 12th Oct 18, 9:30 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Amosh
    This isn't a loft conversion, it's the insertion of window in the roof.

    There is a point about whether a purlin has been cut through, but after 20 years I'd fully expect to see a sagging to the roof if that were the case.

    Even when lofts are boarded, the purlins are usually visible, especially if there is no insulation.

    If concerned, then it's a quick look over by a structural engineer. If one has a decent survey then I'd expect them to spot roof sag.
    Originally posted by Doozergirl

    Thank you for your thoughts and advice. I would agree that it's only the installation of the window that is the issue really, but I think the confusion about being a conversion comes in as it has been boarded and seems to be plastered along with having power sockets put up there, so I suppose it's like a half conversion really.

    I think we are leaning towards the other points you highlighted though, the roof doesn't appear to be sagging and there was no mention of it in the survey, which after 20+ years I'd probably say wouldn't pose an issue, although we may entertain a survey in future if it comes to selling, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

    Cheers again for the help!
    • Amosh
    • By Amosh 12th Oct 18, 9:32 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Amosh
    what, like a coin (heads or tails), a pack of cards (red or black) or a dice (odds, evens). Grow a pair and chose yes or no - it's really not that hard.
    Originally posted by ReadingTim
    I was just keeping up with your 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' references, but thank you for the condescension.

    Anyway thank you for your previous comments.
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