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      08-21-2012, 09:24 AM   #1
BanziBarn
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Loft Extension - building regs

Hi All,

I'm considering getting a conversion to my 30s 3 bed semi.

I have a question about building regs.

I have a 4m long conservatory (built 10 years ago by the previous owner with no planning permission) on the back of the house, which can be shut off from the house, but only by internal style doors.

As far as I know, planning permission wise I'm safe as it's been there long enough, but if I get a loft conversions, will they require me to put external doors in to shut the conservatory off?

Building regs may not have required this 10 years ago, but if you have building work done, my understanding is that current regs get applied to the whole house, hence the need for fire doors throughout and mains supplied fire alarms.

Any advice is appreciated!

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      08-21-2012, 09:27 AM   #2
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Are you sure you need fire doors and alarms in a domestic premises?

We're just starting a conservatory this week - it's 4m x 4m so planning permission is not required. We're "supposed" to keep the external door but I doubt we will. Who would ever know?
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      08-21-2012, 09:40 AM   #3
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Yep, sure about the doors and alarms.

Does the building inspector not need to come and sign off your new conservatory?

Also, when you sell the house it could be an issue if the buyer has a good solicitor.

I went to see a house once where the original doors were in the shed and the cheapest of the cheapest of fire doors were in place in order than they could sell it (house had a loft extension) - but they made no secret of the fact that you would just swap the nice doors back on once the sale went through.

EDIT: isn't the permitted development for a conservatory 3m, not 4m?
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      08-21-2012, 09:42 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BanziBarn View Post
Does the building inspector not need to come and sign off your new conservatory?
Not that I know of.
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      08-21-2012, 09:49 AM   #5
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You'll probably be fine then, but be careful when you sell, or if you have an extension that needs permission as the building regs guy will need to come, and may notice.... which is the issue I'm wondering about.

It's all a bit complicated, I think I need to
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      08-21-2012, 09:57 AM   #6
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I definitely do NOT need planning permission, I already checked with the council and it's within the maximum permitted size - building regs I'm not sure of.

Where do you have to fit fire doors / alarms?
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      08-21-2012, 09:57 AM   #7
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Check this mini guide out Xenon - although sounds like it's too late anyway

http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/per...ries/miniguide

It says that for the conservatory to not need planning permission it must be 3M or less in length - yours is 4M right, like mine?

For it not to need Building regs it needs to comply with the following:

1.They are built at ground level and are less than 30 square metres in floor area.
2.The conservatory is separated from the house by external quality walls, doors or windows.
3.There should be an independent heating system with separate temperature and on/off controls.
4.Glazing and any fixed electrical installations comply with the applicable building regulations requirements (see below).

You are advised not to construct conservatories where they will restrict ladder access to windows serving rooms in roof or loft conversions, particularly if any of the windows are intended to help escape or rescue if there is a fire.

Any new structural opening between the conservatory and the existing house will require building regulations approval, even if the conservatory itself is an exempt structure.
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      08-21-2012, 09:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BanziBarn View Post
I went to see a house once where the original doors were in the shed and the cheapest of the cheapest of fire doors were in place in order than they could sell it (house had a loft extension) - but they made no secret of the fact that you would just swap the nice doors back on once the sale went through
Our old next door neighbour had their loft converted making their terrace three floors. A fire door was required on the ground floor so if a fire started in eg the kitchen they could exit from upstairs safely out of the back door. It looked dreadful and with the new frame just took up too much space so after the inspection the door lived down the side of the shed.

Thinking about it I wonder what the insurance implications would be? I'll bet it's like mods on your car, the insurance company would wriggle out of paying up. Wouldn't have to be anything serious, maybe just some smoke damage that travels through the house. No risk to life and limb but to put right.
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      08-21-2012, 10:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xenon View Post
I definitely do NOT need planning permission, I already checked with the council and it's within the maximum permitted size - building regs I'm not sure of.

Where do you have to fit fire doors / alarms?
With a loft extension, you need to have all the doors in the house changed to fire doors. RE: the alarms, one on each floor I think.

My worry is that if they are coming to inspect the house with regards to the fire doors, they may then see my conservatory and make me stick external doors in which will cost loads as I'll want bi-folding!
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      08-21-2012, 10:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BanziBarn View Post
It says that for the conservatory to not need planning permission it must be 3M or less in length - yours is 4M right, like mine?
I'd seen that, thanks. It's 4m for a detached house (which mine is); 3m for a semi / terrace.

So I'm all OK I think. The builder reckons you can get external quality uPVC doors that look "internal".
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      08-21-2012, 10:02 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BanziBarn View Post
1.They are built at ground level and are less than 30 square metres in floor area.
xenon's is only 4x4.
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      08-21-2012, 10:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rich1068 View Post
Our old next door neighbour had their loft converted making their terrace three floors. A fire door was required on the ground floor so if a fire started in eg the kitchen they could exit from upstairs safely out of the back door. It looked dreadful and with the new frame just took up too much space so after the inspection the door lived down the side of the shed.

Thinking about it I wonder what the insurance implications would be? I'll bet it's like mods on your car, the insurance company would wriggle out of paying up. Wouldn't have to be anything serious, maybe just some smoke damage that travels through the house. No risk to life and limb but to put right.
Good point about insurance. I think I'm just going to get decent 30s looking fire doors so I can keep the nice look, but be compliant. They have to be self closing though which is a pain. I'm sure I'll end up propping them open which again would probably have insurance implications!
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      08-21-2012, 10:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rich1068 View Post
xenon's is only 4x4.
Yeah, but the mini guide says no more than 4M out form the house! It's all very confusing, and open to interpretation!

But as long as the council says it ok, then it's fine, although I'd probably want it in writing.
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      08-21-2012, 10:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Yeah, but the mini guide says no more than 4M out form the house!
It won't be - it's 4m out and 4m across, on a detached.
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      08-21-2012, 10:28 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xenon View Post
It won't be - it's 4m out and 4m across, on a detached.
You're quite right - I can't read Mine's 4M on a semi so that wouldn't comply now - I wonder if it was allowed 10 years ago?

The question still remains though regarding the building regs and the possibility I might get shafted on my conservatory doors.......Anyone have any ideas?
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      08-21-2012, 10:32 AM   #16
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I think you're just going to have to wing it - if an inspector insists cross the bridge at that time.
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      08-21-2012, 10:39 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xenon View Post
I think you're just going to have to wing it - if an inspector insists cross the bridge at that time.

I think you're right!
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