Feb 13th Insurance, Warranties and Building Regs

LSB

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We now have all our conditions discharged and agreed and can start to plan the real deal this year.

Our build is a Class Q barn conversion, which like lots of people on this forum is going to be an almost total DIY job, partly out of satisfaction and wanting to know everything is done right, but in all honesty also due to a rather restricted budget.

 

We had an architect draw a set of original plans (no measurements) and submit for planning, refused, we paid another few thousand to do the same thing again, refused. 

Part of the refusal, in both cases, was due to some reports not included.  When discussing this the architect said that we shouldn't have to submit, such as ecology and if the LPA wants them then they should permit with conditions.  Maybe this is correct, but I said let's do them anyway and the architect pretty much said no it was a waste of money.  So, end of relationship.

 

So, I went ahead, got all the requested surveys myself and I then personally submitted with my own planning statement, we had approval in 5 weeks.

 

Since then I've been muddling along getting the conditions discharged and creating a huge spreadsheet of every material cost I can imagine, this came out @ 169k.

 

But, what now?

 

Now we are planning for the physical stuff I decided that I should look at insurance and warranty.

But, I was surprised to find that, apart from sqm, it's also based on build time.

As we don't have a definite figure, but know it is going to be a labour of part-time love it is likely to be 5+ years.  This means that the insurance & warranty quotes are coming in at many 1,000's.

I understand that this is because they are covering us for years, but it still seems very high.

 

I know circumstances change, but there are a number of reasons why I'm not sure I want to pay about 5k for the warranty because of the slow build time.

1. The general opinion is that they are not very keen to pay out.

2. As we are doing all the work ourselves will this even be covered, the only external tasks are going to be a small amount of electrical and plumbing.  If we build a wall, and do it wrong, we are not going to try and claim on any warranty.

3. We have no intention of moving within 10 years

4. Currently, there seems to be a total lack of competition, Protek are out of the game for the next few months, that leaves Buildstore who can pretty much charge anything.

I'm probably not seeing the bigger picture.

 

Building Regs:

I've ready about these and know what regs we need to meet, but I don't understand how to do BR plans, what are these, what do they include and under normal circumstances who would do these.

Do, I need another architect, a Structural Engineer or can I do these myself, I've never even seen any.  On our previous renovation projects this has been organised by our main contractors.

I'm no engineer, but I'm pretty good a calculations.

 

The other big question is, what needs to be inspected.  Some months ago, I spoke to the LA building officer and he said because we have to use our existing walls then he doesn't need to do any foundation checks.  But we only have 3 walls, so what about the new one.  

Also, due to a low roof height we are digging out the floor to allow depth for slab and UFH.  Should I be explaining all this and then having the existing walls checked in case of anything that needs underpinning.  At the moment there is a floating floor on top of the original base, who knows why (maybe the pigs liked it), but it means we don't know much about the foundations.  The SE checked the foundations on the outside when he did the structural survey for the planning.

 

Our interior layout has changed since our original plan, the external ones must stay as they are.  I spoke to the LPA and they basically said, do what you want inside as long as the external dimensions don't change from the plans.

 

Can anyone help, tell me what they did etc on this so we can try and progress when it's not so freezing and covered in snow.

 

Thanks

 

 

 

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Currently, there seems to be a total lack of competition, Protek are out of the game for the next few months, that leaves Buildstore who can pretty much charge anything.

 

I am in the process of getting a structural warranty and am also looking at LABC and buildzone (https://www.build-zone.com/), maybe worth giving them a try

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Regarding Building Control.. Its best to document all communications. Eg after a call follow it up with an email or letter confirming what actions were agreed and who would do them. Same for any site visits.. what actions were agreed and when you should call him next.

 

I would invite him to inspect the foundation trench for the new wall.

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Isn’t there a planning condition which states that it needs to be completed within 3 years ? 
it sound like you may be best getting and Architect to do the building regs drawings and submit an application. 

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12 hours ago, Jason L said:

Isn’t there a planning condition which states that it needs to be completed within 3 years ? 
it sound like you may be best getting and Architect to do the building regs drawings and submit an application. 

The build needs to start within 3 years, nothing about finishing

I have submitted the CIL commencement notification, to make sure it is done.

 

The reason I was trying to avoid an architect is because we parted company with the original one and getting another one to start from scratch will be very expensive as he will do drawings from scratch.  I'm sure I will have to, but trying to avoid more expense that doesn't actually build anything.

Edited by LSB

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12 hours ago, Russell griffiths said:

You don’t need s warranty unless you have a mortgage. 

We don't have a mortgage, but if we do have to sell within 10 years the buyer may need one and then that will require a warranty.

 

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15 minutes ago, LSB said:

We don't have a mortgage, but if we do have to sell within 10 years the buyer may need one and then that will require a warranty.

 

 

you can get a retrospective structural warranty, as long as you get it before the house isn't over 10 years old

 

https://buildsafe.co.uk/completed-house-warranty/

 

if you don't have to have a mortgage i would just crack on without one, and if you have to sell within 10 years get a retrospective structural warranty.

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1 hour ago, LSB said:

We don't have a mortgage, but if we do have to sell within 10 years the buyer may need one and then that will require a warranty.

 

So you take out one when that situation arises. Keep the money in your pocket, you might not sell in 10 years. 

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Protek will be back in the game in April witha much higher capacity for policies. 

 

Also you onmy need that warranty of you will remortgage within the ten years. If not..then absolutely don't bother. 

 

 

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If this is under class q, the legislation states (my emphasis)

 

"(3) Development under Class Q is permitted subject to the condition that development under Class Q(a), and under Class Q(b), if any, must be completed within a period of 3 years starting with the prior approval date."

 

This is the law, so will not be a planning condition.

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I think that might be the only place in planning law where a completion time limit is specified? Are there any others?

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@Mr PunterPunterPunterPunPunterPunterPunter (this is a mobile bug it seems. It keeps coming back even when I delete it)

 

You might find that the letter of class q 'approval' from the council says 'started from' instead of 'completed by'. Whether or not this is deliberate, and whether it gives you legal cover to run over the 3 years, I don't know. Naively I'd assume if it's an official letter from the council then you'd be ok, even if it was their mistake. Would be interesting to check other class q approval letters from the same office.

 

TBH it's possibly a mistake in the legislation, from memory I think there's something else in it that looks like an error. Interesting to know if it's ever been challenged.

Edited by kxi

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25 minutes ago, Temp said:

I think that might be the only place in planning law where a completion time limit is specified? Are there any others?

 

The office to resi pd is the same.  You have 3 years to complete it.

 

Here is someone looking at a class q where the time limit has expired:

 

 

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Interesting to note the 3 year time limit in theory massively limits the practicality of 'selling on' a barn with class Q. Perhaps this was what was intended, and I don't know to what extent this aspect of class Q is just ignored by planning enforcers as an unreasonable condition.

 

In 2020 one of Martin Goodall's blog comment replies on this issue was he would expect a conversion well underway by the 3 year mark might technically be unlawful if not complete, but in his view a council should 'reasonably' grant retrospective full planning if it ever came to it.

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59 minutes ago, kxi said:

Interesting to note the 3 year time limit in theory massively limits the practicality of 'selling on' a barn with class Q. Perhaps this was what was intended, and I don't know to what extent this aspect of class Q is just ignored by planning enforcers as an unreasonable condition.

 

In 2020 one of Martin Goodall's blog comment replies on this issue was he would expect a conversion well underway by the 3 year mark might technically be unlawful if not complete, but in his view a council should 'reasonably' grant retrospective full planning if it ever came to it.

 

It is very important that @LSB understands that their development MUST BE COMPLETED by 7 July 2023.  They are suggesting it may take 5 years plus.  They may want to contact their planning department to confirm.

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21 minutes ago, Mr Punter said:

 

It is very important that @LSB understands that their development MUST BE COMPLETED by 7 July 2023.  They are suggesting it may take 5 years plus.  They may want to contact their planning department to confirm.

I have just re-read my PD approval and not only does it not mention starting within 3 years, it certainly doesn't mention finishing within any period of time.

Therefore, thank you for your concern and advice, but I shall not take too much notice.

It our LPA should decide to comment at any point in the future then I shall ask them where this is included in my PD approval and in the worse case scenario submit a retrospective application.

I follow local planning very closely, particularly class Q, and have been doing so for a couple of years as part of trying to get my planning and have never seen this clause anywhere.

 

I  have a friend who started their barn conversion 20 years ago, and do a very small amount each year, and unlike me they are on a main road with close neighbours.

We have only one enforcement officer for the whole of our LPA, I used to work with her, and she only investigates anything when she receives multiple complaints, simply due to the volume of work.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, LSB said:

I have just re-read my PD approval and not only does it not mention starting within 3 years, it certainly doesn't mention finishing within any period of time.

Therefore, thank you for your concern and advice, but I shall not take too much notice.

It our LPA should decide to comment at any point in the future then I shall ask them where this is included in my PD approval and in the worse case scenario submit a retrospective application.

I follow local planning very closely, particularly class Q, and have been doing so for a couple of years as part of trying to get my planning and have never seen this clause anywhere.

 

I  have a friend who started their barn conversion 20 years ago, and do a very small amount each year, and unlike me they are on a main road with close neighbours.

We have only one enforcement officer for the whole of our LPA, I used to work with her, and she only investigates anything when she receives multiple complaints, simply due to the volume of work.

 

I am afraid you are mistaken.  The approval will not contain a condition on completion as that is taken care of in the law.  If you don't believe me, ask a planning officer or planning consultant.

 

With normal planning consent (not class q) you can take as long as you like, which is what your friend did.

 

Please get proper advice on this as it could cause massive pain later.

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15 hours ago, LSB said:

I have just re-read my PD approval and not only does it not mention starting within 3 years, it certainly doesn't mention finishing within any period of time.

Therefore, thank you for your concern and advice, but I shall not take too much notice.

There have been several prior approval applications for Class Q GPDO around here where it's quite relaxed and depending on your LPA you might get away with the Class Q conversion taking more than three years but I wouldn't rely on that. It's clear in the regulations that if a Class Q prior notification application is approved the applicant has three years to complete the conversion. With a planning permission the applicant has 3 years in which to start the conversion and once started can take as long as it takes to complete it. A full planning application would assist overcoming this strict and very tight build schedule but could be more hassle.

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14 hours ago, Mr Punter said:

 

I am afraid you are mistaken.  The approval will not contain a condition on completion as that is taken care of in the law.  If you don't believe me, ask a planning officer or planning consultant.

 

With normal planning consent (not class q) you can take as long as you like, which is what your friend did.

 

Please get proper advice on this as it could cause massive pain later.

Hi Punter

Thanks for this, I will definitely check with the LPA, but just to clarify my friend's is also a barn conversion, the only difference is that when she got planning class Q didn't exist as it does now.

 

I have now emailed my LPA to get their stance on this and will post my findings when they respond, which could be some time as they are all WFH.

 

 

Edited by LSB

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3 minutes ago, LSB said:

Hi Punter

Thanks for this, I will check with the LPA, but just to clarify my friend's is also a barn conversion, the only difference is that when she got planning class Q didn't exist as it does now.

 

Yes, with normal planning consent, once you start it is locked in forever.  With class q it must be completed within 3 years.

 

Now you have the class q it may be that your council would look favourably at a full planning application, so you could just do the work in your own time.

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7 minutes ago, Mr Punter said:

 

Yes, with normal planning consent, once you start it is locked in forever.  With class q it must be completed within 3 years.

 

Now you have the class q it may be that your council would look favourably at a full planning application, so you could just do the work in your own time.

I wish, I spoke to the LPA about that previously and they said absolutely no chance as it will count as a new house in the countryside.

It would be so much easier to knock the barn down and build a new house.

 

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So, I've spoken to the LPA, Punter is correct, but it turns out we are fine, thankfully.

Although I said we expect to take up to 5 years, we are planning on getting the barn water tight this year with first / second fix next year.

It is only the internal decoration that is likely to take up to 5 years and the LPA said that's not a problem, the time is just for the building to be habitable and signed off.  We only have to have bathroom / kitchen / bedroom / living area for that, the spare bedrooms 2nd bathroom etc. can take longer.

 

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That is great news.  I did wonder what constituted finished.  I have only done an office to resi and it only took a year.  Make sure you in writing EXACTLY what is required so you don't get any nasty surprises.  They may want you paying council tax or have insurance or building regs completion or whatever.  Once you have in writing what is needed you can relax (but only a bit!).

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12 hours ago, Mr Punter said:

That is great news.  I did wonder what constituted finished.  I have only done an office to resi and it only took a year.  Make sure you in writing EXACTLY what is required so you don't get any nasty surprises.  They may want you paying council tax or have insurance or building regs completion or whatever.  Once you have in writing what is needed you can relax (but only a bit!).

We plan to move in as soon as we have enough rooms completed, then rent out our house to pay for the rest to be finished.  Although we may lose out on some VAT reclaim this is when we will request our completion certificate.  All the structural work will be done and things like mist coats, just not the final finishes, some floors etc.  It will be finished from the structural purposes so LPA are happy, they said the inside is just like when anyone decorates.  We also have to consider CGT on this house, but don't want to sell if we an avoid it.

 

Thanks for your advice, there is so much to consider when building aside from the physical build.

 

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