kxi

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  1. For the Class Q approval I don't recall being required to have a contamination report, and checking now I see the planning consultant addressed this like this: In the planning officer's report they said: "The council's environmental health officers have been consulted and raise no objection. From the planning history there appears to be no historic uses which may give rise to concern'" I suspect a high % of class Q barns involve an asbestos fibre cement roof. Ours had a 385m2 1960s asbestos roof that was removed by a demolition contractor experienced with this, but not a specialist asbestos remover. If you don't know the full history of the property you may want a contamination survey done for your own sake in any case.
  2. Had me worried there, but checking the conversion VAT reclaim form I think confirms it, and the point about whether a conversion for relatives also qualifies. But this is my naïve interpretation and best to get it checked. Can you reclaim VAT on self-build conversion invoices charged at reduced rate? This implies that you can claim refund on reduced VAT rate work, if that rate was charged on the invoice. Can you reclaim VAT on self-build conversion for your parents? Both from the VAT431C form https://www.gov.uk/vat-building-new-home/how-to-claim https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/828048/VAT431C_form_and_notes__1_.pdf
  3. @Ali F Labour-only and supply and fit work carried out by others on your conversion may also qualify for 5% VAT, as discussed in: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/buildings-and-construction-vat-notice-708#section7 https://www.self-build.co.uk/our-guide-claiming-back-vat-self-build/ etc You can claim all the VAT back anyway at the end anyway (assuming you qualify etc), but paying only 5% VAT upfront rather than 20% helps your cashflow during the build and reduces the 'risk' you have stored up with HMRC. We've found so far that all contractors have been happy to charge only 5%, provided we sent them the right bits of paper & links justifying it before they sent any invoices. Make sure the service is one that qualifies for a reduced VAT rate (and ultimate refund) first though. See the link in the HMRC guidance about this. E.g. 'Professional services' such as architects don't qualify, neither does scaffolding. But things like demolition, groundwork, building, etc do. CIL is important to establish as it can be expensive or it can be nothing. From what I remember, I think even self-build conversions under Class Q can be liable where 'new' floorspace is created, but it's worth checking in detail and then confirming in writing with the council (IF CIL applies at your council).
  4. We've got a largish area of concrete slab to do - some farm roadway, some barn floor, some house ground floor slab. All had been SE designed for 200mm concrete with two layers of A393 steel mesh top and bottom, with 400mm edge thickenings where appropriate. This I felt was likely overdoing it, but that seems to be par for the course. Ground is clay and hoggin, then some crushed concrete over that, then 50mm concrete blinding. There was going to be a large steel reinforcement cost for material + labour, and I've a general concern about the longevity of external concrete with steel reinforcement. Over a 60 year lifespan it will inevitably crack (if not immediately), water will get in and the steel start to blow it up. (Discussed at length in previous post). So I'd been keen on using basalt fibre reinforcement (that's bars - not the little fibres) instead, aka BFRP. These: - Are actually a bit cheaper than the A393 steel for an equivalent tensile strength (6mm bars) - Are MUCH lighter and easier to cut, in theory giving a big labour saving. (Each A393 sheet being about 70kg vs the basalt fibre sheet I'd guess 10kg-ish) - Never corrode The SE has given his tentative blessing, but groundworkers fairly unsure about how they would work with this bendy stuff, as they need to be able to walk on it, and run concrete pump pipe over it. So I made up some example sheets and laid in the proposed build-up - about a 100mm spacing between top and bottom sheets. (This was a test - for real would use the ready-made sheets) Then tried to walk on it: https://photos.app.goo.gl/PwYGDXyaBew13oR76 As you can see, even at light foot pressure it bends all the way to the floor, then springs back up. Meaning to walk on it you've either got to step on it all the way down OR only walk on fully supported parts, perhaps using boards over the top. Has anyone ever worked with such bendy stuff e.g. GFRP reinforcement bars? Any suggestions of the best way to handle the requirement to be able to walk on it? N.b. BFRP supplied by Chris H at Orlitech https://orlitech.co.uk/
  5. 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.
  6. @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.
  7. @Tobster My advice as a fellow class Q'er is: 1 Put back as much of the original structure as you intended to re-use ASAP - but it sounds like you have done this already. 2 Stop all other work completely and notify the council as they have asked. 3 Document everything with extensive photos and collect all photos that you have. (Continuously) 4 Get legal planning advice. A planning consultant might be a start (you may have already used one to get the class Q?) but you may need something more serious like a lawyer with expertise in planning. We used Keystone Law for a tricky moment we had, who are Martin Goodall's firm (of http://planninglawblog.blogspot.com/ fame). This will for sure be expensive, but I suspect much less expensive than writing off your initial planning & conversion work or deciding to do something totally different. Of course there's no guarantee of success, but given that you didn't 'completely demolish' the agricultural building and never intended to, it sounds like all may not be lost. A reasonable person should see there is in practical terms no ultimate difference between a) leaving the frame structure totally in situ the whole time, and b) temporarily moving bits of the frame then putting it back. The resulting building is exactly the same either way. The council will want to comply with the letter of the law, and have already shown somewhat in your favour by granting the 'permission' in the first place. I.e. they felt your application met the class Q criteria. If your red text above is an exact quote, it would seem the council are factually incorrect about the concrete slabs at least and as such can reasonably say they made an error based on bad information. The wording of that red text "as a result, it appears..." allows a clear walk-back of their position. Good luck. At least you now know by which neighbour's house you can position any future incinerator, manure heap, etc.
  8. @Jaqueslecont did the consultant give a view on the viability of a class Q application? The barn is of sturdy concrete frame construction and AFAIK there's nothing in class Q about a floor. Probably 99% of class Q buildings would need a new floor. There have likely been similar buildings approved for class Q, though perhaps would have had some brick or concrete infill between the columns. Perhaps you could ask the consultant about the chances for class Q if the farmer were to do some minor renovation to their barn before any class Q application was made? Again - do not speak to the local planners. Class Q avoids all these issues of the local Lord maybe being able to see your washing line if he stands on his grade 1 rooftop with a telescope. There is perhaps the issue of the frame. Those type of buildings were likely not designed to last for long and you might want to get professional advice on its likely lifespan. I guess once a house, the concrete would be much more protected and so increase its life? You might also have an issue with insulation under class Q since you'd want that on the outside, thus fractionally increasing the built volume. One possible approach is to get class Q and then having established the principal of a dwelling you make a full application for some things that would make it 'better'. Having class Q IS a material consideration in a full planning application, so they are required to then explain why the class Q version is preferable to the full version you propose. There's also the paragraph 55/79 approach but that's very expensive.
  9. kxi

    Portal Frame House

    Hello, only just got initial costing for these. Expensive. Estimated price is £7,000 for about 24 x 50mm thick armatherm FRR pads. So £350 per pad. Seems *quite* a lot. This was an estimated price from the steel frame supplier. Our building is unusual in that it has so many, so would be less of a cost in something more a normal shape.
  10. @Jaqueslecont Yes no walls is usually a problem for class Q, following the Hibbitt high court decision. Best bet is to ask a local planning consultant and NOT the local planning office. The local planning office will almost certainly say no to anything you suggest and may then use your discussion with them against you in future. You may find the council has online guidance on class Q, and past decision notices will also give a guide. Martin Goodall's planning law blog is good though can be hard going. Refusal based on car usage is classic. Because of course no-one within settlement boundaries ever uses their car...
  11. kxi

    Portal Frame House

    Just came across this kingspan case study using insulated sandwich panels on a French house, which I'm pretty sure is the first use of them on a purpose-built detached single dwelling I've ever seen https://www.kingspan.com/gb/en-gb/products/architectural-facade-systems/case-studies/maison-if Visually I'm sure it's not to everyone's taste, but a bold choice. Intersting that kingspan seem to be marketing it, suggesting they see potential in the residential market.
  12. kxi

    Portal Frame House

    @PDR checking notes, it looks like the SE was slightly keener on precast than metal deck for the 5m spans we needed, in terms of overall weight and and thickness required, so that probably influenced it. Metal deck needed propping for 4 weeks but that wouldn't have been an issue in our case.
  13. kxi

    Portal Frame House

    Ah. I'll be asking you lot of questions then. Yes, that's our plan, but it still leaves a large void (200mm ish?) between the external panels and internal board that I can't help thinking should be better used. 1,000 small cupboards perhaps. There's also the issue of dealing with flanking sound coming through the void between the rooms, so we will either try and bring the stud walls 'into' the void, or stuff it with something at the internal wall junctions. Havn't really though about that yet. Yes, but went with precast for perhaps not good reasons. Our main aim is to reduce head height and with precast I found the 'slim floor' method to sit the precast level with the steel beams. With precast sat on the bottom flange of the beams. e.g. I saw this first with precast and I think the combination stuck with me. A metal deck with cellular beams version: https://www.kloecknermetalsuk.com/westok/products/ultra-shallow-floor-beam/ I think I was keen on precast hollowcore because: - I was (naively) concerned about longevity of a metal deck vs precast i.e. once the exposed metal starts to go, presumably that's it? I suspect this isn't an issue in reality. The first floor will be over an agricultural space but it's unlikely to ever be a corrosive environment like cattle, but precast felt safer. The soffit is in any case covered by 150mm of insulation and fireproofing - It may have been we could get a slightly thinner floor with precast - don't remember - The idea of how hollowcore works was so clever that it was seductive - I never costed the two - had I done so things might have been different, but precast didn't seem so expensive to be a problem That's very helpful thanks, though I think now we mentally switched to the KS1000 DLTR 0.8s we will probably stick with them. We only need light not ventilation. The plan wasn't for regular opening rooflights but for a 1x20m strip of glass roof set above a long corridor. The plan was to use lamilux PR60 glass roof set into the panels for this, but a) expensive b) lots of teeth sucking about how to fit it. There was a solution but no-one was confident (see below) c) big solar gain problem that can't easily be mitigated So we're instead planning on using 6 or so KS1000 DLTR 0.8 panels. You really can't see through them, but they are much cheaper and easier to fit, and have a diffuse light without as much solar gain.
  14. Isn't it a requirement to connect to the mains sewer if any part of the building is within 30m of a mains sewer? This is mentioned on: https://www.wte-ltd.co.uk/septic_tank_general_binding_rules_2020.html https://www.owlshall.co.uk/sewage-treatment/knowledge-base/environment-agency-installation-permission/
  15. @TomBee Hello, sounds great. I would strongly advise not to speak to the council at all until you are much further forward with the project and you know what to say to them. Much better to engage a local planning consultant, ideally one with experience of your kind of situation. There was a long thread about this issue with Sensus a while back, but in summary, it is likely that your council planners will be totally opposed to any rural development at all, and green field development especially. Anything you tell them will likely be used against you to prevent your development. I also suggest not spending time & money on architect concepts until the planning situation has been clarified by the planning consultant. It may be that green field is ultimately not feasible and you have to consider conversation of an existing farm building under class Q. If you have a family farm this sounds like it might in theory be possible, though for sure it's going to be a different proposition than new build in a field. Something like para 79 is also an option but is likely a long and expensive one.