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Sensus last won the day on August 29

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About Sensus

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  • About Me
    Director of a Chartered Architects and Planning Consultancy practice, specialising in residential design & development.
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    Norfolk, South Wales and the South West

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  1. Yes, thanks all. The project in question was for demolition of an existing bungalow and construction of a 4/5 bed house in its place. No current Planning Permission on the site (even at Outline), but despite being in AONB, I don't anticipate that it would be too contentious. Timber frame or SIPs; contemporary design, build budget up to £450K, with the project being managed by either the client or a project manager engaging individual trades. Their expectation/requirement was that they are very close to exchange of contracts and were in a position to appoint ourselves as Architects immediately, but wanted a complete dwelling, ready to move into, by November of next year (so 13 months, basically). My advice was that, even with the Planning being relatively straightforward, this would be extremely challenging and that in reality it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect the process to stretch to more like 2 years, even if they keep a good grip of things. The thing that surprised me - and that prompted me to make the post - was that this is their second self-build... though unfortunately I haven't yet managed to discuss with them the length of time it took for their first!
  2. Section 73A's, for a variety of purposes, are pretty commonplace. Purchaser's solicitors should be picking up Planning Conditions and advising their clients as part of the purchase process. Whether they do - and more importantly, whether purchasers understand the implications of what they're being told - is a different matter.
  3. If it's a listed building everything depends on what the Conservation Officer says you can do. The normal levels of insulation specified in the Building Regulations don't apply, because the Regs specifically exempt historic buildings. Even if the CO allows insulation, we'd also need to know a lot more about the structure of the Listed building. There are a lot of circumstances, for example, where a VCL simply won't work, because you're unable to implement the golden rule that it must be a single continuous layer. In some circumstances, you'd be looking at a breathable limecrete floor on foamed glass or clay aggregate insulation, without any DPM or vapour barrier. In respect of your particular detail, 65-75mm. lime screed on its own isn't going to be enough for a ground bearing floor. You'd need a 150mm. limecrete slab between that and the RFG insulation. The vapour barrier defeats the object of having a breathable limecrete floor, but on the other hand you wouldn't want engineered timber floor without one, since it can only tolerate a very low level of moisture. Depending on the nature of the building, an engineered timber floor covering may be very inauthentic, anyway... historically, solid floors evolved from being rammed earth, through later use of lime screeds, brick or stone flag surfaces. Until relatively recently, suspended timber floors were only ever used where there was some form of basement beneath (and not always, even then). Notwithstanding the above: Why are you indicating 3mm. thickness for the VCL in the floor? This will usually be 1200g. Visqueen (polythene sheet) of negligible thickness (less than 1mm). The note on the screed should read: "...recommended depth from manufacturer"
  4. There is a specific application process to vary or remove a Planning Condition, known as a 'Section 73A'. See information here. However, the basic rule is that a Planning Condition should only be imposed in the first place if (among other things - see the six tests rule) it is necessary to make a proposal acceptable where otherwise it would not be, so your Section 73A application would have to demonstrate what has changed to make the previously applied condition redundant. In terms of the life of Planning permissions overall, basically it would come down to them either being superseded by a later consent, or the use or development to which they relate being abandoned... and the rules for abandonment are another subject in themselves. Yes, usually the 4 year rule will apply (ie. if you can prove that there has been a continuous 4 year breach of the condition, then enforcement action against it is not possible). ... But even then the Condition itself does not drop dead. As I'm sure you're aware, the 4/10 year rule relies upon continuity of the breach. So to use your example - though I appreciate it's not the most likely scenario - your unobscured window becomes 'lawful' after 4 years, but if you were to fit an obscure glazed replacement window, the Condition would 'come back to life' and you would be subject to enforcement action again, were you to later remove the obscure glazing again. The sensible thing to do in such circumstances is to apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness, then once your arse is reliably covered by the CLUED, apply for a Section 73A to permanently remove the condition (using, as justification, the fact that the development had operated successfully without the condition for >4 years, thus proving that the Condition was not necessary in the first place).
  5. I've just had a potential client make the decision to pull out of purchase on a replacement dwelling project, essentially because I expressed the opinion that their aspiration for completion date was unrealistic. I won't say (yet) what their desired timescale was, but out of interest, what is the experience of people on here who have already completed their project? Simple question: how long did it take between exchange of contracts on the plot of your choice, and/or commencement of the formal design process, to actually having a complete dwelling that was ready to live in?
  6. Actually, they do. The obvious question for the OP is what stage are you at with the Planning? If you have yet to submit the application, then note that for it to be procedurally correct (without which, it could later be invalidated even if approved), you will need to serve a Certificate C or D, stating that some the land within the application boundary is in unknown ownership. This will flag the issue up to the Planners, if they are doing their job correctly (it's not unknown for them to miss such stuff, but don't rely on it), and a potentially non-deliverable vis splay is obviously a matter of concern for them... and can be sufficient justification to refuse consent. If you already have Planning permission, then the obvious question is whether you did, in fact, serve the correct Certificate as part of the application. As above; if you didn't, then technically the application was invalid and it is within the Authority's powers (although a reasonably unusual course of action) for them to invalidate the consent as a result.
  7. There are certainly those who make it abundantly clear that they think that building a single house - and taking several years to do it - qualifies them more highly than anyone else, regardless of their training, background or experience.
  8. They will very certainly agree to depart from B.Regs in specific circumstances, particularly if backed up by the professional intervention of an Occupational Therapist. I can hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth on that comment already, given the hatred of trained professionals around here, but the truth is that the ways a lot of disabled people work out for doing things themselves are often potentially dangerous or harmful to them... it often takes an OT to show them why, and better, safer solutions.
  9. I spent several years specialising in the adaptation of buildings for people with disabilities and (as a direct result) about ten years of my life living with a pair of Occupational Therapists (consecutively, not concurrently, I should stress!). One thing I learned is that every disabled person is different, and handles daily difficulties in different ways. The standard BS8300 solutions are good as far as they go (I was part of the working group that helped write the original 2001 edition), but they are necessarily average solutions. The best way to deal with an individual solution is to get the the disabled person, the designer, and an Occupational Therapist together to work it out on site.
  10. Why C24 grade timber, out of interest? The design calcs for a timber frame run to many dozens of pages. We used to send them directly to building control - never bothered with the client, as they would be absolutely meaningless to most people. Similarly with trussed rafter roofs; most people aren't even aware that the manufacturer's calcs go to Building Control, but they are necessary, and if the BCO is doing their job properly, they should be requesting them if not provided.
  11. Given the very substantial forces that can be imposed on such fixtures, probably the closest you are going to get are the handrails and fittings used for glass balustrade systems. But even then, you need care and common sense when specifying them. These things can sometimes be used for 20+ stone people hauling themselves up from a wheelchair (for example), so can actually suffer more abuse and more concentrated loads than a balustrade. I've regularly seen hinged toilet rails - which are commonly fixed into masonry using 6 x M10 rawl bolts - ripped bodily out of the masonry.... sometimes failing suddenly enough to leave the disabled person in a heap on the floor. This is the problem for the designers: they have to design for these sorts of extreme worst-case uses, as there's no practical way to indemnify yourself by saying 'our products are only suitable for the moderate assistance of little old ladies up to a maximum of 9 stone'.
  12. It's a difficult one, for sure, as most products in the market are designed primarily for function, but there are exceptions. For example:
  13. I prefer magnetic catches - they look better, and work better, I think. Google 'magnetic hold-open' or similar, but THIS, for example.
  14. Crossed with @Moonshine's post, above (which is completely correct), but 1) There is no time limit specified in the fees regulations. 2) Yes. In reference to @JSHarris's first post, it is usually the responsibility of the Case Officer to keep track of this stuff (sometimes they make it the responsibility of the admin team), and to request the extension of time when it becomes appropriate, so someone would certainly get a bit of a bollocking from their manager if the fees were reclaimed in consequence of no EOT being agreed... hence the Officer's comment that he would rather it didn't happen! Personally, I'm pretty sympathetic to Planning Officers - who when all is said and done are doing a tough job against limited resources - so unless they've upset me in some way, I usually play fair and warn them by email if I've not received a request for an EOT within a couple of days of the statutory expiry date.
  15. Yes, there are piling companies who will undertake the structural design on your behalf. In common with the majority of TF manufacturers, they almost always use external structural engineers to do so, and simply build the cost into their quote. You pay for the structural engineering one way or another, whichever way you do it.