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Can BCO or my builder prevent me from moving back in to my own house


Adsibob
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So I’m approaching the beginning of the end of a long overdue project. The contract provided for completion at the end of August, so we are already 4.5 months late. All being well, we should be ready to move in in late Feb, or more likely early March. The two big things that might stop us are:

1) there is a shortage of fire doors and even if I get them in time my builder is being awkward about fitting them - they were not included in the spec and tender docs, because we hadn’t finalised the detail at the time, so I may need to contract a joiner directly, which wouldn’t be so bad;

2) our new front door is unlikely to be ready before May.

 

 My builder mentioned that he cannot let me live somewhere that doesn’t comply with building regs, as this would invalidate his insurance. I get that, but I also need to move in because I will son go bankrupt if I don’t - I’m not over exaggerating. We will have a mains interlinked fire alarm comprising of 14 detectors and sounders. I cannot see the lack of FD30s as really an issue, at least not in the real world. Similarly, we can use the old front door and make it safe with some reinforcement.

 

 Now legally, my builder is right that I cannot sign a waiver that waives any liability for my personal injury or death. But surely people live in houses that have not yet been signed off by a BCO.

 

 What haber others done about moving in before BCO sign off? @pocster you mentioned on another post that you had moved in somewhere without fire alarms; how did you manage that?

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23 minutes ago, Adsibob said:

 My builder mentioned that he cannot let me live somewhere that doesn’t comply with building regs, as this would invalidate his insurance.

This insurance stuff feels broadly correct in that you have handed the build to them and until it is signed off they are responsible for the building site - which is not a dwelling. You might look at ending the contract early so you get the house back but you may need to pay for that and you would then need some sort of insurance yourself. You may be able to live in a caravan on the site however as you could agree to partition that section off.

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Your builder must have a god complex.

thank him for the work done, pay him and tell him to jog on.

 

any issue with BC Is with you and them.

What they don’t know won’t hurt them….

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9 hours ago, Adsibob said:

What haber others done about moving in before BCO sign off? @pocster you mentioned on another post that you had moved in somewhere without fire alarms; how did you manage that?

As I’m the builder and the last conversation I had with bco was asking when they needed to come and inspect next . They replied “ when finished “ . Not finished , so …….. ?

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9 hours ago, TonyT said:

Your builder must have a god complex.

thank him for the work done, pay him and tell him to jog on.

 

any issue with BC Is with you and them.

What they don’t know won’t hurt them….

End contract with builder early to solve his liability issue . You then take out insurance to live on site in an incomplete dwelling . This type of insurance is more expensive I have it and I think @ProDave does also . All problems solved ! I did it this way also because I didn’t fancy bankruptcy either ?

Edited by pocster
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1 minute ago, pocster said:

End contract with builder early to solve his liability issue . You then take out insurance to live on site in an incomplete dwelling . This type of insurance is more expensive I have it and I think @ProDave does also . All problems solved ! I did it this way also because I didn’t fancy bankruptcy either ?

I have had a self build insurance from the start, that's ended now we are Complete and now on normal house insurance.

 

Oddly when we contracted a builder just to lay the foundations and build and erect the shell, they asked to see my insurance, particularly the "contractors liability" bit as we were the prime contractor.

 

We lived on site in a static caravan for much of the build then moved into the unfinished house and building it around as as even an unfinished house was more spacious and comfortable than a caravan. There were no issues then as we did not have anyone working for us, it was just ourselves completing the internals of the house.

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16 minutes ago, pocster said:

End contract with builder early to solve his liability issue . You then take out insurance to live on site in an incomplete dwelling . This type of insurance is more expensive I have it and I think @ProDave does also . All problems solved ! I did it this way also because I didn’t fancy bankruptcy either ?

We have this and have been in a year,BCO sign off due next month. We had no kitchen, internal walls, plasterboard etc never mind no smoke alarms lol. No issues other than it was bloody cold last winter!

Edited by redtop
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11 hours ago, Adsibob said:

...

 My builder mentioned that he cannot let me live somewhere that doesn’t comply with building regs,

...

 

You and your builder have a professional relationship, not a theraputic one. 

I'm almost (but not quite) sure the remark was made out of kindness - but '...cannot let (you) live .... '  is inappropriate. 

Pay, Wave. Move on.

Edited by ToughButterCup
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Sack your builder, buy the cheapest fire doors you can find, fit them yourself.

That will give you plenty of time to find the ones you want, and a joiner to fit them (if you made a pigs ear out of the originals).

 

Rather than look at all the risks, look at the benefits, I seem to remember that your rent was stupidly high, probably enough to have bought a house like mine. And my heating works, and has done so for 35 years without any maintenance.

Edited by SteamyTea
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2 hours ago, pocster said:

As I’m the builder and the last conversation I had with bco was telling him "It's no use screaming, nobody can hear you!" …….. ?

 

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You can discuss partial completion with BCO. I think they all have slightly discretionary criteria but I'm sure its been mentioned before, lots of self builders live in incomplete houses. You'll have to slum it a bit..

Edited by Jilly
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11 hours ago, CalvinHobbes said:

Sounds like if you get the fire doors you will be ok? I just did a search and they seem available, is there a specific type/size you are after?

I am after some Jeld Wen (JW) Cambridge in the 2032 by 813 and the 2040 by 726 sizes, as shown here: https://www.doorsgalore.co.uk/Doors/White-Traditional-Fire-Doors-FD30-44mm/white-primed-cambridge-fd30-44mm-smooth-jw.php

 

However, that company has advised me that JW is really suffering from the pandemic and has back orders to fill of thousands of doors meaning it could be 4-6 months before I get the doors. That lead time is consistent with my experience of contacting 8 different suppliers that normally stock JW doors. JW themselves are not answering the phone. Apparently they normally manufacture 30000 doors a day, and that is down to less than half due to staff absences.

 

Although Premdor make something similar, which is in stock, the rail that separates the top panel and the bottom panel is significantly lower, such that to fit the handle at a comfortable height of around 905mm from FFL would not look good. So this ultimately boils down to an aesthetic issue, but still frustrating.  

Edited by Adsibob
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Excellent phrase that '... slum it a bit ...' @Jilly

If - as is the case with us - your other half is deeply immersed in a job and not involved in the day to day stuff, slumming it a bit in the house  before completion is a useful phase. It helps to have time for both of you to sit and cogitate - imagineering  is what SWMBO calls it.  I call it doing-as-I'm-told .?

Edited by ToughButterCup
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I read the original post 7 hours ago and thought "simples, terminate the contract with the builder and move in asap".

 

My guess is that the builder would like the job to drag on into late Spring, on the pretext of the fire door supply delay, so he can prioritize other work and use @Adsibob's job as a fall back to fill in idle time.

 

I think the OP is looking at this from the wrong perspective of "what I am allowed to do" and "who might be upset if I do". I suggest the thought process should be "if I do what I need to do would I end up facing criminal charges or suffer serious financial penalty and how soon might such consequences manifest". Taking the bankruptcy concern at face value I would plan to move in ahead of a natural break in the current rental tenancy. Just do it without a dialogue with the builder, he has seriously let you down at significant cost.

 

All the builder can do it allege breach of contract and seek damages after the contract is terminated. The cogs of Local Council enforcement move slowly and at the end of the day they just want a tidy conformant wrap-up to the works. Mid works site safety is another department.

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Fire regs can sometimes be overlooked in the short term if there are other protections in place. For example alarms and agreement that there will be no visitors, a twice daliy sweep of fire risks. Depends on your bco but  a sensible one would rather you discussed it than occupied regardless.

suggest ordinary chunky doors but with intumescent tape round them...it stops air movement.

Can't you get basic industrial fire doors for now?

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24 minutes ago, saveasteading said:

Fire regs can sometimes be overlooked in the short term if there are other protections in place. For example alarms and agreement that there will be no visitors, a twice daliy sweep of fire risks. Depends on your bco but  a sensible one would rather you discussed it than occupied regardless.

suggest ordinary chunky doors but with intumescent tape round them...it stops air movement.

Can't you get basic industrial fire doors for now?

Sorry disagree with this. Younrisk getting an answer that requires you to spend money you don't have, and if facing bankruptcy I would completely avoid this. Move in and be dammed, be carefull obviously and if someone does moan you will be months down the line before anything happens. They have other things to worry about.

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36 minutes ago, redtop said:

Sorry disagree with this. Younrisk getting an answer that requires you to spend money you don't have, and if facing bankruptcy I would completely avoid this. Move in and be dammed, be carefull obviously and if someone does moan you will be months down the line before anything happens. They have other things to worry about.

Yes.  Move in. If the builder grumps, tell him the alternative is you might go bankrupt and HE might not get paid.  This is the best solution for everybody including him.

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F*ck 'em and be damned. When you are up against it to dance to someone else's tune. You do what you need to do to survive. I've been in plenty of tight spots ( not with my build ) and admittedly cut corners , take risk because the alternative is worse. So you might get a slap on the hand from BCO so the (expletive deleted) what. You have more important things to worry about.

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Yes, I agree that I just need to take things into my own hands. Ultimately, the house, even without fire doors, will have a sprinkler system on the ground floor and an alarm system throughout and brand new appliances. It will be far safer from a fire regs perspective than what was there before, so it really comes down to just bureaucracy.

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n

2 minutes ago, Adsibob said:

Yes, I agree that I just need to take things into my own hands. Ultimately, the house, even without fire doors, will have a sprinkler system on the ground floor and an alarm system throughout and brand new appliances. It will be far safer from a fire regs perspective than what was there before, so it really comes down to just bureaucracy.

 

but doesnt meet regs.

 

credit to your builder for walking away. Hope you paid him a bonus.

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