Buying a house – works done without building regulation consent
Q: I have an offer accepted on a bungalow. The vendors have replaced the roof, removed a chimney breast and converted a garage into a utility room, but have not obtained building regulation consent. The Home Buyers Report discovered that the new roof is too heavy and is weakening the timber and will need to be reinforced. I am a cash buyer so do not require proof of compliance in order to make the purchase. However I would like to know whether, or to what extent, the absence of building regulation consent is important.
We would recommend that a regularisation application is made to your local authority Building Control section. Whilst you may not be concerned about the lack of formal Building Regulation approval, the situation will re-emerge should you sell the property in the future and so this will remove any future legal risk. If the removal of the chimney breast is full height and includes the stack, this probably wouldn’t have required consent, however the replacement of the roof and garage conversion certainly would.
Regularisation of the work will involve some opening up to allow the surveyor to make a judgement as to whether the work is compliant, and if not, what works will be necessary to issue a regularisation certificate. The Building Control Surveyor will be able to advise on the strengthening works necessary for the roof and whether a structural engineer should be commissioned.
Regulations relating to the conversion of the garage are generally with regards to thermal performance and damp proofing, however, the work will only need to be compliant with the regulations that were in force at the time that the work was originally done, and so wouldn’t necessarily need to be brought up to current, more stringent thermal standards.
Answered by Local Authority Building Control in England and Wales
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