Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Where do I start

"I want to extend my house but where do I start."

Many people start by bringing in a builder because they want to know the cost first and foremost. The trouble with that is builders can't usually tell you what you will be permitted to do, nor can they give advise on cost without the plans being prepared. The correct place to start is with an experienced design consultant. This may be an Architect or Building Surveyor. They will be able to give an immediate reaction to any obvious problems that you may be heading for, initial advice on the procedures the council will make you go through and usually some budget guidance as well.

before you build it... Plan-it.

What is a letter of comfort

Letters of Comfort were introduced in the 1990's to provide a kind of amnesty to people who had carried out unauthorised alterations prior to the Building Regulation update of 1990. It was meant as a temporary measure and essentially was a letter from the local authority which confirmed they would not be prosecuting you for the unauthorised alteration. Thus giving comfort and allowing a house sale to proceed. This temporary measure still exists some 19 years later. This has allowed some unscrupulous individuals to simply build without a building warrant and then apply for a cheap letter of comfort to allow house sales to proceed. Unfortunately, some local authorities now find LoCs to be so lucrative that they are very unwilling to stop the process. There is however a new procedure on the horizon "a completion certificate where no warrant was issued" this is more robust in terms of compiance with Building Regulation, more intrusive in terms of inspection and more expensive, so will not be popular with the public. It is coming though and should see the demise of the LoC. So if you have any unauthorized alterations to your home you would be wise to sort it out now whilst we still have the cheap and easy option.

before you build it . . .Plan-it

Friday, 17 April 2009

How to succeed

"If you don't know where your going, any road will get you there" anon.

Pick your destination and choose it early, stick to the path come what may, its a long way but it's the road to success.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Letters of Comfort- prepare to say goodbye

The "letter of comfort" that the councils have become very used to issuing to regularise unwarranted works are soon to be a thing of the past. A new procedure called " a completion certificate where no warrant was issued" has been introduced and will be the replacement. It is much more robust and requires full drawings as if a warrant were being issued. The drawing must represent "today's" regulations and the works can be opened up for inspection at the behest of Building Control.
Look out rogue developers!