Building control Dilemma?

by Readers Question

14:41 PM, 22nd November 2018
About 3 weeks ago

Building control Dilemma?

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Building control Dilemma?

I planned an internal remodel of a flat that I own that included removing load bearing walls, chimney breasts etc and generally making the flat more open plan. The flat is U shaped around a central communal stairwell, such that you enter through a hall, then into the kitchen, then into the sitting room, then into the bedrooms.

Originally there was a wall between the kitchen and the sitting room, but my scheme involved removing that wall to make an open plan sitter/kitchen. I submitted plans to building control and they approved them, contingent on installing linked fire alarms and an adequate fire break for the bedrooms given that the only exit was through the kitchen. In stripping out the flat and preparing for the installation of RSJ’s an old doorway was uncovered that linked one of the bedrooms with the communal hall. The building inspector came and told me that I needed to retain the door linking the bedroom to the communal hall as a means of escape, despite previous approval that did not involve retaining this hidden door. I hated the idea of a doorway from a bedroom to the communal hall and so foolishly continued with my original plans, covered over the old doorway and finished the flat off without further inspections and without gaining a completion certificate.

Works were carried out in 2010, and now I want to find a way to regularize the works for all sorts of reasons, including tidying up my affairs for a sale. What options are open to me, how should I proceed? Is there a statute of limitations on building control? Are there other options open to me apart from reinstating the door, such as a localized sprinkler system in the kitchen area? This far down the line, can I persuade building control to accept their original approved plans, that is, without the door from the bedroom to the communal hall? Should I engage an independent building inspector to guide me with initial advice? Any advice and ideas as to how to proceed would be highly appreciated

Thank you

Edward



Comments

AA

10:06 AM, 24th November 2018
About 3 weeks ago

How big is the bedroom ? Scope for a small hallway entrance to buffer the bedroom from the stairwell ?

Edward

13:02 PM, 24th November 2018
About 3 weeks ago

Good suggestion but unfortunately not!

AA

13:42 PM, 24th November 2018
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Edward at 24/11/2018 - 13:02
I have been thinking about this - Create a walk in wardrobe. All bedrooms need a wardrobe. This one at the back has a exit door. All properties have quirks. The onus would be on the buyer to keep a clear access.

Wyn Burgess

14:57 PM, 24th November 2018
About 3 weeks ago

If doorway was not on original approved plans I would ask BCO to issue completion certificate. They may want to inspect in which case you may be lucky that they don't insist on the doorway being reinstated. I find BCO's very difficult in these circumstances and trying to get Barnet Council to issue completion certificates is almost impossible despite property passing final inspection.

Annie Landlord

15:43 PM, 24th November 2018
About 3 weeks ago

When you sell you will have to complete the seller's information pages, so you will have to record the works you had done and the fact that building control approval was sought, but not obtained. Its a difficult one. Can you not regularise the situation and just replace the doorway, now you're going to be selling anyway?

Edward

19:21 PM, 24th November 2018
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Annie Landlord at 24/11/2018 - 15:43
Thanks for the comments. The layout is such that there is no workaround in regards to walk in wardrobes / false lobby etc. I guess the options if BC do not accept it are to either reinstate the door ( but it is a "luxury" central London flat and I think it will be a real turnoff for the client base) or else to install a localised sprinkler system , there is a very discrete system I have found that is designed for these sort of situations, which is not outrageously expensive nor difficult to retrofit.


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