11:39 AM, 19th October 2020, About 11 months ago 3
Portsmouth City Council (PCC) Licensing team have just done an HHSRS inspection of one of my student HMOs and given one of the rooms a Category 1/ band B hazard rating for ‘excess heat’ due to the room’s window opening onto a “conservatory”, and the “conservatory” and it’s door to the garden being in shared use with other tenants.
PCC have suggested in writing that I remove the door from conservatory to garden, which would cause problems because there’s no drainage to deal with the rain that would come in. I don’t have any good ideas to offer as an easy to implement alternative.
Nothing has changed since this was assessed in 2015 as a HHSRS Category 2/band D hazard recommending, but not requiring, action at that time (and I believed that was too harshly scored). I have asked for an explanation of this wide discrepancy of the two assessments, but they won’t respond to that point.
I have owned/managed this student property for over 12 years and know, from being there for cleaning and maintenance mid-summer every year that there is no issue in reality with Excess Heat. The room is on the north side of the building and these two spaces are well-shaded with practically no solar heat gain, and the conservatory has openings both ends that in reality provides decent cross-ventilation. The room concerned is the coolest in the house in summer. I’ve let them know all this.
The opening of the room window to conservatory meets the 1/20th of floor area requirement for the room, and the door from the conservatory to garden meets the 1/20th floor area of room+conservatory. The room occupant can freely open both at all times. Building Regs say that for “inner rooms” all openings need to be under “sole control” of the occupant. I’ve always taken that to mean without being dependent on another party, not meaning “wholly exclusive” control.
At present, PCC still in arm-twisting mode, trying to get me to commit to addressing this voluntarily. I can’t accept their suggestion and don’t really have an alternative to offer. So, I need a game plan.
Anyone else dealt with one like this before? Any suggestions? Is anyone familiar with Building Regs for ventilation of “inner rooms” and the meaning of “sole control” in that context? What are my options?
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