My partner and I are thinking of renovating a ruined croft house on his land – combining the original house, the adjoining barn and the byre to make a long thin house.
My partner says the doorway to the original byre won’t be allowed as it stands at approx. 5ft 4inches tall, but as it stands in a wall approx. 2ft thick, it would have have to be blocked up. Also, if a ceiling was to run from the top of the wall up to the roof eaves, are there any regulations about how high the walls need to be?
With any renovation project there are always many important questions to answer prior to commencing work. Too many enthusiastic first timers press ahead with bags of enthusiasm but very little planning, so you are right to cover points like these at the outset. The project in question will involve some major work and should begin with a call to your local planning office to discuss your intentions for the property. Arm yourselves with a list of all the questions you have and be ready to answer plenty more relating to the structure and build of the project.
When you take on a renovation project the responsibility for conforming to UK planning laws is entirely yours. Your project may or may not require planning permission depending on the extent of the renovation, its location and many other factors. It’s important to make sure, and a simple phone call to the planning office will set the ball rolling. If you can, arrange to meet with a member of staff so that you can build up a rapport and cover all the necessary points before you move to the next stage of your project.
UK Building Regulations
Along with conforming to planning laws, you’ll need to familiarise yourselves with UK Building Regulations, and this is another area where it helps to have a good relationship with your local council. Building Regulations change often and it can be difficult to keep up, particularly if this is your first renovation project. It’s easy to fall foul of the complex rules around Building Regulations and the penalties for doing so are severe, and may even mean tearing down all your hard work. Don’t depend on your builder to guide you – remember it’s up to you to make sure your project follows the rules.
It’s easy to feel discouraged by the seemingly never-ending amount of red tape involved in a major renovation project, but there is a lot of great free advice out there to help get you started and support you along the way. A thorough approach during the planning stage of your adventure really will lay the foundations of a great renovation.