I'm in the process of selling my home and looks like we have hit a pretty big snag! Surveyor came on friday and he is concerned that a wall which was removed by previous occupiers may not have been done correctly. He is recommending that a structual survey is carried out by the purchaser so I'm just after some advice.
The wall they removed (date unknown - I've been here 7 years and from what neighbours say the guy I bought from didn't do it and he was here for 3 years) was brick wall of single skin which seperated the kitchen and dining room. It ran in the same direction as the joists above. There doesn't appear to be any form of support i.e. a beam etc.
We certainly haven't noticed any problems - cracks or sagging etc but sadly I didn't have a full survey when I bought and my solicitor didn't check re building regs etc as we were totally unaware this had once been two rooms and I lived here for 3 years before a neighbour mentioned how she might get hers knocked through as she had 2 rooms!
1) Is this a real problem or are the joists likely to be supporting upstairs
2) Can it be fairly easy to fix by a builder
3) If the person responsible didn't get planning permissions etc can we do this now
Any thoughts much as appeciated as I'm seriously worried and it could be weeks before we get a full survey report!
Get 3 seperate builders to assess the problem, if any,Use only recommended tradesmen.You need to remove some floorboards upstairs to check the beam.
If there is a problem,and you need to install a beam,you need to contact building control,Explain the problem,they are really helpfull.
Once they advise you on what type of beam you require,you can get prices for the work.
Its too late now for the previous owner to accept responsibility.
Would I be able to get the necessary permissions retrospectively if there is an issue and we put in right or will this always be a problem when changing ownership?[/quote]
The building control officer is the best person to advise you in this case,They are very helpful,Usually there is no problem.
Thanks Welsh Brickie, I can't read your last response as waiting approval but will update you where we are at...
I took your first advice and spoke to Building Control who explained how to get the approval if needed retrospectively or from scratch if we need a beam that isn't there. I also called a builder and he has been in the loft etc and really doesn't think it is a load bearing wall in his opinion.
We are going to wait for the survey to come back and if it is an issue he has given me a rough idea (not exact as he needs to know beam calcs etc) of costs to put in a RSJ and replaster. So fingers crossed it either isn't a huge problem i.e non load bearing or my purchaser will wait for us to do the work and get the necessary approvals which we will pay for.
My only really issue now is that there is a covenant on my deeds as is an ex local authority house where written permission should have been received from the council prior to any alterations! Hopefully this can be sorted retrospectively too.
Thanks so much for your first post - I will hopefully sleep tonight for the first time since Friday :)
If it is Scottish Regs you can approach your local authority who may be able to consider a Letter of Comfort which is a document that will advise that no enforcement action will betaken, if they are satisfied that work carried out complies with what the regulations were at the time the works were undertaken.
Prior to May 2005, whether the property was a house or flat you would have required permission to remove a load or non load bearing wall.
Best bet contact your local authority and see what they have to say, unfortunately nothing in life is free and there will no doubt be a cost.