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building control - unusual situation...

Postby worriedhouse » Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:24 am

Hi all,
I was wondering if you could offer me some advice, we have a bit of a unique situation!
We bought a house 5 years ago that was very run down and set about doing it up. It's an ex council house. In the front room there was a large cupboard that ran from one wall to the middle of the room which seemed like a complete waste of space, we decided we would like to get rid of it and make the lounge bigger.
We were all pretty sure it couldnt be a supporting wall and asked my cousin who is an architectural assistant (i think that's his title - he does draw up house plans) what he thinks and he lifted up the floor boards upstairs and could quite happily insert a coathanger between the double joist and the downstairs ceiling so said it couldn't possibly be a supporting wall.
We proceeded to knock down the cupboard and all seemed well until a week or so later when my dad (who is quite eagle eyed) noticed that the floor was bouncing up and down just that bit too much when people were walking across it upstairs. We pulled up the whole floor to see what the problem was and found, to our dismay, a small gap - about 30cm in the double joist. The council builders had obviously bought short lengths of timber, and rather than adjusting these decided to support the gap on top of the corner of a large cupboard!!!!!!! Ridiculous!!!!! No one had ever seen anything like it -including our friend (a carpenter who builds timber frame houses!). So, we decided to put in an rsj ourselves to support this small gap which is literally in the middle of our front room and carried on happily ever after. Now, five years later we have decided to sell our house and have suddenly had a mild panic attack! I have been doing my research into building control etc. Now, we didnt ever intend to be sneaky but the honest truth is we never asked for permission because it never occured to us this could possibly EVER be a supporting wall. We are worried the buyers survey will pick this up.. do we say "it's not a supporting wall, we put it in because our ceiling was bouncey and we didnt want it to crack?" which is true - it was never going to fall down.. or do we say we will buy indemnity insurance but risk them saying "how do we know you did a good job?" and then forcing us to pay more to prove that. As it was, all it needed was some tiny little strut just to hold it up, our full blown RSJ has probably made the house more secure than when it was built in 1978!!!! Any ideas you have would be much appreciated!!! Thank you!!!!! [img]
I have loaded up an image of the cupboard (with our helpful friend who knocked it out to the side) the corner in question was the top left hand when looking at the picture!
cupboardsmall.JPG (15.74 KiB) Viewed 1443 times
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Postby welsh brickie » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:58 am

just say a friend done the work who is an architectual assistant, installed a steel beam,which is true. Do not disclose any other information,anything you say further, will or can be, legally held accountable for.This has happened lots of times,your not the first.If your buyers want a structural engineer to assess the beam thats up to them.
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Postby worriedhouse » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:41 pm

ok cool, thank you!
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Postby tony.g » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:57 pm

If the steel beam was installed only to reduce the bounce in the floor, it would not have been classed as a structural alteration and would not need any approval from the council
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