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Internal alterations

Postby the2ems » Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:59 pm

My daughter moved into an older style house almost a year ago, and I am slowly working my way through modernisation. One of the plans for the future is to enlarge the bathroom. The stairs are in the centre of the property and lead to a landing which runs at right angles either way. To the right is a double bedroom and a box room. To the left is a double bedroom and bathroom. Opposite the second double is a storage cupboard, sharing a wall with the bathroom. To the right of this, going back towards the stairs is the separate WC. Looking from the stairs there are the bedroom door, bathroom door and cupboard door forming 3 sides of a square. My idea is to move the bedroom door nearer to the stairs, remove the wall between the bathroom and cupboard, and bring the bathroom door backwards along the landing so that what was the cupboard is now part of the bathroom, as is part of the landing. I hope that isn't too confusing.
My question is. Is there any regulation how close I can take the bedroom door to the corner of the landing and staircase, and how do I find out if any of the walls are supporting walls. As it's an older house (about 1950) the walls are brick.

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Postby tony.g » Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:42 pm

With regards to the landing; so as not to contravene Building Regulations, it needs to (i) have a width at least equal to the width of the stairs; (ii) be at least as deep as the stairs are wide (eg, if the stairs are 30" wide, the clear distance between the edge of the top riser and the wall or door directly opposite needs to be also at least 30") and (iii) no door must open across this landing (though a door can of course open inwards to a room). In short, it means that there must be a clear, unobstucted square at the top of the stairs.

To find out if the walls are loadbearing, the simplest way is to look in the roof space to see if any structural timbers are supported off any of the walls below. You need to look carefully above the position of the wall in question. If your house is 1950's vintage, it is possible the roof may be built of what are known as TRADA trusses. These usually span between the front and rear external walls only and usually do not derive any support from the internal walls. In this case you could assume the internal walls are non-loadbearing. Of course, without seeing the roof it's not possible to say with certainty so if in doubt, get a professional to look at it.
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