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Loft Conversion Pre-1985 and Building Regulations

Postby larryhud » Sun Apr 24, 2016 7:54 pm

I have been searching various forums and cannot find an answer to my particular question.
We have just bought a delightful detached 1930’s house with a loft conversion which creates 2 more rooms. There is no record of the work via building regs’ history online but I would guess it was done sometime in the 70/80s. We did take out an indemnity policy when we bought the house.
Structurally it is very sound and done to a very high standard, e.g. proper supports, beautiful staircase, large windows etc. The previous owners were using the rooms as habitable rooms (1 office and 1 bedroom) and we are doing the same.
However, it clearly does not meet the modern building regs’ requirements, specifically around the fire regs’. I am not concerned legally as it was done a long time ago and we have indemnity insurance. However my question is:
Can it be used as a habitable room legally if no building regs’ were required at the time of conversion? I cannot believe that all ‘old’ houses suddenly have to give up all their habitable space every time legal regs change?! Moreover, does anyone know what the insurance position would be in the event of a claim?
(I understand the fire risk(s) and we plan to de-risk this by some expensive/modern smoke detector systems – however as it has open plan staircases, it would be dreadful - looks wise - to have to implement fire doors and enclosed staircases)
(I am also not concerned the cost of resale as we bought it with the assumption it had 2 loft rooms and would sell it with the same assertion)
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Postby diydoctor6 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:33 am

New building regulations cannot be retrospectively enforced. If you were to have any alterations made to the property it is likely that you would have to bring various aspects of the building in line with the modern building regulations of the time, particularly if they impinge on the alterations.

Good for you for getting insurance and fitting the alarms.
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