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Specific Regulations


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Smoke Detectors in Dwellings.

In the UK there are a substantial number of people get injured or die in domestic fires each year. These incidents could be reduced through the use of smoke detectors.

When installing a smoke alarm it must comply with a British Standard or International Standard Organisation (ISO) standard. Self-contained smoke alarms must comply with BS 5446, Part 1, 1990, for auto fire detection, and BS 5839, Part 6, 1995 for an alarm system.

They should be located in a circulation route such as the hall or landing.

Roof space Conversions.

Roof space or attic conversions require a Building Regulation application where the intentions to provide additional habitable accommodation.

The most common uses of attic conversions are:

arrow an extra room

arrow a bathroom

arrow a playroom

arrow a study/office

arrow a floored storage area

Where the intended use is to store lightweight items such as suitcases, general household items, etc. then the provision of loose boarding is generally satisfactory.

An application would not be required in such circumstances provided the access is by ladder and not by a new staircase. For the purposes of the regulations a ladder is a flight with a pitch greater than 55 degrees.

arrow Floors, certain walls and doors are required to be structurally able to resist the effects of a fire for a specified period of time, usually 30 minutes in a typical domestic situation.

Such provisions, among others are essential to ensure safe escape on the event of a fire or other emergency.

arrow The new floor and room layout requires a safe and easy exit route in the event of a fire. Careful consideration of this item is of critical importance.

arrow The provision of an automatic smoke or heat detection system to give early warning of a fire is desirable.

arrow The provision of escape windows is an important aspect of life safety in roof space conversions.

arrow The structural adequacy of the new floor has to be designed and checked to ensure it can safely support the new loads placed upon it, without suffering collapse or excessive deflection.

arrow Ventilation is essential to most room areas to prevent unpleasant living conditions.

arrow Condensation, if not properly catered for especially in areas where it cannot be seen, can cause problems.

Certain roof space layouts and roof construction types require careful consideration of ventilation and vapour check barrier provisions.

arrow The walls and roof of the roof space conversion require not only to keep out the rain and effects of damp but also reduce heat losses.

arrow If a bathroom or show room is to be included additional ventilation measures will be required to prevent excessive condensation.

Party Walls and Boundary Lines.

The Party Wall Act 1996 contains a framework for preventing disputes in relation to party walls, boundary lines, and excavations near an adjacent property. The act covers the insertion of beams, insertion of a damp-proof course, raising the height of a party wall, etc. the act also covers new building work at or astride the boundary line between properties. The main issue in all cases is whether the proposed work might have an effect for the structural strength and support functions of the party wall.

When carrying out work under the act it is important to inform all adjoining owners. At least two months before the planned starting date for construction, it is necessary to serve notice for the adjoining owners. The person receiving the notice may either give their written consent allowing the work to go ahead, or give a counter notice explaining the additional or modified work they would like to see carried out.

If a dispute arises the best way of settling is to have a friendly discussion with the neighbour. Agreement should be put in writing. If an agreement can not be reached, the next stage is to jointly appoint an "Agreed surveyor", who will act impartially to consider the interests of those concerned, and will thus draw up an award.

It is important to note that the Party Wall Act does not remove the possible need for planning permission or Building control approval.

Domestic Heating Appliances.

This section is in context with concern that solicitors when carrying out conveyancing for house sales and finding that the necessary statutory approvals have not been obtained for certain works, such as;

arrow installation of new heating appliances, heating systems and associated works

arrow converting existing heat appliances

arrow carrying out associated works i.e. new flue.

An application or notice is required before any work affecting heat producing appliances, flues or associated constructions is carried out.

Regularization Certificate.

Regularization is a procedure which property owners follow where problems arise in the conveyancing. It is important to note that the owner is under no obligation to make an application for a regularization certificate. The application for a certificate can relate only to completed work.

However, the local authority can ask the applicant to "open up" work which assumes a reasonable level of co-operation between the applicant and the local authority, in order to make sure that the construction complies with the building regulations.


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