When Does A Renovation Become a "Material Change of Use" ?

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Socrates
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I have recently acquired a building with 6No. rooms on two floors (grd &1st) which have been used for many years/decades as bedsits (room containing a Kitchenette &a corner-shower)whilst all the six tenants share 2 toilets. In order to improved the living standard of the tenants (and of course to enhance my investment value). I plan to renovate the bedsits by providing/creating a small shower-room within each (that will have a toilet, WHB &Shower)as well as a kitchenette. I will also install a central heating system to replace the individual elect rads they currently have -thus making each self-contained.

Due to connection to sewarage of the new toilets, I expected to serve a Building Notice to Bld Regs but the Architect drawing up my scheme was advised by a council staff that I probably need Planning Consent because it may be deemed a change of use from Bedsits to Self-Contained Flats (I am resisting doing this so far because all my works are internal and it is not a listed building, nor is it in a conservation area. It has been a resi and still remains bedsits albeit self contained). Further, another informal advice from Bld Control is that they expect full scheme drawings and as a "building with "material change of use" I will be expected to comply with Part E (sound resistance of walls) in addition to standard regs. Once again, I am reluctant to agree that this is a material change of use though I intend to use standard plasterboards and suspended ceilings instead of robust details.

Has anyone any similar experience of when a renovation is deemed to become a "material Change of Use" even if the use type, building size &density remain unchanged?

Thanks

18/01/2007 00:00

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