Building Regulations for a covered way!

Discussion in 'Builders' Talk' started by Wez4, Jul 6, 2019.

  1. Wez4

    Wez4 New Member

    Hi all, update on the BC situation.

    BC inspector came round today with her trainee. She did deem it to be an extension requiring approval and was subject to all the same regs as a garage or habitable room. Her main issue was fire safety and her proposed solution was..
    Build a solid brick load bearing wall (1m deep footings that would also require a build over agreement from Severn Trent) between my house and the neighbours. I also had to brick up the 3 windows in the side of my house that look out into the covered area. I suggested cement fibre cladding as a fire resistant option but that wasn’t acceptable. Only brick or block built on strip foundations would be allowed.
    Aside from that she didn’t raise any other objections.

    The option that has been accepted is to simply leave a gap in the roof like a big open air skylight separating the front facade from what will then be classified as a car port behind. A couple of feet gap would be enough and I can leave the wall plates unbroken. I literally just have to leave hole in the roof to make the whole structure exempt from BC.

    Incredibly frustrating and completely daft to me as I can’t see how the gap makes anything safer in terms of fire.. just looks odd and means a small area will get wet.

    Although polite and happy to state regs (as expected) I can’t say I found her to be helpful or in a way forthcoming with practical solutions. She is independent and subcontracted by my local council so is there any chance that if I employed another independent BC inspector they may be a little more pragmatic and have a different view?

  2. KIAB

    KIAB Well-Known Member

    No way is that an extension,BS, & it definitrly ain't habitable space, it is a covered walkway!
    Wez4 likes this.
  3. sospan

    sospan Well-Known Member

    The trouble is that it could be turned into one quite easily the Velux style windows probably didn't help. ;)
  4. KIAB

    KIAB Well-Known Member

    Totally agree,he should off added them later,say in a few months time.
  5. sospan

    sospan Well-Known Member

    Yes that's the funny quirk with BC. If a structure has been up for over a year, then they normally aren't interested. Hindsight is such a good thing - build the covered way with open ends. Then after a year add an end then the roof windows. Now there is a record it can't be revised.

    But at least BC have said if there is a gap between the face wall and the roof they are happy, which still meets the criteria of a "covered walkway" as walking up to the door is uncovered and having a section uncovered between the gate and the rest of the structure is no different.
    Wez4 likes this.
  6. Wez4

    Wez4 New Member

    I guess that although I don’t agree with the assessment that it’s an extension ( or could be made into one) I do accept it as I have little choice. Stupid thing is the solution that she proposed just doesn’t solve the safety concerns with regards to fire as far as I can see. It ticks the box’s to make it BC exempt but it makes a mockery of actual purpose of the regs as it’s not improved safety or build quality in any way.

    To be clear on the proposed solution I can keep the front facade including the roof structure above but the roof can only extend 1m back behind the wall. I then leave a gap of approximately 0.6m then the roof can continue as is. When I asked if I needed to cut the wall plates to provide separation between the facade and the rear roof she said no. To me that’s just a hole in the roof! Crazy. Guess I’ll just put a toughened glass panel in the gap when the dust settles..

    Was she just being pedantic when she said I would need to brick up the windows in the side of the house or does that seem reasonable to you guys?

    One thing I did find during my research was this document,65398,en.pdf
    Appreciate it may be dated but I can’t seem to find a more recent copy. Interesting to see that if accurate there’s no BC definition for a garage or carport and I would assume that means there’s also no actual definition of a covered way!
    Talk about a grey area open to interpretation!

    Think I’ll stick to fitting kitchens and bathrooms! Buildings a mine field!!!
  7. Mr Rusty

    Mr Rusty Well-Known Member

    at least the construction with the gap will not result in further action (and will prob **** neighbour off). In due course the gap might become filled. If neighbour complains plant a hedge of 20ft bamboo which is it is not an evergreen (but a grass) and is exempt from high hedge legislation.

    I would not bother closing in the windows. Pointless, and not environmentally friendly as you will need to run more artificial light. Dare them to take action
    Wez4 likes this.
  8. sospan

    sospan Well-Known Member

    Mr R, are you developing a bit of nasty edge there ;)
    KIAB likes this.
  9. Mr Rusty

    Mr Rusty Well-Known Member

    Moi? no I'm mister laid-back, but I have a low tolerance for annoying neighbours who make peoples lives miserable, and jobsworth officials who I suspect make the rules up to suit themselves half the time. There have been a few cases over on the DIYnot planning and building regs forum recently where this sort of thing has happened and the council have had to back down when the case is progressed. e.g.
    KIAB likes this.
  10. KIAB

    KIAB Well-Known Member

    Covered walkway, it's not permant,as it can be remmoved, call it a lean to then,same thing,so that is not habitable & does not need plannning permission.

    BCO's around the UK, take different views,on lean too,covered walkways, yours Wez was totally wrong in her decision.

    Wez, got any family in same area as you,or friend (need different surname) get them to phone/visit planning department & ask whether you need planning permission for covered walkway, get proof, letter,record, had planning trying it on here,quite a few years ago,they soon backed down.

    +1 for Mr Rusty.:)
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  11. sospan

    sospan Well-Known Member

    Just read that thread, seems a completely pointless complaint over a deck 300mm high
    KIAB likes this.
  12. KIAB

    KIAB Well-Known Member

    As long as deck isn't over 300mm high, then it's a permitted development.:)
  13. sospan

    sospan Well-Known Member

    The permanency is a difficult one to quantify as anything theoretically can be classed and removable. The nuances of static caravans being removable and escaping any control to a smaller shed falling foul of legislation because it doesn't have wheels.

    The problem starts when things get "fixed" into the ground e.g. with foundations or concreted posts. Theoretically you can come along with a mini digger and lift them out, so are they permanent or temporary ?
  14. sospan

    sospan Well-Known Member

    That was the problem one edge was under 300mm but taking it level to the house meant it was 500mm because the underlying ground sloped towards the house.
  15. Wez4

    Wez4 New Member

    Interesting idea to get someone else to call and ask if a covered walkway requires BRegs. No planning issues were raised. Might get the father in law to do it. Even from my bias point of view I don’t think I could argue that it’s not intended to be a permanent structure though.

    Reading the thread Mr Rusty posted has made me consider building as I originally planned and then just see if they will even bother to enforce. Especially as they are subcontractors of the council and don’t actually have the enforcement authority themselves. I guess the difference between the chap with the decking dispute and me as that he had proof via planning law that couldn’t really be disputed by anyone able to read and understands the regs. I’m at a loss because there appears to be no technical guidance for a covered walkway.

    If I get no joy from the phone call I’ll call a local independent inspector and see how much a site visit and a second professional opinion would cost me.

    Thanks for the advice

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