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  1. Hi everyone, I am an Architect, and would love to answer any questions you have on planning, design, construction etc etc. I am starting a blog called AskAnArchitect, and will feature the answers on the blog too. Kind Regards, Oli
  2. Hello, I'm looking for some advice around making offers on properties which may be suitable for conversion. I'm interested in converting commercial properties to residential but I'd also be interested in what people with purely residential development have to say. I've not bought a commercial property before and I'm wondering about the following actions and whether they would normally be conducted before making an offer or after an offer is accepted: - Appointing a planning consultant to advise on permitted development for change of use. - Appointing an architect and having them advise on the potential reconfiguration. - Engaging with contractors/builders for quotes or full tender process. I may be 90% sure that permitted development would be granted, have a good idea of what configuration might work and have a reasonable idea of what the development costs would be, but still not quite be willing to committing to buy it without being more sure about the project's viability. If I did all of the above before offering, that could cost thousands of pounds only to have my offer rejected. If I did all the above after an offer is accepted and it emerges that permitted development is less likely that I thought or the development cost is going to be a lot more than I thought, is it normal for a developer simply to pull out of the deal at that point? Not having done the whole process before, I'm keen to know how people de-risk this process. Looking forward to hearing what you have to say. Thanks in advance!
  3. Ok, bear with me... I'm buying a 3 bed flat which has been let for a long time by the vendor (around 15 years I think, since new build) to students on (I guess) a single AST.; It's an article 4 area, and I'm pretty sure the vendor never bothered with planning for c4 when the area moved to article 4 around 10 years ago. Area also has local HMO license rules, that state that 3 bed or more needs a license. Totally on the case with that, I understand the process, and the reasons behind it (i.e: money grabbing council! ). Even if I end up with a family living there, I'll get the license to give flexibility, I want to open the property to a wide market (families, groups on a single ast, I don't want a full-on 'by the room' HMO). So, my question; While I understand the need for HMO Planning, and even for Article 4.... is it relevant here? Changes to the fabric of the building required = none. All of the work that you'd associate with HMO license has been done (fire doors, alarms, etc). So I'd be applying for Planning Permission for 3 people to live there on a single AST, which they've always done, and which the building is clearly made for. Does the fact that it's been rented to a group "forming 3 households" for so long, help at all? With thanks, J
  4. Hi, I am new around here but thought I would put my expertise out there for those in need! I have experience in both the public and private sectors in London and the south east, and am more than happy to answer planning questions that people have - just pop a reply below or feel free to message me directly if you prefer. No topic is off limits - just let me know what you want to know and I will do my best to help out Looking forward to hearing from you all! Tom
  5. Does anyone know of/recommend a planning consultant in (or with experience in) the Caerphilly area of South Wales? Thank you
  6. Dear Property Hub community, My name is Luis, I'm a Spanish Construction Engineer that has lived half of his life already here in the UK. I'm passionate about property investment, for now I've done mainly buy to lets and a couple flips. I'm MCIOB, so charted construction manager and I've got my own small design and build company in partnership with an architect and a Surveyor. I'm also working my way into becoming a residential valuer through RICS. almost there, but not just yet! I would be very happy to help anyone interested in investing in property so I can learn about what kind of projects other people do so please do not hesitate to contact me if you've got any worries or queries regarding current or future projects, building works on the go, issues with a fellow builder (we can be a handful sometimes but with patience and beer you might get a smile!) or any others that you think I might be able to help with. I specially love looking at projects to be, feasibility studies to explore the potential of a deal. I'm happy to give rough estimates free of charge and also my opinion as a construction professional on how easy - challenging the idea you've got in mind can be. Bests, Luis
  7. Hi All, I'm just starting out near Cambridge and am looking to build my team to help me along the way. I'm looking to do some conversions, so will be needing: 1. Planning consultants 2. An architect 3. An innovative mortgage broker 4. A tax advisor / accountant with good property knowledge. We've really struggled to find reliable people when doing our main house, so Any recommendations or notes of those probably best avoided would be very gratefully received! Thanks All, appreciated!
  8. Good afternoon all, With all that is/or isn't happening during lock down I'd like to offer some free help. I'm a self employed project controls engineer which involves detailed project management plans and reporting. This involves building logic based gantt charts, critical paths, manning graphs, cost reports etc. Basically I like planning software and excel far too much! If your current systems would require a second opinion I'm happy to help? I can provide some advice / templates that could improve your current setup. Give me a shout and we can discuss. Stay safe, Chris
  9. Hi Everyone, I am a Planning Officer for a local authority in London so I thought I would offer my services...for free! Please feel free to ask me any planning related questions you have and I will do my best to answer them. If you're not quite sure what to ask, as a rough guide I can offer advice on the following things to name a few: Permitted development rights (also known as PD); Extensions (including basements); Sub-division of residential properties; Changes of use (Office to residential for instance); Things to look out for in terms of impacts on neighbours; General procedural queries. Look forward to your questions! Thanks, Ian
  10. Hi all, I've found a plot of land we are potentially going to purchase. It has full planning permission that has previously expired, so I'm in the process of going through all the documents on the planning portal. With this being our first self build, and the first time at really looking at this info in detail, it has obviously thrown up a few questions (that someone will hopefully be able to help me with!). There is a very detailed 'Design & Access statement'. This includes statements about the following : + Having a ground test to check if suitable for soakaway- and for this to be approved by BC + Being within 250m of a former landfill site - a scheme for monitoring/mitigation in respect of landfill gas to be submitted for prior approval to protect future occupants + Water board- imposition of condition req. details of proposed surface/foul water. Also, as full planning permission has been granted, is there anything that could stop the build in regards to existing draining/sewers or any other utilities running through the plot, or would this have been checked during the planning/design period. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Jamie
  11. Hi folks, we're currently in the process of buying our second BTL and it's been highlighted by our solicitor that the converted loft (carpeted, plastered and with a roof window but no fixed staircase) does not have the necessary permissions (i.e. Building Control sign off). It wasn't sold as habitable space but we're being advised to have the vendor (an absent executor) get a letter of comfort from the LA; to indemnify us against any future associated costs for remedial work; or to "take a view" (which, in the context is likely to be proceeding at our own risk, renegotiating the price or withdrawing entirely). Anyone got any experience of this or able to offer some wisdom? It's a good house at a decent price, but not so great a deal that we'll proceed at any cost!
  12. Hello Everyone, I'm a Development Manager (construction background) from North Wales and I happened across the podcast yesterday morning and have been hooked ever since, I've got so many episodes to catch up on! We are a bit unique as a developer and own and operate some of our large buildings in North wales, one being a wedding venue (large listed hall and grounds) one being a 40 room hotel and spa (currently managing the design process for this as we purchased it in April) and last year we purchased and renovated an abandoned listed public house and now operate it as a restaurant and bar (the renovation was circa 700k and we completed it in 3 months yes it nearly killed me). We also have numerous options on residential land and plan on building these out or selves once we achive planning for them. All of this has happened in 2 years of an intense focus on a town we feel has huge potential for growth, currently the county/town is going through the Local Development Plan process and we have a number of speculative sites put forward for residential development. I am keen to branch out and move out of our selected location and am hugely inspired when I speak to people and hear about their own property journeys, i would be particularly keen to speak to other people whom are property investing/developing in North Wales as I feel its potentially overlooked by people building in Cheshire and Manchester. The hammer fell hard in 2008 in North wales and many people who had agreed option agreements and had even gained planning saw their deal fall through due to the credit crunch leaving them to wait for the market to recover.... I work with a lot of professionals and I have a strong support network from Planning Consultants to Architects, Engineers and Solicitors I act as the middle man for everything and manage the entire process from acquisition, design and planning through to funding and construction so I have a good amount of experience at each stage and will happily pass any knowledge on that I have gained or a contact that is more specialized int hat field if needs be.
  13. Looking to convert a 3bed terraced with attic into a 4 bed hmo by simply adding a bed to the living room. However because of the attic this will be 3 floors and 4 tennants. Will I need to spend extra on installing a wired fire alarm system or wil it be fine with just fire doors etc? I really do not want to start ripping the walls out here as the property is in a relatively good condition.
  14. I have just got off the phone with my local council regarding a house that I'm splitting into 2 and have been told I would have to pay £6000 education contribution and CIL on top!! I asked them what exactly does this mean, the lady said it was for the extra provisions for education that the family would need. Well I said what if I developed a 1 bed flat - not suitable for a family - would I still have to pay the same amount. Yes as they would be using the roads, the rubbish collection etc. I thought we have council tax for that!!! I was told if I have further questions I should write in. I'm assuming this is tax imposed to generate cash by councils as I can't see how their justification works in this case. I think its a bit excessive given its 1 house and that new occupiers would be paying council tax. I haven't done a split for a while so... Also if anyone know of a successful challenge to this or how to challenge, I'd appreciate it.
  15. Hello, I am new to this site, thank you in advance for any advice. Next door have already done the work without planning permission, I contacted enforcement at my council to which now the neighbours have had to put in a full planning application . As the works are done I can see- none of the windows or Velux's are obscured or non opening. Four are side, two front, one at the back then the big dormers. The neighbours added habitable rooms. One of the rooms with a dormer is a bathroom. Apparently it is not covered with PD as the roof is entirely new and has completely changed design. The neighbours house is the only house on the road which is at an angle. I realise side windows must be obscured and non opening over 1.7 mts. As the house is at an angle would I be able write to planning and suggest the bathroom be obscured. Saving their modesty and my privacy ever so slightly. Also I know that their side Velux's are 1.7mts exactly. Is the rule they must be over that for them to be non-opening and obscured? Thank you.
  16. Hello everyone, We've just been granted Prior Approval for change of use from B1(c) to residential, to turn 2 former car workshop buildings into 4 small ground floor 1 bed apartments, of awkward sizes & shapes due to the shape of the current buildings. This would leave a large yard area of the site under-utilised, just for 3 or 4 parking spaces and some landscaping, bin & bike storage etc. We'd previously looked at submitting a full application to make the best use of the whole site; 3 much nicer, larger 2 bed apartments with private outdoor space and still room for 3 parking spaces etc. Due to overlooking constraints etc we couldn't use much more of the space for buildings so they'd still largely be on the same footprint, but two storey. However the council indicated at the pre-application stage that they'd have issues re: change of use due loss of employment, even though the site's run-down and all other formerly commercial sites around it have already been converted to residential. So we went for Prior Approval (Permitted Devlopment regulations) instead. It's been granted on the basis of just outlines of the apartments, so theoretically the next stage is to submit a full planning application to detail how we'd turn the current buildings into accommodation. My question is - now that the council can't prevent the site becoming residential, can we ask them to be pragmatic and allow the best use of the site, i.e. something similar to our original plans? Obiously this would mean submitting a new full planning application. Surely this makes more sense than them insisisting we build the smaller, uglier scheme which would house less people? What are the regulations / guidelines? How would we go about this, has anyone experienced a similar situation? Thanks for your help! Lee For reference this was my previous thread (March 2017) re: different queries about the same property: https://thepropertyhub.net/forum/topic/5836-how-much-should-i-expect-to-pay-for-a-planning-and-change-of-use-application/?tab=comments#comment-23299
  17. I was the preferred buyer on a probate property last year that fell through because the sellers fell out. I've just been told it's available again and I have first refusal for the next few days. What follows is bit of ramble with some questions interspersed. The property is currently use class A1 and has been for several decades at least but would have originally been a house. The property on the left door is still a house; the property on right and subsequent properties are offices & shops. The shop currently fronts directly onto the pavement. There is on street parking although it is already busy. It is on bus routes and within 800m of the town centre. As I understand, it would normally be within PDR to convert this to C4 residential. But it is within a conservation area of the town which means full planning is required. I have spoken with one group of planning "experts" who say that it is reasonable to apply for and expect to get permission for a C4. I have asked the council who said I need to apply for planning to find out. Other buildings within 100m have been converted from office/shop to residential - both flat and HMO. The internal floor space is 49.5m2 per floor and there are two floors. It is likely that the attic could be converted too (although currently there is no separation between the houses in the attics). I understand that 50m2 is required for a one-double bed flat. But I do not know if that allows for stairs to get up to the 2nd floor flat etc. In other words, is the 50m2 required for the internal area of each flat? Am I likely to get planning to convert to residential and is flats viable? The property is essentially a shell or would be after a little gutting. Ideally all chimney breasts and stacks would be removed to make more space. What would the baseline costs be for converting it into a house, flats or HMO? Having recently refurbed a terraced house in a similar state (which required, full gut and full refit - bathroom, kitchen, electrics, heating, some roof replacement, plastering, decorate, flooring, garden, new water mains, fuse board upgrade, doors & windows etc. ) I have quite a bit of experience and that cost about £40K managing myself and filling in the gaps between the trades. So I think that this would cost a similar amount to convert to a house. But how much to convert to flats if I could get planning or even an HMO. Currently we are not in an Article 4 area although I need planning to convert it to any residential use. So for a house conversion the numbers would be approximately - purchase £150K, refurb £50K, end value £250K. How much would it cost to turn it into 2 flats or even 3 if I put studio flat in the attic space. Would an HMO conversion with multiple en-suites be less than flats? I realise I am not going to get all my ducks lined up before proceeding but the questions at this stage revolve around whether I would get planning or not, how to mitigate my risk and the likely costs of conversion to make sure the finances add up. Many thanks for any advice. Jeremy
  18. Hello everyone! I am so glad to have come across this forum. I'm new here and have dabbled in small scale development in the past. I've recently acquired a large property that I intend to convert into Apartments on each floor. Several Architects have visited the property and said it wouldn't need major works to convert. Obviously, this would be subject to the necessary funding and planning permissions being agreed for the conversion. I'm unsure as to doing it via my personal name or as a Ltd Co. So.. I'm looking to hear from anyone in a similar position or that can guide me on the finance and planning stages. Hopefully, when Ive chatted to a few people in a similar position or after advice, the whole thing won't seem as daunting. Thanks for reading W-Sheikh
  19. Hi, This is a medium-term planning question which I would be very grateful for help with. My current situation is that in addition to a small portfolio of 3 properties, I have salaried job in the public sector (reasonable salary) plus my own business, which is a limited company in a field unrelated to property. The company has been established 5 years with accounts showing good turnover + profits etc. At present, money from Ltd company is taken out in dividends to me or close family and it pays no salary to me or anyone else. The properties are not in a Ltd company, but if I purchased any new properties I would put them in a Ltd company. I wonder if one day I might want to give up the day job and focus on the existing Ltd company (non-property) and property (in a Ltd company or otherwise). I hear from various sources (and remember, although it's been a while) that it is either helpful or necessary (depending on the provider) when taking out a new BTL mortgage to have a salary (eg of £25k+). My question is as follows. If I give up the day job, but my non-property Ltd company starts to pay me a salary instead of dividends, then is this likely to be an acceptable salary for BTL mortgage application purposes? If so, for how long would this need to have been paid before it is taken into account? Many thanks indeed, Andy
  20. I own and occupy the first floor flat of a victorian terrace that has been split into 3 - a 2 storey unit on lower ground and ground, myself on first and another leaseholder, who rents her flat on an AST on the second floor. The LG/G floor flat was bought this year and the purchaser started doing major works to the property - they have started building an extension, works for which started before a planning application was submitted, and have continued while the planning application is being determined (they have a licence for alterations for this from the landlord - they have done major works inside, I haven't been able to gain access to see but it has involved stripping out internal walls on the LG floor and I think also on the ground floor (no licence or permissions for this) - they have started to dig the garden at the front, which is not included in their Title, so they can put French Doors on the LG floor (the doors are part of the planning application, not the garden works, and there is no licence for any of this) I have a number of worries in relation to this - the proposals for the front which they have started working on without permission at the front are ugly and not in keeping with the rest of the street which is in a conservation area - the extension at the back is bigger than the plans that they have submitted for planning approval - my flat is starting to show cracks as a result of the works - I am ultimately worried about the value of my flat as well as of course any disruption What can I do - the council won't carry out any enforcement action because they are 'considering' the planning application and I have advised my freeholder (well strictly speaking the managing agent) who say they have got their solicitors to speak to the owners solicitors but its not making any difference on the ground. Is there anything I can do to at the very least get the works to stop until they are approved by the council and ensure that the works are being done properly so they don't have a negative effect on the structural integrity of my property? Regards Georgie
  21. Does any one have any experience of planning and serviced accommodation? we have a building which we lease out to a SA company. There are 6 self contained units in the building. we have just had a planning notice from the council stating that we have to apply for change of use to a hotel. We own the building and it is used solely for SA. Any advice would be welcome Thank you keith
  22. Hi, I have a loss of about £50k in capital gains losses. Am I right in understanding that HMRC no longer allow losses to be carried forward indefinitely and I will just have to kiss that money goodbye? One option is to sell other properties which would allow me to use the loss before it "expires", but doesn't seem like a very smart idea in general... Are there any other options that I'm missing? This is a pretty bitter pill to swallow if I can't use the losses as and when I wish to sell up in future. Many thanks!
  23. Hello, I'm Rose, I'm a chartered town planner with 5 years experience post degree. I have experience working at a housebuilder, and in both the private and public sector in my relatively short career to date. I would like to invest in property in the long term, but I am making my way through all the podcasts and learning more before formulating a strategy. My initial ideas for my strategy are to work to my strengths in planning. I am thinking of buying land to get planning permission for new dwelling(s) and/or finding existing properties with potential for extension to sell on. However, I am certainly open to other strategies/options for property investment and hope researching will inform this. I live in Bristol so looking to invest around the area. Finance is my biggest question mark at the moment as although I have some savings, I would certainly need to borrow to fund investment, so I hope to learn about the finance options open to me. Rose
  24. Hi all, In short: I see a few amenity areas for sale at auction - public land in/around new-build estates. Does anyone know if there are restrictions in place that require retention of these as public spaces? The background: We live in a new-build estate in Scotland with an area of woodland behind our house which forms part of the estate's common/communal or "amenity" areas which we, as residents, pay a Factor to maintain. Whilst the estate has playparks and areas of grass and shrubbery that are regularly maintained, the area to the rear of us is never touched as it is simply a sloped woodland. I've seen similar areas come up for sale at auction and am expecting that the same will happen with ours after the development has been up for a few years. These sites tend to be so narrow/strangely-shaped that there would be no option to build on them, but I am wondering about the opportunity to sub-divide and extend our garden (and those of our neighbours), Could be an opportunity to add value to my own property and, potentially, recoup more than my original cost by selling corresponding plots to my neighbours (accepting the risk of possible "orphaned" sections). Does anyone know if there are restrictions in place that require retention of these as publicly-accessible areas? I appreciate that the land may come with covenants or TPOs, but this should not preclude their incorporation into private gardens. Thanks in advance, Dan
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