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Architectural Services Questions

Our expert architects have kindly agreed to share their wisdom on such topics as planning permission, structural surveys, hiring the right architect, architectural drawings, saggy roofs, removing walls, extensions, building plans and much more.

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242 Architectural Services questions

Dutch staircase & split level landing

Hi, we have purchased a mid terrace victorian house that has what I would class as having a dutch staircase, that goes onto a split level landing. To the right you step up about 12" into a bathroom, and to the left another 2-4 (sorry not accurate as not in the house as yet, so just guessing) steps up to another landing for the bedrooms. is their a way to remove this without making the stairs too steep, the problem is, firsty the dutch stairs are at the top, very little foot tread space, then the step up to the bathroom is quiet high, also the step down from the upper landing the distance is quite short, so people do have a tendency to try & jump straight into the bathroom entrance from the top landing.. We can make the bathroom level with one of the steps up to the upper landing, but the problem is on the top turn on the dutch stairs part as it would make it higher to step up to new level. Any idea's please? Michelle

unfinished conversion of a semi-conservatory to a room with a bath

I had hired a builder through this website who, unfortunately proved to be a fraud. he was initially very polite and seemed very helpful and developed good rapport. when about 10% of work was left, he asked me full payment, pleading that he have to make some payments. In a view to help what seemed a good man, I trusted him and made the payments. After that he I have seen him only once, he did not take most of my calls or reply to messages, whenever contact was made he promised to come and complete the job till one day his website went offline. I am now left with a room without building control certificate, the utility/washroom he made is leaking under floor which I cannot use and laminated floor he put on is moving under feet at places. Please tell me how can I get the building control certificate (contact details) and what would be the best way to get all these problems fixed i.e. whom shall I hire now, a plumber or a builder.
secondly is there any way to find out which regulatory site a builder is registered with???
Many thanks

Things to do before buying new flat

Hi, we're in the middle of flat hunting, and have seen one or two flats that we like but think would be improved by knocking down a wall or two. How do we go about this now? We want to make an offer on the property, but only if it is feasible (and within our budget) to knock down these walls. Otherwise we'd be stretched beyond our budget or stuck living in a house that doesn't match our requirements. Can we hire a surveyor or someone to give us an opinion on whether these walls can come down, and how much it would cost, before we make an offer? Help soon please since we need to make a decision in a few days! Thank you all very much in advance.

Smoke smell from neighbours house

Why can I smell cigarette smoke in my built in wardrobe, sons bedroom and sometimes near the boiler in my kitchen from my next door neighbours house. How can I stop it

PI Insurance for structural engineers

Hi all

We are doing a side return (only extending across, not out) on our house in SW London. We are looking at structural engineers. The one builder recommends has 250k PI. Is this enough?

Thanks

Can you build up off of existing rear wall for a loft conversion

We have a very high pitched roof around 18 feet and i was hoping to build up off the existing rear wall up to new ceiling height and just adjust the pitch of the existing roof to create a lower pitch, pitched roof. Could anyone tell me if this is possible?

Additional

Thanks for the reply Andrew.
The property is a traditional Brick and Block Detached property that was built 12 Years Ago.
The Roof is a modern trussed roof design with an exterior built chimney to one end.
The property is 11 metres long and is plain tiled.
We had permission in 2005 under permitted development for a loft conversion which we never carried out,but would like to now go ahead but change the design completely. We are not in a conservation area and do not overlook anyone.

Thanks again Andrew for your reply. There are already gables to both ends of the roof so no hip to gables needed which should help on the cubic capacity side.
We had an extension carried out along the rear last year where the foundations were checked to a depth of 1.5 metres in strip form and at this depth a good substrate was found.
To comply with structural engineers requirements where we took the back of the house out we had to install a massive picture frame steel set up which we have all the calcs and drawings for if needed.
(The inspector from the council remarked that it was way over the top at the time but may help ultimately now we want to build up off of it.)

Thanks
Martin

fees planning application

hi
how much should the below cost me?

planning application at council with drawings
building control drawings with specification
structral engineer drawings

many thanks

Plaster boarding old terraced house external walls

I live in a terraced house, which has been "refurbished". I have spoken to the architect who has insisted this is "good practice" and i fully agree that, on paper, it is much better with the insulated boards fitted. During the work, all the old lime plaster was removed to bare brick work. Back in the day, the bricklayers didnt worry to much about filling all the joints because the plasterer would fill it so behind the boards is very draughty and cold, hence any hole will cause a draught, under skirtings,sockets and switches ect.All cold air is directed under floors. The cavity hasnt been closed at windows and the cheeks have only 12mm uninsulated boards. All the cold air is then directed through any gap. The boards are on galvanised rails dabbed to the brickwork with bonding. I have asked for an air test/thermographic but they have insisted it is not required. In my opinion it is required where 5 or more properties are refurbished.
The houses are of traditional construction circa 1900, stone faced with small cavity then rough brickwork. How can this, although meeting building regs on paper be so much colder than a comporable uninsulated property and costing around eighty pounds a month to heat, without even maintaining 21 degrees in main living area and 18 elsewhere. Its only 2 up 2 down. Any comments would be welcome as i am up against a brick wall so to speak as i am not RICS,therefore they will not even talk to me.

Thank you very much MR Gannon

External walls are insulated via 12 mm polystyrene backed boards, apart from window cheeks and heads (not a separate sheet) No vapour check fitted, galvanised rails bonded to brickwork with board adhesive. The cavity between external skin stone and internal skin is rough brickwork and lime motor.
Closing the cavity at window/door openings and insulating inside the cheeks/reveals/window boards would go some way im sure.
MR Gannon, if you could direct me to some good practice or regulation i can quote it would be great. I am up against a wall as regards advice due to trying to argue against quoted figures, sap ratings and epc. As all materials are bba i am trying to argue "fit for purpose" "good practice" and of course good old poor workmanship.
The flooring is old board with in many places no tounge on the boards.

I realise you are probably a very very busy man, but if you could help me argue my point i would be extremely grateful.
It has become a point of principal, and i really HAVE TO prove things on paper.
I think "polished turds" is appropriate" but all the architect does is quote irrelevant u values to individual items in response to my queries. Refurbishment is supposed to improve the thermal properties, not decrease via air leakage.
Thank you for your comment MR Gannon

Extending existing opening higher

Hi I already have an extension with existing openings from dining room and kitchen and would like to extend them higher to meet the roof of the extension to allow light in from the velux windows in the extension

1. Is this possible
2. What are the steps
3. Rough cost for doing this work

Thanks

Advise in regards to plans for a rear extension

I require a rear extension which on a semi detached in the bromley area. How far out can i extend out. I want to run the extension to the width of the house which is appx 15 meter.

This is a single story extension and the plan is to knock through half the current external back wall into the new extension thereby creating a new kitchen/ dining area at one end and at the far end a living room.

Can you let me know how long it takes for the plans and rough idea of the price including submission of plans and regs.

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