Conversions - General Question

Project overall questions & guidance

Hi all, we are in process of buying a semi-detached house which was built around 1925-30`s. The house hasn`t been touched for 30-40 years which means a lot of updating to do. I have read several great suggestions on here and made a list according to that.Things to do;

Two walls will be knocked down as part of the improved plan. 1 doesn`t require building regs as it`s only a stud wall but other one between kitchen and dining room does require application. I will get an architect to draw the changes and details of the RSJ and submit this but can I start work as soon as I submit this application and do I need to leave the RSJ open (not boxed) for inspection? I am also planning to remove a window and insert a French door instead, does this require building regs application and can it be included in the RSJ application?

2-1st fix plumbing
Do I need to replace 70-80 years old piping with new? If yes, should I go for plastic or copper pipe? Which boiler would you recommend(how much will it be)?

3-1st fix electrics
I am a competant DIYer and for cost savings + for the love of DIY, I would like to chase the cables myself. A friend of mine already gone through the process but I wouldn`t mind having a second look at any other guide websites to see how to DIY electric 1st fix, any suggestions?

4-1st fix joinery (door frames and new floor)
In one of the posts it has been suggested to do new flooring at this stage, would it not be better to leave it to the end of the works so I will not need to protect the new floor all the time? Why not do the floor and skirting boards at the end?

5-In the survey it mentions that the floor of the cellar might be composed of asbestos containing material. Who do I need to contact to get this confirmed?

6-Council grants and deals
As we will be doing loads of improvements for Enegry Efficiency, are there any grants or government deals we can apply to get financial support or cash back?

7-Kitchen will possibly be from B&Q and bathroom will be bought online as the online prices are better than anywhere else. Any suggestions on where to get kitchen and bathroom?

8-The house is on a slope so ground level at the front is 1st floor at the back (cellars at the back of the house). I found a sample image on web which will give you the idea of the slope.
I would like to build a balcony at the back and add stairs to this balcony to access the back garden. Does this need to be included in building regs. application? Who does this kind of steel balcony extensions?

Thanks a lot for all the suggestions.

2 Answers

Best Answer


Ref Plumbing: If its working....let it work. Pipework will outlast most of us, if however on stripping the house you find it to be 'on its way out' then replace hidden away pipes with plastic (its cheaper/easier/safer and slowly taking over copper) external pipework replace with copper i.e. to a bathroom basin where kids can get to!

Ref Electrics: I'd get a full scope sparky in! People (D.I.Y'ers) dont want to mess with plumbing beacause they dont want to get wet.....but hey, when it comes to electrics then dont mind dying! There are alot of new regulations regarding electrics and need to be adhered to for your own saftey and that of others. Dont risk it.

Hope this little bit helps.

Answered 2nd Feb 2013

Titanium Trades

Member since 21 Jan 2013

Your first stop will be building control who will answer your structural queries.
I would suggest you start again with copper pipe mostly.
Electrical chasing and first fix you could work with your electrician if you get on well.
The rest will need a visit from appropriate trades.
The balcony probably carpenter and steel fabricator or builder.

Answered 3rd Feb 2013

Bates Carpentry and Building

Member since 23 Jun 2011

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