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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    I have friends in England who split their plot, sold off the house and are converting the barn on the remainder. The Regs demanded separate sewage (cess pits) for both properties. The sale contract stipulated that the new house owners had to provide their own cess pit within 2 years. The existing cess pit is on the barn conversion portion and currently has both the house and the barn conversion connected to it. When the house has a new cess pit this connection will be blocked off however the contract gave 2 years for the new cess pit (now 1 year remaining). The barn conversion is done with the exception of the new cess pit.

    Question - can my friends move into the conversion now and wait for regs sign off in one years time when the new cess pit is done and can there be any come back if they do move in? (no mortgage or loans involved)
    • CommentTimeMay 3rd 2017
    I think they need the BCO's approval to move in but other than that there's no problem. So as long as the existing sewage arrangements are actually working well and likely to keep doing so, I don't think there will be a problem.
    • CommentAuthorJamster
    • CommentTimeMay 3rd 2017
    I don't think you need BR 'approval' to move in - we did so without while finishing off over a few months. Inspector came a couple of times during this process and raised no concerns - in fact he mentioned it happened frequently enough in self builds and told us not to be too hurried getting it to completion. Admittedly, the outstanding point was around disabled access (level threshold) and nothing more critical to having a safe home, but the principle is the same...

    Obviously, you'd struggle to sell it on the open market and if you had a mortgage it would be a but more compliced, but in this situation, I'd just get moved in...
    • CommentTimeMay 3rd 2017 edited
    e.g. http://www.allerdale.gov.uk/planning-and-buildings/building-control/occupation-of-a-building-follo.aspx

    "If the building is to be occupied before it is completed, you must tell us at least five days before occupation takes place so we can inspect it."

    Oh and occupying the building will mean it is deemed complete for council tax purposes at that date.
    Thanks for that djh. Do you know if this is a national regulation or a local option. I have looked on the site of the council concerned (Canterbury, Kent) and could find nothing about occupation of a building after building works.
    • CommentAuthorcjard
    • CommentTimeMay 3rd 2017
    There are a few things a house needs in order for the council to consider it capable of being inhabited (and hence chargeable for council tax purposes) and building regs approval isn't one of them.. Typically it's a functional kitchen and toilet as these cover the basic input/output inevitabilities of human life.
    • CommentAuthorGreenfish
    • CommentTimeMay 4th 2017
    This seems to be something that varies with the county council, but I would say generally don't rush - you looked, didn't fine any pressing local rules, so they are behaving reasonably. We were effectively living in our new build for 18 months, doing finishing work e.g. painting, laying flooring, building cupboards etc. before completion. It had all the functional basics, but no one was around to check.

    Got the completion certificate last September, it then took 6 months of chasing by us to get registered at the valuation office and eventually a council tax bill (back dated to Sept), so none of the "soon as you have a roof the council want paying" stuff from Cornwall Couincil, all very reasonable.

    Our independant BCO was happy to complete, he siad they had 100s of incomplete buildings some that way for many years, and the boss wanted to tidy up the books a bit. But living in an uncertified building as we had done was nothing unusual for self build.

    Conversely, the reason to get the completion certificate if to be able to reclaim the VAT.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeMay 4th 2017
    PiH said England but it's worth mentioning that Scottish practice is to get a temporary completion certificate for this. As CJard says, the main thing they want to see is functional plumbing. Without that certificate occupation is illegal. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2003/8/section/21 There's a bit in there about the certifier telling the local authority about issuing such certificates, I assume for council tax collection.
    • CommentTimeMay 4th 2017
    Planning and building regs is a district level thing, not a county level thing. It's also something that is definitely different in England than in Scotland.

    I don't know what the actual rules are. I haven't found them in my searches, which is why I quoted one example. I suggest asking the local building control office.
    This is what I came across:

    RGM Properties Ltd v Anthony Speight (Listing Officer) HMRC [2011] EWHC 2125 (Admin), per Langstaff J:

    '63 ... I am assured by Miss Ward that her best researches and the information, which she has from those who instruct her is to the effect that so far as she is aware there is no legal bar to occupation in circumstances where a situation such as the present might occur. If there were a breach of planning control (for instance) or a failure to comply with building regulations, that might cause legal difficulty for the building owner, but it would not legally proscribe occupation by an occupant.'

    See also The Building Regulations 2010 / 2214 regulations 17A and 35.
    • CommentAuthorMike1
    • CommentTimeJul 12th 2019
    Posted By: Peter_in_HungaryThanks for that djh. Do you know if this is a national regulation or a local option. I have looked on the site of the council concerned (Canterbury, Kent) and could find nothing about occupation of a building after building works.

    That's part of the Regs:
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