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  1.  
    We are wondering about buying a neighbouring house in need of reburbishment and retrofitting it as a holiday or longer term rental. One thought would be to take off its pitched roof and replace with a flat one which would improve our view and match our own flat roofs.We’d also give it external insulation and new windows like ours and take down a carport. Would we be able to do this under permitted development as we’d be decreasing rather than increasing the volume? Is there anything else we should consider? (In building terms - the financial advisability is another whole can of worms...)
  2.  
    Hmmm.. Counter-intuitive! Without seeing the 'local layout' it is hard to judge, but my general inclination is to remove flat roofs and replace them with pitched roofs, to reduce the maintenance load, so I wouldn't favour the idea from that point of view. I see your point re the view, though. I rather suspect that PD will not cover this change - it could be (we don't know without pics) a substantial change in appearance. Whatever the answer from your Planning dept., I'd ensure it is in writing.

    Flat vs pitched:

    Flat: 25+ year life. Replacement costs?

    Pitched: 60-100 year life. How old is the roof now?
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeDec 17th 2017
     
    I think you'd need expert advice, with confirmation from the council, that what you propose would be permitted development. I take it you're not in a conservation area or suchlike, since all bets would be off? You'd need to watch for things like increasing the height of the eaves and that what you're proposing had a 'similar appearance' to the existing. Which I guess is what Nick already said.
  3.  
    Thanks, both. I hadn’t realised that changing the appearance weighed against PD - in that case, it might well need planning, as it would be a major change from brick to render as well as taking off the roof. The existing tiled roof itself looks in quite decent condition, though the gutters are leaking badly. I think it was built in the 70s. I was thinking that we’d have to have the roof stripped and modified anyway to accommodated the external insulation, so that redoing it as flat wouldn’t be such a great extra expense, but we haven’t costed any of it yet. Just trying to work out if it’s a realistic option at all atm.
  4.  
    In Sheffield, for example, you may not need Planning permission (i.e. it may be PD) *if* the appearance does not change significantly - so if, for example, render is replaced by insulated render. If insulatd render replaces brick, you nay well need PP. Local policies vary. The best tool you have is a chat (free?) or a pre-application discussion (maybe charged-for, again, depends on the LA) with your council Planners.
  5.  
    An alternative to a flat roof may be to lower the pitch. Reuse of the roof timbers may be possible and the lower pitch may come within the PD rules. Are all the (most/some) neighbouring houses brick or rendered, precedents will help and I would argue the rendered EWI on environmental grounds.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeDec 18th 2017
     
    Has the house been empty for ?? years?

    Perhaps also consider the VAT situation. You would typically pay VAT on all refurbishment work and materials. A knock down and rebuild would be free of VAT on both. Just be aware that you wouldn't be able to use the self build reclaim scheme so you would need to use a VAT registered builder who can zero rate everything to you.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeDec 18th 2017 edited
     
    Without going to look, where in PD does it specifically mention 'substantial change in appearance'? Sure, it's implied all over PD, but I'd think this really could be a kind of PD that its drafters never envisaged, so may slide through.

    Don't obsess about 'keeping in keeping', local materials precedents etc. Think of a radical restyle/modernisation that looks far better than the mundane original (I'm guessing). A profiled metal roof could have as little as 5o pitch, or maybe 12o would look more expressive, with generous, detailed overhang all round.

    Such a roof, without parapet etc, might be no higher than extg eaves, or perhaps lower where it matters to your view, rising to higher where it creates a feel of interior loftiness - low to high is a great internal effect!

    Invoke the '(Near-)PH upgrade' weapon. Every such upgrade tends to look significantly re-styled, usually for the better.
  6.  
    CWatters - it's not empty at all; currently let by landlords who don't see any point in maintaining the outside as they are thinking of selling. I doubt if the VAT saving would be worth the cost of demolishing and starting again, as tempting as it would be to move it where it doesn't block my view of the cathedral and the sunset! And to destroy a perfectly serviceable building doesn't seem very green. But we do need to bear in mind the VAT, as we've got rather used to not paying it.
    Fostertom - the planners were very sympathetic to the modernist design of our Passivhaus (it was some of the neighbours that hated it, and still do, I understand), so they might well be happy enough with a similar looking and performing refurb next door, and just outside the conservation area.

    There's a lot to think about.
  7.  
    One point to consider about buying next door - is the neighbours. Depending upon how closeness of the property bad neighbours can be a pain and sometimes rented properties have tenants that take less care than owner occupiers. If you own the property you have control over who are your neighbours !
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTimeDec 19th 2017
     
    Posted By: Nick ParsonsFlat vs pitched:
    Flat: 25+ year life. Replacement costs?
    Pitched: 60-100 year life. How old is the roof now?
    I've been pondering this. With more modern materials, is the life of a flat roof still really only 25 years? 'Green' roof suppliers are quoting lifespans greater than this as do EPDM manufacturers.
  8.  
    Just spoken to the firm who did our house with Alvitra's Evalon membrane; he says the BBA certificate is for 30yrs, but it's been on roofs in Germany for over 50 yrs now, with no evidence of deterioration. This firm has been doing them locally since '93 and has never been called back except for physical damage to the roof, which they have been able to repair.
    I was beginning to worry we'd have to deal with replacing the roof in our 90s, but I think there's a good chance it'll hold out for the next owners.
  9.  
    Borpin wrote:

    ''I've been pondering this. With more modern materials, is the life of a flat roof still really only 25 years? 'Green' roof suppliers are quoting lifespans greater than this as do EPDM manufacturers.''

    ..and yclairejenkins replied:

    ''Just spoken to the firm who did our house with Alvitra's Evalon membrane; he says the BBA certificate is for 30yrs, but it's been on roofs in Germany for over 50 yrs now, with no evidence of deterioration.''

    The original post did not specify type of flat roof covering, which is why I wrote:


    ''Flat: 25+ year life. Replacement costs?''
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