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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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    • CommentAuthormalakoffee
    • CommentTimeJul 30th 2019
     
    Any comments or experiences might be a useful guideline before I spend money trying to buy the place.

    The cottage itself is a piece of precious heritage. Some sacrifices will need to be made in order to live in it.

    However, the timber frame with brick infill is likely to be perishingly cold in the winter. [ Thatched roof ]
    I suspect that any attempt to insulate would be impractical / prohibited.

    However, there is a large ( & ugly ) outbuilding in the large garden. Under normal (non-listed) circumstances this would be an obvious candidate for a upgrade to a highly insulated, comfortable winter cabin.

    I'm sure I would need to speak to the planning department at some stage prior to purchase.
  1.  
    It might not be very straightforward to work on the outbuilding if you speak to the planning dept. Even though it is unlisted, it may be regarded as being in the curtelage of a listed building and so subject to listed building consent. We had problems with fitting solar PV panels to a 1990s garage at the back of our grade 2 listed home. It was refused and then allowed after appeal (and a lot of stress)

    What I learned from the whole experience was that it's better to just do the work and tell no one. The planning department, especially the people who deal with listed building consent, seem to base their decisions on their own idea of aesthetics rather than apply common sense to a situation. We got lucky because the 'aesthetic' listed building officer moved on to better things and was replaced by a younger guy who was very much into green energy and applauded our attempt to reduce the carbon footprint of our home. He was instrumental in us getting through the appeal.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJul 30th 2019
     
    Establishing exactly where the curtilage of a listed building extends to is not always straightforward, though often it means the gardens. Any buildings in the curtilage are indeed subject to the listing rules, so it's possible that if you mention improving it to the listing officer they might instead tell you to pull it down as it doesn't have permission. :shocked: So yes, be very cautious about dealing with a listing officer.
  2.  
    This opportunity is beginning to slip away.
    The estate agent revealed that the seller is a bank/financial co.
    Upon the death of the previous owner, the bank got ownership due to an equity release contract.

    It is necessary for them to maximise the value of the sale. Thus, they have already attempted to get Planning permission for a modest new dwelling on the site of the existing outbuildings ( within the curtilage ).

    This attracted a lot of local objections. It was refused.

    Thus, the winter-quarters plan shrinks back to a replacement outbuilding for PV and solar water panels on the roof + a good amount of space for heat store and related solar equipment . . . . that just happens to have a small amount of free space for a bed and a desk. . . . . . .

    . . . . either that or a well-insulated winter yurt.
  3.  
    As the cottage is not a grade 1 listed building, you do have some latitude for making internal changes that could make the house livable in winter. While I have a dim view of some of the listed building officers at my local council, their overriding concern these days is making sure the houses are lived in and therefore maintained. If no one can afford to heat them, then they will just fall into ruin, which doesn't help anyone.

    We were allowed to fit internal wall insulation because we were replacing modern gypsum plasterboard with lime plaster and so it made no difference to add in a layer of wood fibre insulation. We also managed to fit modern double glazing because we pointed out that the windows currently installed were not original. We installed kiln glass that mimicked the imperfections of old crown glass (rather than flat, dead modern glass) and the listed building officer loved that. Providing you can show that your improvements are complementary to the building, you usually get a good hearing.

    Unless you have original plaster mouldings on the walls/ceilings then it should be a relatively easy sell to the LBO as long as you're using lime plaster. TBH, even if you have original mouldings, if they're damaged, you could possibly get a specialist company in to reproduce them (but only once you've fitted the internal insulation).

    We're slowly doing this in our house. We don't have much money and so it's a long & drawn out renovation, but the house does feel much warmer than when we first moved in.
    • CommentAuthorRoger
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2019 edited
     
    Posted By: Pile-o-StoneWhat I learned from the whole experience was that it's better to just do the work and tell no one.

    Great other than doing works to a listed building (or a curtilage listed building) in the absence of listed building consent can attract up to two years imprisonment and/or unlimited fine. Any future purchaser will want to see that your works are not in breach of lbc controls so you’d potentially come very unstuck.

    That said, if you make the case for sympathetic internal insulation e.g. breathable then the CO ought to be ok with that. You can also usually secondary glaze without lbc. Have a pre-bid chat with the CO. Using the outbuilding (which will be curtilage listed if it is pre- July1948 in construction) may be fine too – subject to lbc/possibly planning permission for change of use. It is likely to be better received than a new-build particularly if you pitch the use as ancillary to the main house e.g. a garden office. You might be able to replace it too - just possibly not as a stand-alone new dwelling.
  4.  
    Posted By: Roger
    Posted By: Pile-o-StoneWhat I learned from the whole experience was that it's better to just do the work and tell no one.

    Great other than doing works to a listed building (or a curtilage listed building) in the absence of listed building consent can attract up to two years imprisonment and/or unlimited fine. Any future purchaser will want to see that your works are not in breach of lbc controls so you’d potentially come very unstuck.


    I think they save prison for people who wantonly destroy listed buildings or the character of a listed building. In my case I was making changes to a detached modern (1990) garage that was in the curtilage of a listed building. In the OPs case he was also talking about making improvements to an outbuilding in the curtilage of a listed building.

    Perhaps you have had better experience of LBOs? In my experience, if you involve the bureaucracy of overstretched council planning departments into insignificant details like improving outbuildings, you'll spend 12 months or more filling in forms, waiting, re-filling in forms because the initial form was an old one or yours has been lost. Then the LBO will leave because they were in their early 20s and have moved on in their career and have been replaced by someone else in their 20s who have no idea about breathable insulation materials, lime plaster, lime mortar, and have to educate them by submitting a large document detailing everything you are doing with excerpts from Historic England documents that back up the fact that lime is better than cement. Eventually they say yes to a small job and you get it done and move onto the next one and start the who merry go round again. My lifespan isn't long enough to fit in these annual LBO iterations. Perhaps if I had a huge pot of cash to do all the work up-front then I'd be able to submit the entire plan and then wait out the pre-requisite year in the warmth of my villa in France and then do all of the work in one go. My reality is that I do a project, find a load of new issues with the house while doing that project, which then become my next project. You can lift a floorboard in an old house to try and fix a squeak and discover a world of pain.

    As to future purchasers, my view is that if you do the improvements correctly with traditional materials like the correct stone for the house, lime mortars, lime plasters and you make sure all original features are protected, restored or reproduced then they won't even know you've made changes.

    My most recent project is working on our ground floor fireplace. I've chiseled out all of the awful grey cement pointing in the sandstone walls at the rear of the fireplace and replaced it with lime pointing. I'm also doing the same with the hearth stones. None of this work has LBO consent and none of it will be queried by a future buyer as they will just see the attractive fireplace with traditional materials.

    Here's my blog on the work I've been doing since I bought the house :

    http://www.greenbuildingforum.co.uk/newforum/comments.php?DiscussionID=15384&page=3#Item_21
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2019
     
    Posted By: Pile-o-Stonenone of it will be queried by a future buyer as they will just see the attractive fireplace with traditional materials

    Don't buyers' solicitors routinely send inquiries about what work has been done and is it all approved/to regulation whatever? Then you'd face the prospect of answering with a bald lie, which wouldn't help if there were ever a problem.
  5.  
    Posted By: djh
    Posted By: Pile-o-Stonenone of it will be queried by a future buyer as they will just see the attractive fireplace with traditional materials

    Don't buyers' solicitors routinely send inquiries about what work has been done and is it all approved/to regulation whatever? Then you'd face the prospect of answering with a bald lie, which wouldn't help if there were ever a problem.


    I guess it depends on the nature of the work. When I removed the roof and created a warm roof (with insulation above, between and below the roof joists) I obtained Listed Building Consent. When I fitted new windows I obtained listed building consent. However, when I removed gypsum plasterboard from the walls and ceilings of our guest bedroom and replaced then with woodwool & woodfibre panels and lime plaster, I didn't ask for consent.

    If asked directly "Did you get permission to fit these obviously new windows?" I'll honestly say "yes". If they then say "Did you get permission to replace that plaster wall with a new plaster wall?", I'll say 'no' and have to deal with it.
    • CommentAuthorRoger
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2019
     
    Posted By: Pile-o-StoneI was making changes to a detached modern (1990) garage that was in the curtilage of a listed building

    Fair enough. That would be planning permission rather than lbc if it was a modern curtilage buildings. Might have needed neither. And becomes unenforceable after a few years anyway.

    I agree with you that some COs may be over zealous, and replacing inappropriate modern materials can be said to not require lbc – which is only needed if works affect the significance or special architectural or historic interest of the building. Your stuff sounds like something that anyone with common sense would be quite relaxed about. Keep up the good work.
    :wink:
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