Building regs needed?

A while ago I applied for planning permission and building regs for extending an offshoot of the house. In the event it turned out too expensive for the benefit we would gain (about a square metre of floor space). However, we were planning on cutting back on the plans a little and going ahead.
Now, we just got notification that the building regs application has been deemed null and void. This caught me by surprise because the planning permission still has three months to run, but I guess I should have known the score - my fault entirely.
So the first question: do the planning regs people ever listen to a plea of ignorance? Do they ever change their mind once they notify you of the regs expiring? We did not get any warning, just a notification after the event (you would have thought they could have afforded a postcard before it happened, since they have my money).
Next question: I don't think we need the planning permission now anyway, since what we intend to do does not affect the external appearance. I'm not so sure about the building regs. We intend to replace a solid concrete floor with something more insulated. Also we want to insulate the internal walls.
But mostly - there is a big wooden lintel holding up the back end of the house, between the kitchen and the tiny offshoot. I would like to replace that with a steel lintel, perhaps raised by a brick or two. Does that require building regs notification? We are not moving or removing any internal walls - just replacing like-for-like, albeit Victorian wood for modern steel.
What do you think? Should I just get it done (assuming the calculations are done right) or do I need to reapply for building regs, giving them just a part of the original plans?
-- Jason
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In an earlier contribution to this discussion,

Anything structural like that *does* need building regs approval - but I wouldn't bother with full plans - just do it on a Building Notice. You can take as long as you like to do the job - as long as it's *started* within 3 years of the acceptance of the BN.
--
Cheers,
Roger
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Roger Mills wrote:

That's the problem with the existing BN - I failed to start in time. I had March in mind as the date as that is when the planning permission ran out. I forgot the BN runs from the date it was applied for, and not from when the permission is awarded. I was aiming to start it January or February. It is just annoying that they don't send out a reminder, but that is not really how bureaucracy works.
Thanks for the feedback. I guess I am going to have to cough up another load of dosh.
-- JJ
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Cost things out carefully...

That is a lot of effort and could end up incurring secondary costs depending on what you find re BCO staring at foundations or not, or no lintel over drains and so on.
If it is carpetted can you not improve the insulation at a penalty of height? I assume carpet over 3-Tog PU underlay over thin ply over 12.5mm Celotex over a sheet of polythene over concrete isn't possible? People tolerate a step for laminate flooring for example. 3-Tog PU vs 1.1-Tog rubber makes a noticeable difference on solid concrete floors.

You like messy jobs don't you :-) The universe emerged from the outlet of an angle-grinder with diamond disc... that's how big a mess they make.
Frankly I would do that this winter if possible, I think -7oC to -12oC is likely before this winter gives up and potentially much heavier snowfall. The worst that can happen is someone wants to core drill to see if you used 65mm (or whatever) Celotex. Indeed if a room needed Aerogel in order to get the requisite U value in a thickness limited by door-to-door butted frames that can't be moved any closer then I would certainly NOT pay a fee on top since stuff is 20/m per 20mm.
I would however use BC for lintels, whether done by me or especially if done by anyone else. I realise a counter is that BC inspection has no legal guarantee that regs are met - it is something that needs to be changed and BC need to be privatised if necessary with insurance backed inspections. If a structural engineer is contracted to inspect works as having met his specs then that contract is enforceable, not so with BC inspections. At present a solicitor will tell you the paperwork BC turn out is toilet paper as it has no legal value, there is no redress.
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js.b1 wrote:

The original plans had it dug out to a depth of 30cm, with a suspended floor. It's overkill IMO, especially considering *anything* over the top has to be better than what we have now.
The wooden lintel splits in the back room in half and we cannot lose any height without raising that lintel. If I could raise it by four inches then that would probably give us enough height to lay down insulation on top of the concrete floor improving the room a lot.
What I want to avoid is digging out the floor myself, as I am not confident in doing so without disturbing the structure of the building. I have no idea whether that floor is holding the walls apart (it probably is). That is probably why the plans we originally had were so expensive to get done.

This room is likely to be the kitchen, so being able to put down something solid would be an advantage.

The back offshoot is solid wall - just a single skin in some places, as it was once a coal shed and "poop-and-ash room". Option 1 is to knock it down and rebuild it. Option 2 is to strip it clean and rebuild on the inside.

An aerogel wall or ceiling would be nice :-)
I think the frustrating thing here is that what we have now is very poor indeed - draughty, cold, poorly insulated. I am looking for a smaller step than a complete rebuild that does not involve a lot of cost in bringing it up to strict standards. To me, something better than we have now is better than nothing, but that is probably not the way to deal with it. I expect I am going to either chose nothing or a hefty lot of building work to relevant standards (with inspections etc). It kind gets jobs put off.

Noted, will do.

-- JJ
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Ah, but it is your 3rd paragraph which sheds light...

That (lintel) is the BN to do.

I would not touch the floor. You are going to end up "fixing" the original design to modern standards and gain very little for doing so. All you will gain is an insulated few inches of concrete screed - which is a few inches of "thermal store", without underfloor heating. Underfoot I suspect 10mm of Marmox would feel warmer.

Were the original plans a suspended wooden floor? I ask because washing machine, CW & HW plumbing, dishwasher, overflow seal, water splashes and wooden floors in a kitchen do not sort of go together - at least they are lesser than concrete with say fall to a backdoor or flapped "flood" drain. I've no idea if you can 12.5mm celotex the floor, then plywood on top. However an alternative may be to just remove the screed you have and use an insulated screed if such a thing exists or say 10-20-30-40-50mm Marmox under tiles.

If you knock it down it will have to be built to modern standards. That it is a single skin (ouch!) may imply issues re foundations.
Define what you want. If it is insulation, just strip & insulate. Since it IS single skin in places I would SBR the walls, then keraflex, then 6mm marmox (single brick is not waterproof), then 65mm Celotex between battens, then 25mm Celotex over battens (stopping cold bridge), then water resistant plasterboard. If the room dimensions drop too much, I believe you can split insulation - all walls must achieve a certain minimum with other areas overinsulated to compensate. That may mean you can insulate 150mm behind kitchen units and 30mm above.
If the kitchen still has lead gas, it is legal if copper/brass at each end but boxing in gets "involved". I would use the opportunity to get it replaced with 1-piece Tracpipe (google for it) so no joints, no leaks, plastic covered, behind units, done. More expensive parts than solder-stuff, less expensive labour than solder-stuff so little difference. Tracpipe is 1-piece which rules out missed solder joint on the rear.
Aerogel is extremely expensive, it is really for tiny 2x3m lean-to kitchens with three outside walls, solid double brick, big window, backdoor, solid uninsulated floor, bare quarry tile. Aerogel is too expensive to use generally (although I am suspicious the manufacturing is so not dissimilar to polyethylene foam re slurry of silica & gas, autoclave - silica is a waste product) since the same type of reticulators are listing it or similar.

A note here. I would only dig the floor up for a new extension or similar. For example check carefully what load is on the lintel - just in case you find you need not just padstones but wall strengthening & foundation strengthening. There can be some odd surprises.
With a house there is a balance between "do" and "move". I would insulate as best you can, ie, PIR foam to current standards and not bother with a BN for that. Whilst you are not removing plaster to insulate a loft, I see no sanity in trying to make people do a BN for wall insulation as it defeats the economics. Worse I know of 3 houses locally where BC have insisted on stupid "DPC / battens / insulation" which has resulted in interstitial condensation destroying kitchens with kitchen companies just walking away re warranty and BC saying "well that's how we want it done". Unsurprisingly house insurer lawyers wanted it done differently and it now is, no BC involved. Could the market itself reverse Gordon... sovereign debt market speculators may do what voters will not.
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js.b1 wrote:

I can't say I understand all of that, but with the keywords you have included, I have lots to read up on now. (Just doing some Google searches, it is making a lot of sense.)
Foundations are always a worry with these older houses, and so not digging up the floor is definitely an approach I would like to take.
There is no lead gas pipe, but there is a lead water mains to replace. So I understand the issue with the gas pipes, am I to understand that generally continuous runs (of certain types of piping) can be blocked in but all joints much be easily accessible?
Insulating behind the units is a good point. I bet that often gets overlooked.
-- JJ
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I would.

Lead water mains are fun. If you are lucky it enters the concrete floor from directly below, if not then things get more interesting. It can be simpler to lay a new water main, because that way you do not lose the old :-)

Solder joints need not be accessible, Compression must be. Boxing in can be problematic, Tracpipe is plastic sheathed and supposedly avoids any problems because it acts as ducting which is open at both ends for leaks (yes the ends are silicone taped but that is not gas tight). Basically boxing in is w.r.t. allowing a buildup of gas, particularly where that may end up ducting into cavities which must be sleeved through.

It does, few people need units so deep (they can't reach the back). So it makes sense to shorten the units (or use short units) and use substantial insulation levels. It avoids a known cold bridge problem and protects your plumbing, I'm one for accessible rather than inaccessible.
Make sure you get isolation valves where they are accessible if at all possible. I am probably unique in preferring a CW stoptap w/drain outside in a heavily insulated and heating-tape protected enclosure. Plastic pipe makes it possible, but fittings can push off so perhaps solvent weld or better "barbs" (like chinese "mesh-tube finger-grab").
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js.b1 wrote:

The local water company recently replaced the lead pipe up to the property border, which leaves me with about four metres to replace on my side of the gate (they did it when I wasn't around, otherwise I would have asked them how much to extend it up to the house wall at least).
The pipe is only a few inches below the concrete back yard. Getting at it will not be difficult. I'm surprised it has never frozen.
Until we replace it, we run the water well in the morning and use a filter.
-- JJ
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Often quite a bit :-)

Ah... you lucky so-and-so (re easy to find).
That said, I assume it IS the water pipe and you have opened whatever meter "cupboard" and confirmed you are not supplied by the very similar looking Paper Insulated Lead Covered (PILC)? Putting a spade through PILC is not to be recommended, the bang from mother's neighbour doing just that was deafening.
The new pipe I think has to comply with water regulations, which the utility company will inform you of. That means it must go deeper or be run in (very) expensive insulated duct. www.bes.co.uk do insulated ducting for shallow burial. Authorised plumber is not required, install compliance is.

Interesting, I assume it has been tested ok (ie, not just adopted).
Marmox is the strongest stuff, but needs "something on top". I'm surprised no-one has come up with a "composite insulated floor" for the numerous uninsulated concrete floors out there.
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js.b1 wrote:

Yes, definitely. The pipe runs directly from the stop-cock in the back lane to where it comes up just inside the house through the concrete floor. The electrics and gas all come in the front of the house.

A deep burial yes. I already have some plastic piping left over when a neighbour did their pipe a while ago.

Well, it did test just over the legal limit for lead, which is why the water company replaced their part.

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wibbled on Saturday 02 January 2010 20:59

Actual results of that, in my house, now that it's been cold for a while:
1) My kitchen floor - slate direct onto screed onto concrete onto earth. Cold. As expected. But a very solid floor. Might actually be a blessing in summer to cool the tootsies on... More cheese Grommit?
2) Son's bedroom. Same subfloor + 12.5mm Marmox, 4mm acoustic foiled foam underlay, 15mm wood floor. Quite pleasant. Very pleasant actually. Not UFH pleasant (I have had the pleasure before) but very nice compared to an untreated floor. Kids sit on it and play without freezing their botties off.
3) Bathroom. 20mm Marmox, ceramic tiles bonded on top. Again, not bad at all. Walk on in socked feet - cool but does not suck the heat out of your feet bones like the kitchen. Absolutely without a doubt totally worth the extra effort.
I was in two minds about the kitchen. Marmox would have been nice, but there are washing machines bouncing around and stuff and I would have had to set several screed pads instead of Marmox in various places (as I did under the bog and bath feet, on the advice of Marmox tech) that it would have all been too much trouble.
I think I shall deploy 10mm or 12.5mm in the hall though. I'm a bit worried about shoving a piano over it, but at least that's a static load that hardly moves, unlike 90kg of Miele washing machine which wobbles 4 times a week.
So yes, for a more comfortable floor, Marmox is a very practical answer.
--
Tim Watts

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Tim W wrote:

Thanks. Personal experiences is the best reason for coming to these news lists :-)
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wibbled on Saturday 02 January 2010 22:35

Sorry I cannot give anything more quantitative. Surface temperature would be meaningless as it's the ability of the floor to suck heat that determines its coldness to feet, not its ambient surface temperature.
Though I feel an experiment coming on, along the lines of insulating a metal can of hot water except for the base and measuring how fast it cools down when left on various floors. Unfortunately I don't have a lot of my usual junk like thermometers to hand...
--
Tim Watts

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On 2 Jan, 22:18, Tim W wrote:

Miele? Wobbles?
Their machines are supposed to vibrate gently like an overfed tomcat, not wobble.
Owain
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wibbled on Saturday 02 January 2010 23:29

Yes - maybe I should get around to tweaking the feet!
--
Tim Watts

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On 2 Jan, 23:34, Tim W wrote:

Or disengage the "Bored housewife" setting ;-)
Next year's model will probably have self-adjusting hydraulic legs.
Owain
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On 2 Jan, 18:36, Jason wrote:

Couldn't you start whacking off some plaster and say you started last year?
Owain
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Owain wrote:

Don't you need to inform them of the start date, so they can visit you on the day the work commences? You haven't started unless they have seen you starting.
-- JJ
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On 2 Jan, 19:39, Jason wrote:

You did. It must have been delayed or lost in the postal strikes. You've been waiting for them to get back to you.
Owain
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