If you are upgrading your house in any way, or thinking of moving beware, a new stealth tax is in action. A friend who was trying to sell recently found that her bathroom and flu, had not been subject to mysterious ‘building regulations’ when she installed them ten years ago. She had planning permission and a qualified, registered builder but that was not enough. She has been forced to take out an ‘indemnity’ costing £148 to cover her insurance, or perhaps the insurance of the buyer, not sure. But you have to pay if you changed anything and didn’t know about building regulations, which no one does because they are never mentioned. There has been no problem with any of her alterations and no request was ever made for buildings approval, but that doesn’t matter.
I am also trying to move and today, just as we teeter towards exchange after three months of struggle and doubt, I received a call about my conservatory which I put up in 1998 with full planning permission. Ah but a bit later I also installed a radiator. That required permission from the people who know about ‘building regulations,’ although no one mentioned this at the time. Because there is heating in the conservatory, in fact there hardly ever is, I had to get some kind of statutory permission, or I would now, most of this red tape seems to be retrospective. I have also been asked to cough up the required £148, strangely exactly the same amount as my friend, for this ‘indemnity.’ On top of that there is VAT and a charge of £50 by ‘Enact’ the solicitor. So I have to pay £208.40 for putting in a radiator before these regulations came into force.
If you make any improvements in your home seek out the niceties of ‘building regulations’ first, and they will probably charge you £148 too for your trouble.