Month: September 2012

VAT and Conversions

I was tweeting the other day about VAT on conversions. An article in Homebuilding Magazine titled (somewhat harshly) 'Incompetent Inland Revenue, helpful H&R' provided the 'revelation' that the conversion of a building that hasn't been occupied for 10+ years (or ever) is VAT exempt. Although 5% VAT is payable during conversion it can be reclaimed at the end of the project. Personally I thought that was bloody obvious. HMRC provides the following guidance (a simple Google search on "VAT on conversions" will get you there): Where the building is a conversion, it must be of a…
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Plaid Cymru’s Green New Deal promise

Borrowing from the New Economics Foundation (in July 2008 the NEF published a report A Green New Deal), the leader of Plaid Cymru, Leanne Wood has promised a "Green New Deal" to rejuvenate the Welsh economy and to help maintain Wales' position at the forefront of Green policies. With a reference to US President Roosevelt, whose New Deal is seen as instrumental in reviving the US economy after the 1930s depression, Wood said: Like Roosevelt in the United States of the 30s, Wales needs a new New Deal. A Green New Deal aiming to provide skills, work, hope and opportunity…
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Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part B Fire safety

Part B is about ensuring that all new buildings are safe in the event of a fire. As of the date of writing, Part B was last revised in 2010 as a result of the Building Regulations 2010. Part B is split into two volumes. Volume 1 deals with dwelling houses and volume 2 with buildings other than dwelling houses. The regulations provide guidance in areas such as fire safety in multi-storey buildings & domestic loft conversions, smoke and heat alarms, the use of door-closing devices and sprinklers, the materials used in the structure and the building methods employed. Both…
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Building Progress August 2012

Shelving and lime mortar dominated August. In the utility room, work continued installing shelving, using wood reclaimed from the animal stalls that once occupied the current kitchen. Using the same materials, I also built a wide high-level shelf in the kitchen that runs level with of the top of the kitchen cupboards and hides the slightly off centre vent pipe for the kitchen extractor fan and provides some more much needed storage. I've also tidied up around the foot of the external walls, filling any small gaps that remained in the pointing or in the join between the wall and…
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Permitted development extension limits to be doubled

In the news today... The government is due to announce a temporary increase in the maximum depth of extensions that can be built under permitted development rules. From next month, the maximum depth of rear, single-storey extensions will double from the current three metres for semi-detached homes four metres for detached homes to six and eight metres respectively. This in an attempt to cut red-tape and stimulate both the construction industry and wider economy. It will be a temporary increase, reverting to the original rules sometime in 2015. I'm not sure that planning permission is what is stopping people from…
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Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part A Structural Safety

Part A is about ensuring that all new buildings are structurally safe. As of the date of writing, Part A was last revised in 2010. The approved documents descibe the requirements in three parts: A1 Loading A2 Ground movement A3 Disproportionate collapse There's lots of building and construction nerd material in Part A - plenty of information on the required thicknesses of walls, the maximum height of buildings, wind speeds and their impact on building design, masonry chimney proportions and maximum floor areas. Specifically from a conversion perspective, the material on differences in ground levels on either side of a…
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