Building alterations nightmare - Southwark council
Posted by cpow
14 June, 2018 12:04
So I am in a whole world of pain with the council. I recently bought a flat (leasehold) with the freehold held by the council. I have to go through them to notify of any alterations i want to make (apparently no matter how small).
I moved into the flat and the bathroom was uninhabitable so I applied for approval to change it and started work on it straight away. I changed the position of the toilet and changed the bath into a shower, tiled it all up and it looks great. This work was completed MONTHS ago, and I have only just received the consent in principle for it and some other works (which has taken about 6 months). Reading the report now, however, it says that it is "conditional upon all pipework and shower tray being surface mounted and not chased into the floor or walls".....uh oh! All my pipes are cased in - I thought this was pretty standard in this day and age not to have unsightly pipes trailing all over the bathroom. Has anyone else experienced issues with this and what on earth do i do now? I find it very strange that they won't let you chase pipes in!! Why is this?
I also applied to knock down the wall between the kitchen and sitting room and they have a load of conditions on that, but luckily i haven't started the work.
When they guy from the council came round for an his inspection, he also clocked that the people before us had taken out a chimney breast and not obtained the correct approval, so i now have to apply for retrospective consent for this (something the homebuyers report did not pick up on). Basically the cost of all of this is escalating really quickly and I am regretting having told them about my bathroom at all. I am incurring hundreds of pounds of feeds for all these building permission documents (in addition to all the asbestos reports, structural engineers reports, etc that are being requested).
I know that i shoudn't have started work on the bathroom before getting approval from the council but it was unusable and I couldn't really have showered at work for over 6 months whilst waiting from the unbelievably slow council to get back to me.
Has anyone had any similar problems and can suggest what to do? As I see it i can either go silent and pretend like i've forgotten about the bathroom and hope they don't notice it's been redone :-/ Or i can come clean and tell them that I've already done the work and lump it into the fee I will be paying anyway for retrospective consent for the chimney breast which I didn't know about. Has anyone else actually been forced to undo the work they had done because the council said chased pipes/other things weren't ok?
Sorry for such a long post, I am really frustrated by this whole process and wishing that i bloomin well owned the freehold!!