Wednesday, 27 July 2016

BW Reed & Son Ltd (Builders)

Some 10 months after my garage conversion was supposedly completed, at substantially more than the quoted price, I still do not have building control sign off.

There was a problem over the way the membranes in the walls was done, but the builder convinced building control of that, leaving an issue with "fresh air" requirement "which is a consideration of Part F of the Building Regulations with a view to protecting your long term health".

Basically, at this stage, we need an extractor fan installing to meet the building regulations.

Personally, for fresh air, I am happy to open the internal door to utility room which has a window, if I need it. I can't see how that is different to opening a window in the room. But it seems that is not good enough!

Paul did arrange several other contractors, quoted/paid separately, but arranged by Paul for electrical, windows, flooring, decorating, etc. But Paul is the main contractor I engaged to do this. My recollection is that he said he would ensure it meets building regulations - I would not have hired him otherwise.

The work was done on a building notice without formal plans, which is fine. And Paul said it would be fine. Though now he is blaming lack of plans for the fact there is the "fresh air" issue. As it happens I did a 3D model for him at all at the start (with no fan) so he knew what was planned.

The window contractor asked if I wanted opening windows or not. I said no (as I never open them normally) and he explained the window has a vent at the top anyway. He seemed more concerned over windows as a means of escape, but as the small room has two separate doors then that was not an issue.

At no point did anyone say we needed air circulation, but 10 months down the line after it is all done, apparently we do.

What is surprising is that Paul is passing the buck - claiming it is not his responsibility. He is blaming the electrician, but I suspect the electrician could blame the window contractor just as easily. Only someone co-ordinating the whole thing could really have sorted this, and that is Paul.

At the end of the day, the electrician was not "doing a garage conversion", and neither was the window contractor. It is Paul that was "doing a garage conversion". So I am surprised at Paul not taking responsibility as the prime contractor, and passing the buck, but that is the way it is.

So, I am paying yet more money for a fan to be installed so we finally get this signed off. No, I am unlikely to ever turn the fan on as it will be noisy. A box-ticking exercise for the council and a waste of money.

So, beware engaging a builder that claims to ensure the work meets building regulations.


  1. Part of the pain is that building regulations are expected to allow for the plausible use of the room by the next owner.

    You might be happy to just open the door, but the next occupant may decide that it's a home office, and the door has to be kept closed at all times to keep their 5 year old kid out. Opening windows would then solve the airflow worry, as would a ventilation fan.

  2. Personally I would have had windows that can open, which is less intrusive than putting a big hole through the wall for a fan that won't ever be used.

    My dad keeps getting windows that can't be opened fitted in various places, and running into this problem. Apparently in a garage that is attached to the house and accessible by an internal door (ie. part of the house), you're required to have ventilation. The howling gale coming under the garage door is not enough, they claim the door might be replaced by one that is sealed (yeah, right, I've never seen a garage door that doesn't let a gale in). My dad is still arguing about this with the relevant authorities, but if he loses he'll swap the window for one that opens.

    1. Indeed, if someone said "do you want windows that open or a fan" I would have said windows (or linux), but that was not a choice I was given.

  3. You might consider single room heat recovery ventilation. That goes all the time at a low level so will keep the air fresh without being noisy and without losing significant heat in winter. An example is the Vent Axia HR25; there are others. The MVHR option is covered in Part F.

  4. Consider an Envirovent fan. They are very very good at moving air and so silent that you have to look at the LED to see if they are on. They also do a model that is automatic and turns on as needed to keep moisture out of the air. They are worth the money specially as they are cheap enough for the basic model and really do move some air. Plenty of YouTube videos out there if you wanna look.

  5. You really do need ventilation though. Otherwise you're sure to run into mold problems (the aircon will help with that but you don't run that 24/7)

    1. Well, they said it is for fresh air. The AC is 24/7 as it happens. There is a vent in the window so there is some air circulation.

    2. The specific intent of that part of the regulations is to prevent the build up of moisture, and that's achieved by bringing in "fresh air".

    3. The air-con prevents moisture, they say fresh air for me, not for moisture!