A builder has been landed with a fine and costs of almost £5,000 for an illegal loft conversion that could have put lives at risk. Stuart Payne, 36, pleaded guilty to five counts of breaching building regulations for putting in the loft conversion at a two-bedroom home he built in Ravenswood, Titchfield Common. Payne, who trades as Tildan Construction, asked Fareham Borough Council whether he would be able to convert the roof space to form an additional room. But because of the open plan layout of the house, he was given clear advice that if he did so it would result in serious and dangerous contraventions of fire safety regulations and it would create a considerable risk to the safety of anyone living there. However, he went ahead with the conversion and finished it in May 2008 in order to rent it out. He was later caught out after council inspectors were given a tip-off. Payne, of The Green, Sarisbury Green, was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay £1,285.94 in costs at Fareham Magistrates’ Court.
Councillor Arthur Mandry, who is in charge of the council’s building control partnership, said: ‘These offences were both serious and premeditated and were a breach of the building regulations. ‘Mr Payne’s blatant disregard for the regulations and the advice we had given him had potentially put his tenants’ lives at risk in the event of a fire in this property. ‘This was a new house that had been illegally altered to form a loft conversion. I am delighted that fines totalling £3,500 have been imposed, and feel sure that this will act as a deterrent to others.’
Since the unauthorised works were identified the building control partnership, on behalf of Fareham Borough Council, has used its enforcement powers to ensure that the works are corrected and brought into line with building regulations. They include the installation of a domestic sprinkler system, fire doors and additional fire resisting linings to the floors and underside of stairs. Additional smoke detection measures, a staircase handrail, additional thermal insulation, fire-resisting down lighters and works to the existing drainage system were also ordered.
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Residents are being warned about the dangers of carrying out DIY loft extensions after crews struggled to access a fire. The landlord of a house in Aspley was issued a prohibition notice for converting the loft into a bedroom without council permission. The property caught fire and fire fighters could not access the loft as the hatch space was too narrow. A Gedling Borough Council spokesman said conversions had to be safe. “A loft conversion can be a cost-effective way of creating more space within a house but it is essential the room is safe for people to use it,” said David Ewing, Building Control manager at Gedling Borough Council. “Carrying out work without the necessary permissions may also invalidate their house insurance in the event of a fire or structural problems.” A prohibition notice means a loft space and/or property cannot be occupied until the loft meets building regulation standards.
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This loft conversion will be constructed creating one bedroom with an en-suite bath/ shower room.
This can now be viewed on our gallery page. Loft Conversion Southsea