Structural Alterations - what does this include?

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    Structural Alterations - what does this include?

    Hello, I am in the process of renovating a flat with a 189 year lease. My partner and I want to turn the existing living room into a kitchen/living room. The existing kitchen will remain where it is as a utility room, only removing the cooker.

    To do this we will have to add water pipes to the living room (through one wall or under the floor). We will not be moving any gas.

    our lease states ‘the tenant hereby covenants with the landlord as follows; not to make any structural alterations to the demised premise without the landlords written approval of the plans and specifications thereof (which approval shall not be unreasonably withheld) and to make all such alterations with such plans and specifications and at the tenants expense to obtain all license for approvals of plans, permissions and other things necessary for carrying out of said alterations, and to comply with the bi-laws, regulations and other matters perscribed by any competent authority either generally or in respect of specific works involved in such alterations.’

    please can anyone advise whether this work will be classed as structural? We do not believe it is as it will not affect any walls, ceilings or windows and can find no definition to suggest that it is, however our freeholder is directing us to his solicitor who is insisting we need a license for alterations.

    Please can you help?!

    Write back to the freeholder (NOT the solicitor) saying:

    The structure of a building is those parts which support and enclose it, that is the foundations, roof and external and loadbearing walls. Our proposals do not involve altering any of those parts. We therefore do not understand why your solicitor maintains that a licence is required.


      Thank you so much for your response.

      so from the info I’ve outlined, you agree that the work we would like to undertake is non-structural and thus we can continue without the license for alterations?

      the freeholder lives in the building so we are keen to maintain an amicable relationship.


        "From the info I’ve outlined" are the key words. The devil can be in the detail. You need to be sure that nothing structural is involved. I would in any event wait a while to see if there is a response.


          You need to make sure you do not compromise fire exit routes from other parts of the flat particularly if above the first floor. Ground and first floors are deemed escapable by jumping out the window.

          You need to ensure that high risk areas such as the kitchen are not on the escape route from the bedroom and the kitchen has a door between it and the escape route.


            Why ?
            Who would ever come inside your own flat to check "exit routes" ?


              Just because no-one is likely to come and check up on you is no reason to avoid building regulations pertaining to fire safety. Which is what Tipper has pointed out without saying so directly.


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