Freehold "landlord" refusing permission for renovation work - unreasonable?

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  • Freehold "landlord" refusing permission for renovation work - unreasonable?

    Hi there,
    Would really appreciate some advice...
    I own one of 6 flats that were converted from a large detached house. All 6 of us freeholders comprise the managing company/landlord.
    The flat is a very old Victorian one and hasn't been touched for decades. I want to install gas central heating but because the mains gas meter is at ground level, and my flat is on the first floor, the existing pipe work isn't sufficient for my new combi boiler. The gas man has been unable to follow the track of the existing gas pipes (they go underground and disappear into the house somewhere!) and has suggested that I run the new pipes that are needed up the wall at the front of the house and into my flat at floor level.
    When I put this proposal to the other freeholders one of them objected saying it would look too messy.
    I'm now in a situation whereby I can't start the work without a licence from the Landlord. Is the Landlord being unreasonable in withholding their consent? What are my options?

    Thanks in advance for any advice/insights you can offer me.

  • #2
    I think the gas man just wants an easy job.

    There must be other routes you could use. Have you tried using a stud finder to trace the existing pipe yourself? Are there any disused chimneys that could serve as service ducts?

    Comment


    • #3
      Gas pipes, water and electric pipes cables should be confined within
      the building, and not screwed onto the outside.

      I don't think they are unreasonable.
      But your gas pipe must be very small if cant even light a boiler ?

      Is it your gas meter that is on the ground floor ?
      If so, looks like you will have to go through the building into your
      flat with a new pipe, and it costs what it costs to do so.

      Also, are you not using a computer, as your lines of text are only
      3 or 4 words long. (Best to use a computer for the internet )

      Post number 2 gives some good suggestions.

      Comment


      • #4
        While the freeholders could withhold permission, the problem is that as a statutory installer, and the easements in the lease, they can pretty much go and do as they like in terms of installation.

        However as the meter is on the ground floor the pipework to the flat is yours so that does not apply, and you are faced with routing it through as far as is possible existing conduits.

        it might be that the cost and disruption to your neighbours is so great that they reluctantly accept that you are in law and under your lease entitled to a gas supply, and the threat of applying to the county court for their unreasonably withholding consent, that they accept the external pipework, routed as sympathetically as possible.
        Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

        Comment


        • #5
          I think you'll find that there may be safety reasons why your new gas pipe should be run outside the building...ie not going through any other flat.

          Comment


          • #6
            But your gas pipe must be very small if cant even light a boiler ?



            Combi boilers need a 22mm pipe and most old pipework is 15mm. I had this problem when I changed to a combi boiler and thought I would have to run it all the way back to the meter in the basement. However when they lifted the floor boards they found the 22mm pipe had been split to 15mm to the boiler and gas hob. I would suggest further investigation below the floorboards. Most plumbers would prefer to feed in a new pipe as it is easier.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for your replies.

              There is already a 22mm pipe coming into the property. It splits out, and is reduced to 15mm piping before serving the existing gas hob and gas fire.

              The boiler installer has told me however that, in view of distance from the gas mains meter - at ground level - and the number of 90 degree turnsneeded to run the pipe work from the meter into my kitchen, where I want to site boiler, then the pipes will need to start off very large 28mm(?) as otherwise the gas pressure will not be high enough to run the boiler.

              As far as I'm aware there's no reason why a gas pipe can't run on an outside wall. Other properties have this set up too.

              Chimneys exist, but are in use, so can't use those for my gas pipe "run".

              I didn't realise there were special tools that can detect where pipework runs. Will discuss that with gas man.

              I suppose the only thing left for me to do is to locate the existing pipe work - underground and through my neighbours property/ies and replace it with wider bore piping...

              It seems unfair to me that other leaseholders can have gas pipe work outside but I can't since the addition of "my" pipe work would spoil the external appearance.

              If I asked a court to decide on "reasonableness" of Landlord withholding consent, which court would I need to apply to? Presumably I would need to meet costs of both sides. If I "won" the case would the Landlord then be liable for some or any of the court costs incurred by me, including solicitors for the other side (I'm happy to represent myself in court)?

              Sorry about format of email - seems to happen when an iPad is used....

              Comment


              • #8
                Forget about courts.

                I would find a less greedy/lazy gasman. Someone may correct me, but I fail to see how something as small as gas molecules can possibly be impeded by bends in a pipe.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The gas man has said that the problem is the drop in pressure that occurs the further away from the gas mains supply the boiler is. He likened it to a water hose. He said that the longer the hose pipe is the more the pressure drops as you move away from the tap. He said that the pressure that you neeed to end up with at the boiler is determined by regulations. And that pressure will be effected by distances, gas pipe bore, and number of right angles...

                  It that's not correct I'd sure like to know that before I go digging up the ground outside the house and drilling into internal walls to put new, larger bore, gas pipes in there!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    A quick Google directed me to page 29 of this book:

                    http://www.gb-gas.co.uk/gb-gas%20Qui...uide2010v2.pdf

                    You'll have to do the calculations yourself. It seems to suggest that each bend adds 0.5m to the theoretical length.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I've had a look at that but it's double-Dutch to me!
                      It does seem tho, that as my gas man said, the are several factors which will determine what type of pipe is needed.

                      As a rough estimate there is a distance of approx 20M between my gas mains and the site where I want to install the combi boiler and about 5-6 elbow bends will be needed along that length.
                      Last edited by Smiledotcom; 10-12-2012, 10:10 AM. Reason: Revise metered length

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Smiledotcom View Post
                        Thanks for your replies.

                        There is already a 22mm pipe coming into the property. It splits out, and is reduced to 15mm piping before serving the existing gas hob and gas fire.

                        The boiler installer has told me however that, in view of distance from the gas mains meter - at ground level - and the number of 90 degree turnsneeded to run the pipe work from the meter into my kitchen, where I want to site boiler, then the pipes will need to start off very large 28mm(?) as otherwise the gas pressure will not be high enough to run the boiler.

                        ..
                        I have the same set up as you on the first floor with the gas mains in the basement at least 50m from the combi boiler with numerous bends. Not one of the 3 plumbers that I had to quote said I had to increase the pipe to 28mm. I only needed to increase the size from the split to the boiler to 22mm and the hob still runs off 15mm. I have had no problems with the boiler for the past 3 years and there is plenty of pressure. FYI all combi boilers in Spain run off 15mm pipes with no problems. You do not need to go to all that extra expense.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Mmm, interesting.
                          Has that combi boiler installation been signed off by a Gas Safe / Corgi registered GCH installer?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The current regulations on pressure drop off are significantly more stringent than the appliances can handle.

                            That said, given that no has asked the simple and vital question of what the incoming pressure is should be used to gauge the quality of any advice.

                            Regarding the FHs refusal to allow the pipework externally. Is there an internal route through communal areas?
                            There is always scope for misinterpretation.

                            If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

                            Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Have just met with gas man again. He said that the longest that a 22mm pipe can be run for is around 9 metres.
                              Might be able to run the pipe into the communal hallway, box it all in, and run it up to my first floor flat from there. That's of course as long as nobody objects to that.
                              Does anyone know how it works with Freehold properties such as mine - where all leaseholders own an equal share of the freehold? Do any changes need to be agreed by ALL freeholders before a licence can be granted?

                              Comment

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