With the UK housing market still struggling to meet demand, more investors are looking at the prospect of converting their commercial portfolios into residential homes but there are a number of areas that you need to consider when doing so.
According to data from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the amount of commercial space across the country is declining at the fastest rate since records were started in 1998. Many of these buildings are being used for residential developments, especially with the loosening of planning rules which has made it easier to make the conversion to residential use. If you’re looking to convert a commercial premise into residential use, what should you consider?
Convert or develop
One of the first decisions will need to be whether you intend to convert the existing building on a site or knock down the property and start again. Both have their benefits on a practical and financial level and it will largely depend on the state of the current property and its suitability for residential use.
You will need to factor in the ability to bring a building up to the right standards for it to be habitable, such as how you can install the appropriate fire prevention measures. One option would be to speak to Automist installers in Bristol about using that system. It can be fitted into existing buildings, even those of a period style, in order to meet building regulations.
Need for planning permission
In 2013 the Government introduced a temporary addition to Permitted Development rights which enables office space to be converted to residential use without the need for planning permission. The current rulings apply to projects that will be completed by May 2016. There is no current confirmation if these rights are to be extended, but news on any further changes or addition to the Permitted Development rules should be made public soon.
If you are unsure if your project meets the requirements of Permitted Development then you should speak to your local planning department. They will be able to talk you through the process and tell you whether your conversion project falls within the rules or requires planning permission.