Conversion can be defined as a change in function or change in use, such as converting an office block and making it suitable for residential use.
Adaptation means the process of adjustment and alteration of a building to meet new requirements.
It is key that before embarking on the conversion or adaption of an existing building that there is a thorough understanding of its properties, both structural and building fabric. With this knowledge, correct diagnosis can be made, as can informed decision making.
The following issues require careful consideration:
- Building Construction: Identifying the exact method of construction in conjunction with the materials used must be ascertained to understand the implications of alteration i.e. which elements are load-bearing or structurally significant.
- Building Condition: Are there defects that require rectification and will prevent the proposed works being feasible from a cost point of view?
- Statutory Compliance: Where a building undergoes a change of use planning consent may be required and it must comply with the current building regulations, with consideration required to elements such as; thermal insulation, sound insulation, means of escape, fire protection and accessibility.
- Building Suitability: This relates to the size and shape of the building and requires careful examination to ensure it will meet the Client’s requirements.
- Legal Issues: It is possible that the adaptation of a building will involve work that requires a Party Wall notification, or fall under the Construction Design Management Regulations or The Equality Act (replaced the Disability Discrimination Act).
- Clients Project Brief: It is critical that the Client’s requirements and expectations of time, cost and suitability are examined to ensure that there is a common understanding between what the client is expecting and what can be delivered within the set parameters.
- Sustainability: The traditional driving forces of time and cost are usually the most influential; however, consideration needs to be given to sustainable practices. Examples of this would be an appraisal of the condition of the existing roof covering – is it in a suitable condition so that it can all be reused or will other materials have to be found to match?
- Budget: All important before getting too far with matters – do the proposed works fit with the Client’s budget?
AG have a wealth of experience in this area and can assist Clients from the initial stage of a project right through to handover of the completed building.