Advice Centre Articles — Home issues and improvements

The vast majority of building construction queries we receive are about small renovations, such as addition of a room, or renovation of a bathroom. All building construction projects include some elements in common – design, financial, estimating and legal considerations. Some construction projects can have undesirable end results, such as structural collapse, cost overruns, and/or litigation.

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Water Worries

We have just had a power shower fitted. The bathroom and hot press are on the top floor, the pump is in the hot press. We were told we needed to open a pipe to let cold water into the cylinder or else it would burst if it got too hot. We are now afraid to put our heating on for long in case it bursts and floods the house.  What should we do?

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Building Tax Credits

In relation to the HRI (Home Renovation Incentive) scheme can you please clarify if I can reclaim the VAT retrospectively? I had a a variety of works carried out by a registered contractor in 2014 and in early 2015. Recently I had solar panels installed. I wasn’t aware of the HRI scheme until recently and am wondering if I can apply under the scheme now.

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Two Dwellings

I am considering dividing our five-bedroom, semi-detached house into two legally separate dwellings. I understand most of the legal requirements in terms of planning permission, building regulations etc, but my query is in relation to the taxation implications. What is the tax position in relation to each of the dwellings?

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Down the Drain

I am replacing gutters and down-pipes at the front of my house. The existing down-pipes take a route involving two angles to a drain, on my property. To save money, it has been suggested that the down-pipes are simplified, and that they should discharge onto the footpath. Do I need permission for this?

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Vacant Property

I own a commercial property, however it has been vacant for some time. My wife and I have decided to spend some time in Australia. I am terrified that something might go wrong when I am away. While flooding shouldn’t be an issue I fear that wet and cold weather may cause problems. I would appreciate any advice you can offer in terms of what problems might develop and what I can do to remedy them.

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New Build Plans

We are in the process of completing the purchase of a new house in a development. The house has planning permission for a garage on the eastward side of the house. We changed the internal configuration of the house with the agreement of the builder and his architect, however we want to make additional changes 1. Add two new windows in the gable end of the house 2. Build the garage on the west side of the house. Can you please advise if planning permission is required for either or both of these?

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Building a garage

I have just agreed to purchase a house that has no garage and I want to build one and a home workshop as well as a boatshed. Both requirements are in the region of 50sq m, totalling 100sq m either together or separately. I wonder if this type of kit building is less subject to planning? Also, is this style of building eligible for the Home Renovation Incentive scheme or does only traditional construction qualify?