Change of use : office to residential

Change of use : office to residential

In our recent search for new business premises, we came across an office that we feel would make an excellent conversion to residential. The solicitors advert advertises it as a ‘potential residential conversion opportunity’, but they were unwilling to help much more.

Clearly we would not wish to place an offer without guaranteeing that we would be approved for conversion. Would we need to submit full architectural plans for our proposals, or is a simplified version sufficient? In any case, can we make enquiries without even owning the property?

I have a feeling the building is class B or C listed.

  1. Thanks for your enquiry.

    It is likely that you would need architect’s plans and elevations for the property showing existing & proposed layouts. An application for change of use from Business to Residential is supported by demonstrating that residential Planning policy criteria are being met. This would likely include proving that the quality and size of accommodation is satisfactory, there is sufficient daylight, floor area, etc. A discussion with the local planning department will be helpful in determining exactly what level of information they would expect, as it may vary depending on the property location and context. A pre-application preliminary enquiry may also provide some comfort as to likelihood of a change of use being acceptable in principle.

    Beyond a change of use, a building warrant will also be required. This needs to be considered up front to ensure that you have confidence in advance that the property is capable of being altered to meet domestic building regulations – for conversion of a property, the Regulations that apply are similar to that for a new build and therefore quite onerous. You need to be sure the necessary works are achievable or not disproportionate (particularly if the building is listed as well, as some alterations may not be allowed).

    You could also enquire as to whether an offer can be made on the property “subject to planning permission”.

    Please let me know if i can help further. Thanks

    Stuart Bishop
    0774 8022274

  2. William FordWilliam Ford09-02-2013

    Thanks so much for your detailed reply, that’s certainly given us food for thought. I will look into getting a meeting set up with the planning department and your idea for a conditional offer on the property seems very sensible. I’ll be in touch if and when we decide to make the move.

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