With the planning laws every relaxing around converting barns or agricultural buildings it is increasingly easy to unlock massive value uplift and create beautiful earthy homes in rural areas. Barns come in a variety of sizes and shapes, which give us architectural designers a big job to do in making spaces work.
The size orientation and outlook will be the key factors in designing a barn into living spaces, they are typically long and narrow in shapes. Making through rooms is not always avoidable, but with high apex roofs you can create wonderful open mezzanines and gallery’s. As with all designs for new builds you need utilities, access, services and to adhere to all the building regulations as you would a new build. Insulation will typically be formed within the fabric of the building, leaving the existing structure as a material finish. All additional openings, windows and roof light will to be in keeping, no one wants white pvcu windows within a stone and oak structure.
Design options are about the internal layout and keeping any external alterations in character of the building and surroundings. Converting barns will generally need to be within the structural shell, so we need to be clever of how to get light in and views out. If you cannot form a first floor via mezzanine then bedrooms need to be accessed from hallways or straight off other habitable rooms. The roof much by vaulted and where possible traditional material finishes such as wood trusses should be exposed. When designing arrange the spaces around the area and then make any opening work both inside and out.
Planning Permission and Permitted Development
It can be difficult to convert a barn through the traditional planning approaches as creating home in the open country side, on agricultural land and protected farm building raises a lot of red flags.
The Barn Conversion clause comes about as part of a new Class – MB – into Part 3 of the Second Schedule of the General Permitted Development Order. This new class authorises change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage from use as an agricultural building to a use falling within Class C3 – dwellings. It also authorises building operations ‘reasonably’ necessary to convert the building to residential use.
The site must have been used solely for agricultural use.
The barn must have existed on by 20th March 2013 (no building new barns!). New barns can be built and converted into homes but must exist as solely agricultural buildings for at least 10 years.
The total floorspace of your barn to be converted must be no more than 450m² – if the barn is bigger, you’ll only be able to convert to a maximum of 450m².
The 450m² can be divided into three separate dwellings.
If the site is subject to an agricultural tenancy, landowners must have the express consent of their tenants.
Barn conversions are subject to the same rules as any new build, you will need provide the following
SAP caluculations, this will design the energy efficiency of the home and give requirement for insulation and heating performance.
The building will need to be assessed for structural stability
Sound testing will be required on completion but all construction elements effecting sound need to be detailed and built in accordance with approved plans.
All other document of the building regulations will need to be checked via full plans approval prior to commencing.
Part B – Fire Safety
Part C – Site preparation and resistance to contaminates and moisture
Part D – Toxic Substances
Part E – Resistance to the passage of sound
Part F – Ventilation
Part G – Sanitation, hot water safety and water efficiency
Part H – Drainage and Waste Disposal
Part J – Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems
Part K – Protection from falling, collision and impact
Part L – Conservation of fuel and power
Part M – Access to and use of buildings
Part N – Glazing Safety (Withdrawn)
Part P – Electrical Safety
Part Q – Security
Building and builders
When choosing your builders ensure the quotation matching the approved plans and specification. If you are going for high end grand design finishes make sure they have the right knowledge and experience. We can help with the tendering processes and provide architectural project management should you want it.
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