Conversions to flats
Are you looking to convert a dwelling into flats? Do you have a commercial unit in London that you would like to change its use and convert into flats? Whichever it may be, whether you are a residential of commercial client, the team at MSK Design will be able to assess your needs and guide you on the right development path.
MSK Design have undertaken many developments involving conversions to flats in and around the London area. Over the years we have found that the policy requirements are becoming increasingly stricter over what can be achieved and where.
Planning policies and legislation are becoming far more definitive than previous years over what should be achieved in all flat conversion developments. Considerations for all regulatory requirements really need to be considered at the design stage. At MSK Design, the very first that will do is:
- Identify if there are any planning restrictions to your property
- Identify the total area to be converted, and confirm if this complies with any minimum standards set under local policy
- Identify the accessibility rating to public transport (PTAL Level) and confirm the sites recommended density rating against the London Plan.
- Identify provisions for amenity and car parking
These items will need to be considered first during the feasibility study, to confirm if the principle of the development can be established and whether what can be built is feasible.
During the design stage leading into the planning submission, regulations associate with the following policies need to be considered:
- Local policy requirements
- National policy requirements.
- The London Plan.
- The London Housing Design Guide (LHDG).
- Lifetime Homes standards.
- Energy efficiency standards that may be set through BREAM assessments, Part L compliance or The Code for Sustainable Homes.
- Day lighting and rights to light.
What does this mean to you?
At MSK Design, if you are seeking to achieve flats through conversion works, we will not expect you to be full versed in the regulatory requirements before meeting us. The first thing that we will do is review the scheme and update you on the scope of works required to address such a development. We will then issue you with a proposal for our services to deliver the planning aspect of the development which will outline:
- The project brief
- The required scope of works
- A design management plan
- Our program of works and payment schedules
- A list of team of professional consultants selected specifically on the anticipated requirements of the scheme
What Happens Next?
On appointment of our services, a design team of specialist consultants will be formed that will be co-ordinated and managed by MSK Design. This allows our clients to focus their attention on what they would like to achieve with the flats, and leave the planning, design, logistical approach and technical detailing to us.
You may be wondering what the design process would involve for us, in order to address your planning submission. We summarise the typical sequence of events as follows:
- Before design works commence on any such developments, the principle of the development needs to be confirmed.
- Once the principle of the development is confirmed, the development needs to be massed out in a manner that is compliant with local policy. At this point we can assess whether the scheme would be feasible.
- Once feasibility is confirmed, the plot needs to be assessed for any concerns addressing environmental and ecological matters.
- Once environmental and ecological matters are addressed, the accessibility, amenity and parking provisions for the site need to be confirmed.
- Design works commence addressing the clients brief.
- A cost plan is prepared for the scheme addressing provisional sums and anticipated costs for the development to assist the client in understanding potential costs for the development. If budgetary costs are deemed an issue, the scheme is scaled back during the design stage.
- Submission of pre-app, to assess the scheme against policy compliance, and commence negotiations with the planning department over design and any other raised policy issues
- Post pre-app assessment, and alterations to the design where required.
- Appointment and management of specialist consultants where required for the preparation of final documentation that may include assessments for:
- Energy efficiency
- Acoustic impact
- Ecological impact
- Aboricultural impact
- Environmental impact
- Flood impact
- The cost plan is revisited, and a revised cost plan is generated (if required) to assess any significant changes to the scheme. This will also include any new aspects of the scheme introduced in the pre-app response. If the scheme exceeds budget requirements, the design is reviewed and reduced back if required. Alternatively, the scheme is considered under a phased approach to enable sustainable financing for the development.
- Submission of planning application.
- Application monitoring and negotiations with the planning department at application stage.
- In the event that the application receives too many public complaints, representations at planning committee.
- In the event of a planning refusal, an appeal against the decision or a re-submission with amendments.
- In the event of an approval, any planning conditions set by the planning department will need to be addressed.
- Commencement of the next stage of works involving the construction package, building specification, structural design and fit-out.
Before commencing works, please note that developments to buildings that are under shared ownership will need additional consents prior to the commencement of building works. Where you are not the freeholder, or may have ‘share of freehold’, you will require a ‘License for Alterations’ to be achieved before any building works can commence. MSK Design have been involved in many schemes that have required a ‘License for Alterations’, and can guide you through this process
Development Opportunities in London
Converting a London property into flats is becoming an increasing popular type of development for many home owners. We have found this type of development to also be very profitable for our clients, but not all properties can be converted. If you are looking to convert your property, MSK Design can offer a sensible and cost effective approach towards identifying your development potential, and then delivering it. Our knowledge with local planning policy and experience in this development type will ensure that your time and money is not wasted on planning guesswork.
At MSK Design, we understand how to unravel the complexities of the planning system through good project planning, no two projects can ever be the same. Our knowledge of local planning policies combined with a wealth of experience on this development type gives us the ability to work closely with our clients and client contractors, to ensure that everyone starts off on the right foot.