Sector
Residential

Type of Works
Licence to Alter

Overview

We acted as landlord’s surveyor in respect of a licence to alter application from a leaseholder in this converted school in north London. The leaseholder, also a shareholder in the freehold-owning RMC, wished to take full advantage of the double-height ceilings in what used to be a classroom, and build an additional mezzanine to create some homeworking space. (There was already a mezzanine bedroom in the flat).

The lease stated “Not to make any structural alterations or additions without landlord’s consent” hence the leaseholder diligently sought permission.

This was a particularly interesting application. This Victorian School was converted to flats around 20 years, with the high ceilings and mezzanine a unique selling point. And with the recent change in working habits to homeworking, this leaseholder saw an opportunity to create a separate working area, thus demarcating ‘work’ and ‘living’ spaces – the sort of separation not everyone is lucky to have in their flat.

Once we had submitted our report to the RMC directors and they subsequently agreed to the work, the leaseholder’s professional team demolished non-load-bearing walls to form new doorways and erected the new mezzanine level. The mezzanine required installation of new steel columns and beams, with the beams bolted to the main wall of the flat with resin anchors.

This was a ground floor flat, hence there were close to zero loading considerations. Had these works been proposed for a flat on a high storey, that would have been a different case. The mezzanine level needed to comply with building regs in respect of its glass balustrades to minimise risk of falling from height.

There were potential Party Wall considerations however the leaseholder having taken advice (which we agreed with), there was no cutting into a neighbouring wall, floor or ceiling, therefore no Party Wall notices needed to be served.

Taking as much pressure from the managing agent as possible, we worked closely with them to serve the best interests of the RMC and enable the leaseholder to fulfil their homeworking vision.

The finished result was a modern, ‘floating’ home office, which would serve as an extra selling point if the leaseholder decided to move on.

School and church conversions make for very special spaces for residential units, the available height being key to maximum creativity.

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