What You Should Know Before Converting Office Buildings

What You Should Know Before Converting Office Buildings

Since 2013, office to residential conversions have been covered by permitted development rights, meaning that converting office buildings to residential dwellings without seeking planning permission. Instead, applicants are required only to make a ‘prior approval’ application.

Planning and Converting Office Buildings

This is a shorter planning process, where only transport and highways impacts, contamination risks and flooding risks are considered by the local planning authority.

These Permitted development rights were made permanent last year, with changes to The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2016. New rights were also introduced at this time for conversions of “light industrial use” buildings to residential use.

This order has also added a new requirement when Converting Office Buildings to complete a noise impact assessment from neighbouring commercial premises on the future occupiers of the potential residential development.

Noise Assessment Requirements

As with other noise impact assessments, each local authority has different requirements. We’ve written a separate article on this subject, which you can find here. Our experience in working across the UK means that we understand these variations and can help you to ensure they are met with minimal impact on your project.

Getting us involved early to complete a noise impact assessment means that you can make an informed decision about elements such as glazing and ventilation to ensure that your development is meets the current standards.

To find out more about how we can help with office to residential conversions, just call us.

Getting the Design Right

Another factor to consider with regards to building acoustics is that the building being converted often was not created to meet residential acoustic requirements. The structure you are working with will often have an unknown acoustic performance, meaning that you don’t know what will be required to ensure dwellings are acceptably insulated against sound. If you get us involved from the initial stages, we can test the structure to determine the existing performance. This means we will be able to help adjust the design as required, so that your residential development meets the acoustic requirements for building control.

Due to the unknown factors in the structure, projects of this nature can be under or over specified in regards to sound insulation from both internal and external sources. By getting an acoustic expert involved, you can avoid paying for unnecessary alterations to design, and can know that any adjustments will be effective.

The Need for Sound Testing

As well as a noise impact assessment, buildings converted for residential purposes will often require sound insulation testing to demonstrate building regulations compliance. Sound insulation testing is a requirement when dwellings share a wall and/or floor, and measures the amount of sound transmitted between dwellings.

We have seen a rise in recent years in the projects involving Converting Office Buildings across the UK, and have experience in managing the issues that can arise if this type of project.

If you have a conversion project on the horizon, or even if you are working on one currently, just call us. Our team of acoustic experts can review your project, provide guidance on the best way to handle any acoustic issues, and identify any costly overspecification.

Speak to our experts

0800 123 4567

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