Convert Commercial Property to Residential


Converting an office into a residential property in the UK? Converting an office space into housing is financailly rewarding, when done right. But it’s important to understand the regulations and requirements before getting started. This guide walks through the process of converting UK offices into residential properties.

Receive planning permissions and conscents from all relevant parties, including local government offices, before proceeding with construction work

Before considering an building works on an office building, a good idea is to see whether permissions are required from local and regional authorities. This includes obtaining planning permission from local government, and other relevant authorities, such as English Heritage or the National Trust. It’s important to confirm that all necessary permissions have been granted before beginning work on a conversion of commercial premises.

Determine Eligibility for Commercial to Residential Conversion.

The UK government has created a permitted development right of converting commercial buildings into residential dwellings without prior approval, as planning permission is not required. To qualify, the building must have been originally used as an office and should be capable of being safely converted into 1-6 residential properties. However, particular property may need planning permission, so it’s important to check the planning history of the building, as past applications or permissions may affect the ability to convert it.

Check Your Local Council Rules & Regulations.

Before attempting to convert a building into residential dwellings, it is essential to check the local regulations and restrictions. Some councils may have stricter rules in place than others, such as limiting the number of properties that can be developed in an area or restricting certain types of development, or whether they are within a conservation area. You should also find whether the commercial-to-residential conversions will need to be updated or added during construction, such as electrical cabling, waste water connection and gas mains.

Get Permission from the Local Authority Planning Committee.

Once you’ve surveyed the building and obtained new permitted development rights from the council or local authority, you’ll need to submit a formal planning application to the local authority planning committee. This will require detailed plans of your proposed development, including information on access routes, parking arrangements, proposed design features and any other relevant details. Your application should also include an environmental assessment report as mandated by UK law. The planning committee will then assess your proposal – usually over a period of 8 weeks – before issuing their decision on whether to approve or reject change of use to residential.

Apply for a Building Regulation Completion Certificate and Safety Certification.

When the construction of your residential conversion project is complete, you’ll need to apply for a Building Regulation Completion Certificate. This process requires that you provide evidence that all works have been carried out in accordance with the approved plans and building regulations, as well as satisfactory completion certificates from tradespeople who have worked on the project. You’ll also need to get safety certification from an accredited testing laboratory if you are using materials or fittings not covered by the Building Regulations. Once approved, these documents will help ensure safe occupancy and legal compliance for your new dwellings.

FAQs: Converting Commercial to Residential Properties

Q1: What is a commercial property into residential conversion?

A: A commercial-to-residential conversion is changing the use of a commercial building into a residential one. In some cases obtaining planning permission for property conversions.

Q2: Do I need planning permission to convert a non-residential to residential?

A: Yes, you generally need planning permission from your local planning authority (LPA) to convert a commercial property to residential. However, some conversions may be permitted under permitted development rights (PDR), so it’s worth checking with your LPA.

Q3: What are permitted development rights for commercial to residential conversion?

A: Permitted development rights are a set of rules that allow some types of development to be carried out without the need for planning permission. PDR for commercial to residential conversion allow for the conversion of commercial properties to residential homes, subject to certain conditions and restrictions.

Q4: What use class do commercial properties fall under?

A: Commercial properties typically fall under one of the following:

  • “A1” – Shops: includes retail shops, hairdressers, and other similar types of businesses
  • “A2” – Financial and professional services: includes banks, building societies, estate agents, and etc.
  • “A3” – Restaurants and cafes
  • “A4” – Drinking establishments: includes bars, pubs, and other establishments for the consumption of alcoholc beverages on the premises
  • “B1” – Business: includes office buildings, light industrial units, research and development units, and other similar businesses
  • “D1” – Non-residential institutions: includes schools, hospitals, libraries, and other similar businesses

Q5: What changes are required for a commercial to residential conversion?

A: Changes required for a commercial to residential conversion will depend on the specific building and its current use class. In general, you may need to make changes to the building’s layout, install fire safety measures, improve thermal insulation, and more. You should consult with an architect or specialist to determine the specific changes required for your conversion project.

Q6: Can commercial properties be converted to residential without planning permission?

A: Some commercial to resi conversions may be possible without planning permission under permitted development rights. However, always check with the local planning office – It’s worth getting your ‘ducks in a row’!

Q7: What is class E of the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO)?

A: Class E of the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) is a UK planning classification that permits the conversion of non-residential buildings, such as office spaces and shops, to residential homes without the need for full planning permission. The conversion must meet certain conditions, such as the building being of certain size and not being located in a conservation area, to be eligible for Class E.

Q8: What do I need to consider when converting a commercial building to residential?

A: When converting different kinds of commercial building to residential, you should consider the following factors: planning permission requirements, local conservation area restrictions, building regulations, the cost of the conversion, resale value, your return on investment (ROI), squares metres of the footprint. You may also need to consider the type of property you are converting, its size, and its location, as well as the funding options available to finance the conversion.

Q9: Is converting commercial property to residential a good investment?

A: Converting commercial property to residential can be a good investment, it depends on several factors; including the cost of the conversion, resale value of the property, and demand for residential properties in the area. It’s also worth considering the return on investment (ROI) you can expect from the conversion project, and where the commercial property market rentals are – HIGH means more expensive property!

Q10: How can I fund the conversion?

A: There are a great number options for financing a commercial to residential conversion: these include development finance, bridging loans, and commercial oands. But, best to speak with a financial advisor or lender to determine which option is best for your specific project.