There are plenty of reasons to convert an existing building for your home and an old barn which is full of character and tradition is an ideal option, the sort of character you can’t easily imitate when building a new property and often located in a rural setting which would be a trial to achieve traditional planning permission given the strict planning rules limiting the building of new dwellings in the countryside, barn conversions are becoming more popular for those looking to move to the country.
As with any property, it is important to have the building surveyed before committing, I suggest you approach a designer with experience in the field (this is not a typical project and using a general building surveyor may not give you the response you need) for advice working closely with a structural engineer to assess the structure, an experienced team will have covered most situations previously and this information will save you time and money.
From this, we will be able to gauge how much work will be involved, the costs and what challenges you may face throughout the project.
The first thing to consider is the existing structure and if that happens to be a listed building you will need to maintain the historical features whilst transforming the building into an efficient modern home.
You should focus on finding sympathetic solutions for historical structures such as designing a separate internal structure which is self-reliant protecting the integrity of the listed building, cleverly designed foundations avoid undermining the existing structure whilst providing and excellent structural solution for the conversion.
I would suggest starting by assessing what you’re looking to achieve in way of accommodation and how this will alter the interior or functionality of a property.
It is possible to build the conversion around the existing features such as oak beams and quirky openings like arrow slits and hay loft doors, the depth of the existing walls and the new structure are significant and energy efficient whilst providing attractive features like window seats.
The external facade can be restored and existing materials reused to maintain the look and character of the building.
You can design the building to be highly efficient exceeding the current building regulations in many cases, using modern high performance materials you can provide a comfortable modern home to outperform more modern contemporaries
One of the most attractive features of conversions is that like new builds, they are largely free of VAT which you will be able to reclaim under HM Revenue & Customs Notice 431C. This means that if you use a VAT-registered builder, they will invoice their work and materials at the reduced rate of five percent, while any materials you buy yourself will be charged at the standard VAT rate.
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