Discrepancy between PP and EA's ad re no. of bedrooms

Is this a problem and if so, how big?

We’re looking at a newly built house that we like but I searched for the PP and all of the various records I found allude to a two-bedroom house over three floors, even though the ad says three bedroom and the house is definitely three-bedroom. No attic/ ceiling height issue. All of the bedrooms have full-height ceilings throughout and they are large and all have windows, though from memory one of the bedroom’s only opening window opens into a courtyard - maybe this is an issue (?) Another window faces the street but doesn’t open (one would hope a fire rescue crew could break/ cut it open though in worst case scenario).

Is it possible the up to date PP info isn’t on the web yet? The most recent info dates from around April and the house has only gone on the market.

If they’ve changed the internal layout since planning application granted but rooms still comply with building regs, is it a simple matter to ‘update’ the description? Or, if it can’t be, or isn’t, updated, could it lead to a problem down the line if we were to sell? Can EA even market it as a three-bed if planning only granted for two-bed? :confused:

Also, as I’m here I’m going to ask for a further opinion. Would you buy a house if a small section of the exterior was only accessible through another property? It sort of bothers me that I haven’t seen the outside of part of the house - it’s a mews site so the layout is not standard and there’s no back garden. What if loads of ivy grew all over it or something and we were unaware? Am I fretting and over-thinking things? :neutral_face: I just don’t want to bother putting in an offer if it’s going to be a waste of time.

All bedrooms require “windows for escape or rescue” according to 2006 Building Regs.

environ.ie/en/Publications/D … 640,en.pdf

Handy summary here:
clarecoco.ie/emergency-servi … -notes/#a4

The idea is that you can escape before the fire rescue crew arrive to hose down your charred/smoked remains.

It does have a window that opens, but it opens into a courtyard (the non-opening window is on the other side of the room). The other two bedrooms have windows opening to street. So you could escape into the courtyard but you wouldn’t be able to get out of the courtyard without a ladder if the downstairs rooms were impassable as the wall to nextdoor’s garden is quite high.

I just find it hard to believe they wouldn’t have just put in a different type of window on the street side of the room if that were the problem.

p.s. thanks for that link though - useful.

p.p.s. having read the summary in clarecoco’s doc I think the third bedroom would be compliant, as the courtyard below the window that does open is a decent size and big enough that you could wait there for help if necessary. (I suspect they went with a non-opening window on the other side of the room for looks - it would look a little rubbish with glazing bars which it would need if it was opening as it’s a large oblong window).

Those regs are worth a read. Ladders are specifically mentioned as an unacceptable means or escape.

You generally have to be able to get either to an opening window in the brdroom and no higher than the first floor, or to the front door, and if the latter then the route to the front door must be protected by fire doors on adjoining rooms. This means that if you do a habitable attic conversion on a two storey house you have replace a bunch of doors in order to keep the escape route safe, because jumping from the second floor is not considered survivable.

(I am in no way an expert in this area)

I think we’re talking at cross purposes. All bedrooms have windows that open. The window opening into the courtyard is at first-floor level. That bedroom has a second window on the other side of the room which faces the street but it doesn’t open. I think the house complies with those regs having read them now.

It doesn’t, IMO.

The non-opening window is discounted because it doesn’t open. The opening window is discounted because it doesn’t “facilitate the evacuation of persons out of the
building, and away from the building”. It’s not a final exit.

If the stairs were on fire and the house burned down you’d die in the courtyard. That’s exactly the sort of situation the regs are designed to prevent.

But from the second link:

Perhaps the courtyard is not big enough. I think it is though, and it adjoins a neighbour’s garden (though the wall is above head height). If it’s the case that you must be able to escape to the street then any rear-facing window in a terraced/ mews house is not fire-regs compliant. It also doesn’t make sense to me that the architect would make such an error when they could easily have avoided it by simply fitting an opening window on the opposite side of the room.

Anyway this leads me to one of my other questions.

Can PP be retrospectively updated if the internal layout is changed (provided building regulations are adhered to)/ does it even need to be?

Is there a specific reason why the non-opening window is non-opening? If not, this might seem to be the easiest fix.

You can apply for retention permission for pretty much anything.

As someone who has family experience of a house fire. Trust me the enclosed yard is not where you want to be. Even if you aren’t burnt to death there, you will be poisoned by cyanide and carbon monoxide / dioxide and then your body will be burnt to a pugilistic crisp and they will identify you by your dental records.

Much simpler and way safer to replace the window to the street level.

What is so good about this house that you have to buy it, I’d keep looking

OK, so I had a closer look at the architect’s drawings - they were very small on the ad so I copied and pasted elsewhere and zoomed in (proposed plans which would have been what was submitted for planning application). the bedroom I wondered about and discussed above is definitely marked as a bedroom with a bed in it so it must comply. For peace of mind I think I would probably replace the windows on the outside if someone was sleeping in it full-time (we would be using it as a spare room only anyway so my main concern would be if we had to sell it for some reason would there be an issue). BTW there is also a good alternative escape route from this room, which fire regs take into a/c when assessing compliance too - door to 1st floor roof terrace directly opposite across the landing and even I could probably swing down to the street off that roof terrace.

One of the other bedrooms is marked as a reception/ dining room on the original plans, presumably because it opens out to a roof terrace but IMO there is no need to use that as a reception room and we would use it as a cool, large bedroom for junior.

I dunno, it just seems weird to me that they would ever have called it a 2-bed house given the size of it (c. 1700 sq ft). Why are we interested in it? It’s a bigger house than our current one in a fantastic location from our POV and also quite nice/ interesting architecturally. We could move straight in and it’s all A2 BER etc. Other houses we’ve been looking at in same area are a bit more expensive to start with and require loads of fixing up.

For new builds you need to have 15sqm of private open space per bed space. So a house with two double bedrooms and one single will require a back garden of 75sqm ( front garden area is excluded from POS) Because often planners refuse applications because there is not enough POS for the amount of bed spaces, applicants call one of the bedrooms a study or second reception room so the application meets the criteria.

Aha! Perhaps this could be the reason then. The courtyard is an all right size but not huge and perhaps roof terraces don’t count (that’s quite big though)? I can’t see the measurements for these on my blown-up version of the plans - the text is too fuzzy to read properly.

Roof terraces should count towards it. Have seen a roof terrace area counted as it before.

I reckon the private outdoor space is around 42 sqm in total then at a rough calculation.
15sqm per bed doesn’t make for much high density living though, does it? This house would be well big enough for four people IMO or even five. I know a few families with three kids living in smaller quarters.

In fact, how does this requirement even fit with the fact that you can do a downstairs rear extension up to 40sqm as long as you don’t reduce the back garden to less than 25sqm? I know someone who has three kids and got PP about a year ago for a large wraparound kitchen extension and there’s no way their back garden is 75sqm.

Just goes to show developers will always find away around poorly-written regs. Should really be the open space is a certain % of the internal square footage of the house.

I go by planning permission. EA’s are not accurate, don’t get measurements or other details right - they’re information is merely ‘a guide’.

EG: myhome.ie/residential/brochure/4 … -6/3313022
‘Two bed’ apartment. These were built as one beds with studies and despite them not showing the second ‘bedroom’, you can’t actually even fit a standard size single bed in those rooms - a desk would be about all you’d fit. But nobody will list them as one beds, I can’t recall the last time I saw one of them advertised as what they are. If you can’t even fit a single bed, you’re playing a losing game.

I think you may be thinking a bit too much into this. The ‘description’ isn’t a definitive description of the house that has to be updated as changes are made. Unless planning permission is required, you don’t have to submit anything to the council. That said, many attic bedrooms do not meet regulations. The description may not necessarily match the final house as changes may be made and applications for amendments may be submitted.
Have you reviewed the floor plans of this April planning permission? What are the titles given to the rooms? E.g. is one a ‘study’ and the other two ‘bedrooms’? Often planners seek further information about a project and will simultaneously make recommendations for changes to be made. Subsequently developers will submit ‘additional information’, and those files will contain the new updated floor plans, descriptions, etc. if there have been amendments.

Your concern should be whether all three bedrooms meet planning regulations or not. The description of the house in a planning application on the council’s site is irrelevant and will not affect the value of your house. Whether by law you can refer to the three bedrooms or not will affect your house’s value.

The 15sqm is not in the building regs, Its part of most county councils development plans which are more a planning guide than actual rules, so planers can\often let you away by a few % of this guideline. but I think a 3 bed with c.42 sqm of private open space is pushing it a bit and the applicant probably did not even attempt to apply for that.

Look at the conditions of the planning grant. The Planner could have even put a condition that the house can only be used as a 2 bed. I know of planning conditions where houses with internal garages could not change its use from being a garage due to the house having no other option of off street parking.

And regarding the planning exemption of a 40sqm extension providing you leave 25sqm of garden. The planning rules in this country are far from consistent and fair.