HMO refurbishment and de-classification for RSPCA

RSPCA living space

An HMO property that the RSPCA came in to possession of was in need of substantial refurbishment and de-classification of the HMO status.

Having been recommended to the RSPCA, they contacted us and asked  us to draw up a specification outlining how to convert the property to de-classify it as an HMO. As a charity, the RSPCA had a strict budget and it was imperative that we worked within this remit.

The project

The existing property was incredibly run down and dilapidated. It did not meet statutory compliance and there were several health and safety breaches. The reason the property had an HMO was because two of the existing flats shared a toilet. In order to de-classify it, we had to sigificantly redevelop two flats.

There were numerous challenges in this build due to the age of the property and the fact it had been neglected for a number of years.

Work required

On inspection, flat 6 on the top floor currently shared a toilet with flat 3 (downstairs) so to remove the HMO licence we had to create a new bathroom for flat 6. Due to the layout of the property this involved redeveloping both flat 6 and the adjacent flat 5. To achieve this, we had to allocate space in flat 5 to be the new bathroom for flat 6. This required knocking through walls between the two flats and then constructing  new walls to accommodate the revised layout.

Once the main structural work was completed, we then had to fit new bathrooms and new kitchens in both flats, including all appliances and flooring.

The plumbing was a major issue. In order to get the feeds to the shower room and waste water away, we had to  reconfigure the existing pipework to ensure correct falls and pressure.

Throughout the process we identified a number of additional enhancements that could be made. One example of this was with the electrical work. Instead of simply meeting statutory compliance, we identified an opportunity to make the property energy efficient as well. This involved rewiring the existing electrics and fitting energy efficient lighting and storage heating throughout.

Once the structural work was completed, we completed the second fix including all plastering, tiling, flooring (which included both carpets and vinyl safety flooring) and decoration. We also fitted two new bespoke wooden sash windows and fixed existing sash cords where possible and regulatory fire doors and linked fire system.

The outcome

Once completed, the house was able to be declassified as an HMO. In addition, it was now fully compliance with health and safety and fire regulations. Due to the improvements in utilities, the property was much more energy efficient as well, leading to lower utility bills for the tenants.