Wednesday 24-1-24 and we are changing the way we add Unique Property for sale, plus the mini-feature article that goes along with most. Almost all of social media restricts how many word are used in each posting. We are taking a screenshot of each article so that we can continue posting a different unique building every day for you to look at (and possibly buy). You can also read each article at your leisure (or not). Plus it helps us archive the full series into reference works aimed at helping you with your own, bespoke Unique Property adventure. Today we have this curious looking tiny looking home at an auction guide of £100,000 for TWO homes:

Unique Property Bulletin

Building Regs Are Dangerous & Need To Change

Wednesday 24-1-24 and this really odd looking little building appeared on our Unique Property Bulletin radar. We have shared this with you today in case you live in the Yorkshire area and are looking for an affordable home that is a little bit unusual.

This tiny looking pair of houses at: 10 & 10A Britannia Road, Milnsbridge, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD3 4QB are guided as ONE lot by the auctioneer for: £100,0o0 (equals £50,000 per home). That is a guide and includes BOTH houses. Also we know there is a huge “Tiny House” movement (“a huge tiny” ~ is that the definition of oxymoron?). Anyways, when compared with the outside “shed” vibe, it was the remarkably neat interior that captured our eyes. We have a lot of folk looking to go off-grid, and/or buy a smallish home for cash with NO mortgage. A turnkey home on its own land for £50,ooo is a decent price. The outside looks like rural America transplanted into ‘oodersfield!

But spend a moment studying the interiors. It really looks like someone has spent a lot of time and care making this a clean, nice and homely place in which to live. Remarkably so. The writer of these words is used to living in ship cabins and cramped lighthouse accommodation, so this looks luxurious from the perspective of your resident keyboard-tapper. Though a big alarm bell is ringing in our ears. The bells, the bells, they were set off by the staircase of all things. Ironically those stair-ladders in today’s offering to you would look fine in a ship. But in these small abodes? Not so much. We have a “just for fun” competition for you in a moment please.

Back in the 1990s, yours truly had a major fight with a Building Control Officer (BCO) in Argyll. The dispute was by via letters and faxes, not fists. Though the BCO did sustain a major paper-cut to his finger which required two dinosaur plasters on his ouchy.

Why the fight? The house we were renovating in the 1990s held within it a dangerously steep staircase. We proposed a much safer replacement staircase. New and bespoke. But our new staircase did not tick all of the Building Control Officers regulations. Fair enough. In a way, we saw his point. Rules are rules. But the staircase he insisted on would not fit. There was no way the 150 year old building could accommodate the Building Control Officer’s design.

So, as an old Plod, I can offer some less well known advice: in statutory document, you always, always head to the “exceptions and exemptions” section of each piece of legislation. That is where lawmakers’ hide the common sense. In a bicameral parliament, fresh law-makers try to shine the light of common sense in badly written legislation. They add-on bits of good law to most new statutes. Usually (in the UK parliament) the wise folk up in the House of Lords place an amendment to delete badly written parts and also aim to improve the good parts of a new law.

From the law documents, back to the real world and our staircase solution. Sadly we could find no “exceptions” to bring common sense and a SAFER staircase into our home. The result? Mr Pedantic, the brain-fart idiot of a Building Control Officer “won”. We were wanting to spend money installing a new staircase that was LESS steep and had safe steps that were all of equal height between each other. Plus we wanted to install a proper fixed wooden handrail bannister to replace very quaint old rope rails. “Not allowed” was the blunt answer from the senseless BCO. He said the building control rule book required us to have an even shallower angle of descent. Bizarrely we could just leave the old, dangerous staircase in its place. But “the old staircase is dangerous” was our reply. “Doesn’t matter” said the BCO.

This article is about the Milnsbridge houses coming up for auction. This page is also an analogy. Here is just one of many examples of much that is wrong with the Planning Permission and Building Control system in the U.K. If you stay involved with buildings long enough, you will meet an obdurate, pedantic, risky Building Control Officer. The majority of BCOs are good. Just sometimes you get an idiot BCO with a bug up his or her fundament and a middle name spelt: “Pedantic”.

Our steep-staircase Building Control Officer insisted we keep the dangerous staircase in place. Result? A family member broke their ankle on the steep, irregular steps 3 months later. Subsequently, that BCO never attended any of our building sites on his own again. It wasn’t a worry of violence. It was his liberty. Another family member from law enforcement was determined to have the pedantic idiot arrested and had the legislation to ensure a pair of handcuffs being deployed on the officious halfwit so as to protect the public. That Building Control Officer avoided us whenever possible. The family member who broke her ankle has always had pain in the winter ever since. Sadly, now, 30 years later, in her sixties, she has a permanent and painful limp because of that broken ankle. The BCO has a case to answer. We are sorely tempted to name the idiot. But it isn’t really their fault. This is just one example of a systemic flaw in the U.K. Planning & Building Control laws.

What has all this to do with today’s offering… a home for £50,000? We are concerned for YOU. That ruddy staircase in today’s candidate property looks “unlawful” and unsafe. At least for a house subject to modern Building Control rules. Lest you end up repeating our friends broken ankle experience, and BEFORE you bid, please can you do us and all Unique Property Bulletin readers a favour? Use your property Sherlock Holmes detective skills and solve our just-for-fun competition…

Please can one of our readers help us and everyone else? Please find out whether 10 & 10A Britannia Road has ever had documents submitted/passed or rejected by the local planning and building control office regarding those very steep stair-ladders (we would do this, but it is 03.35am in the morning and way past bedtime) We are determined to fit in a DAILY listing for our new format Unique Property Bulletin. Hence the occasional “all-nighter” work effort (including UPB updates). The alternative is you buy a house for a bargain amount and the local building inspector slaps a “closing order” on you and the title-speeds of your new home.

As for the larger issue, U.K. Planning Permission & Building Control law is overdue a full, parliamentary review to make them fit-for purpose. Please feel free to comment below with your own views and experience. Please keep comments polite and constructive. Your contributions really matter as we will be making representations to parliament about this matter. Many thanks. Russ McLean, Unique Property Bulletin.