The number of barn conversions we see have increased in recent years, with owners of agricultural buildings looking to reclassify their barns as dwellings.
What does Class Q mean?
This is the technical term for Barn Conversions, which falls within Permitted Development. In general terms, it means you have pre-determined planning permission to convert your barn, it will however need to meet a number of conditions, such as: (to name but a few)
- The barn must have been in agricultural use on 20 March 2013, (or in agricultural use within 10 years before applying for the change of use – whichever is the lesser)
- The building must not be listed.
- Once converted, the building must be no larger than the original footprint, ie no extensions will be permitted.
- The building must be structurally sound. Reinforcing of the structure is not permitted, but an independent mezzanine floor is permitted.
- The barn must reflect the original use, so windows and doors can be added, but only those that are “reasonably necessary”
- The property must not be in a Conservation Area, National Park or Area of Natural Beauty but can be located within the Green Belt.
- The regulations do not allow the introduction of new foundations, loadbearing floor slabs or significant rebuilding works.
Class Q and your Local Authority
The classification is meant to make it easier to convert a disused barn, however, you will need to engage with your local authority to determine whether their ‘prior approval’ is required.
To apply for the Class Q, you apply in much the same way that you would submit a planning application. The Local Authority can only consider the transport impacts, flood risks, contamination risks, noise, design and siting.
Why do I need an architect if I don’t need planning permission?
We have the knowledge and experience to know what you can achieve within the legislation and can also appoint other consultants to perform essential reports such as a Structural Appraisal, to check the adequacy of the existing structure with respect to current or future use.
The technical conversion of the building needs to be carefully handled to ensure that it remains within the parameters of the Class Q. An architect will be able to creatively consider both the best way to convert the building in space terms but also in technical terms. We also have an in house Planning Consultant who we work closely with on all Class Q applications.
What reports need to accompany my Class Q?
By altering the use of your barn, you may be affecting your local environment. A Flood Risk Assessment will need to be carried out and the report submitted. Depending on the site, further reports such as Noise and Contamination may also be required.
This project is typical of a Class Q; The brief for this project was to convert this barn into a family home. Structural glass was used to act as a foil to the massive solid nature of the existing brickwork. Major spaces were left full height to maintain the essence of the building whilst providing the accommodation required by a large family.
The contemporary approach to the design ensured the existing qualities of the barn were still maintained and brought to life again in a new modern aesthetic.