You see them films, perhaps in home magazines or as part of grand TV projects - the converted building. Once a church, now a home for four. Once a warehouse, now a set of trendy London flats.
If you’re looking to buy your own ‘fixer-upper’ outside of the residential box, then here’s our guide to taking commercial buildings and transforming them into a dream home…
What is your property’s ‘use class’?
So you’ve found the ideal building to convert but what category does it fall into?
To organise Britain’s many buildings and their uses, local authorities sort them into ‘use classes’. They come in four parts: A, B, C, D.
Part A: covers shops, pubs, restaurants, and other professional services, such as estate agents.
Part B: covers offices, industrial buildings (excluding those involved with waste or chemical treatments), and storage units.
Part C: covers residential buildings, such as homes, hotels, and care facilities.
Part D: covers non-residential buildings, such as creches, schools, and clinics. It also includes places of leisure, like the cinema or gym.
These parts come with their own detailed sub-categories, to get a full picture of what ‘use classes’ are about, see our full guide.
Do you need planning permission?
To convert a commercial property into a residential one, you’ll need to change its use class. However, this doesn’t always mean you need planning permission.