TOLA logo

Alterations Guidelines

Alterations Guidelines


1.0 Introduction

2.0 Procedure for licensing

3.0 Statutory requirements

4.0 General conditions

5.0 External alterations

6.0 Internal alterations


1.1 Context

Clause three of the First Schedule to the Estate Management Scheme (EMS) requires that all external alterations to freehold properties must be approved by the Landlord by way of a Licence to Alter.

In the case of leasehold properties, internal as well as external alterations require to be approved and licensed.

Both Freehold and Leasehold Owners are referred to the Estate Management Scheme leaflet and, in particular, to the sections headed Alterations on page 5 and Policies under the Scheme on page 7.

Licensing is dependent upon proof of compliance with relevant statutory requirements as set out under clause 3.0 below. In respect of Planning and Listed Building approvals, Owners are referred to the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea’s Unitary Development Plan Part 11, Chapter 4 ‑ ALTERATIONS AND EXTENSIONS TO BUILDINGS and Chapter 5 ‑ CONSERVATION AREAS AND LISTED BUILDINGS. These two chapters set out the policies which the Council will apply in considering such applications.

1.2 Interpretation

These guidelines shall be observed by the Building Owner and all contractors, subcontractors and professional team members involved in the works, to the satisfaction of the Landlord’s Surveyor, Cluttons. Should any doubt arise as to their interpretation, the decision of the Landlord’s Surveyor shall be final. References to the “Building Owner” shall be construed as references to the party seeking a licence or to whom a licence has been granted and their successors in title.

1.3 Disclaimer

These notes are intended for guidance only and are not intended to commit either the Landlord or his representatives and advisers to the circumstances of a specific case.


2.1 Approval of plans

Where it is intended or necessary to erect, alter or adapt the structure, all construction drawings and calculations shall be prepared by suitably qualified firms or persons who shall be retained for the duration of the building contract.

The procedure for the approval of plans and the issuing of a Licence to Alter is as follows:

  • Applicants should submit to the Landlord’s Surveyors, a brief description of the work they propose to carry out together with two sets of proposed plans, elevations and sections and two sets of existing plans, elevations and sections (as applicable) at a scale of not less than 1:50
  • Copies of all necessary statutory consents together with accompanying drawings should be submitted to the Landlord’s Surveyors in triplicate along with advice as to the solicitors to whom the draft Licence to Alter should be sent
  • A cheque for £1000 + VAT, made payable to the Landlord’s Surveyors should accompany the proposals for which a receipt will be issued. This fee is intended to cover the Landlord’s cost in a straightforward and well presented application and is inclusive of the fee for the Licence itself and inspection by the Estate Architect. Further professional costs will be incurred on a time charge basis for consultations on completion
  • Cluttons will instruct the Estate Architect to inspect the property and to consider the proposed alterations
  • If the proposals prove satisfactory then a “letter of intent” to consent to the works proposed will be issued and a copy will be sent to the Landlord’s Solicitors
  • The Landlord’s Surveyors will expect parity between the statutory consents and the original application. Assuming everything is in order, they will formally instruct the Landlord’s Solicitors to issue the Licence and, at this stage, the work may begin on site
  • If, however, there is any discrepancy between the work covered by the “letter of intent” and the scheme approved by the statutory authorities, then the application will be treated as a new one for which a further fee will be required before the matter can proceed
  • The Landlord’s Solicitors will issue the Licence to Alter to the applicant’s solicitors for signature
  • A reinstatement clause will be added to the Licence if the works themselves are substantial in nature
  • On completion of the works a copy of the Building Regulations Certificate must be forwarded to Cluttons.

Cluttons and the Estate Architect are willing to hold brief and informal preliminary discussions with applicants prior to the submission of a formal application to alter.

2.2 Responsibility

It is to be understood that the passing by the Landlord’s representatives of any bottoms for foundations, or assent to any designs, materials or workmanship implies no responsibility on his part as regards their suitability for the purpose for which they are required, and that any such passing shall in no way detract from the full rights of the Landlord under the Lease or the Estate Management Scheme for the Anstruther South Kensington Estates.


3.1 Planning/Listed Buildings/Conservation Area Acts

Approval for the works under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 shall be obtained from the Local Authority.

3.2 Building/Health & Safety Acts and Byelaws

The works are to be carried out in accordance with the Building Regulations 1991 and all subsequent amendments so far as they are applicable, the Fire Precautions Act 1971, the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994, the Control of Pollution Act 1974, the Prevention of Pests Act 1949, the Highways Act 1980, the Party Wall Etc. Act 1996 and all Byelaws and Statutory Enactments of Local and other Authorities.

3.3 Standards of materials and workmanship

All materials and workmanship shall be the best of their respective kinds in accordance with BS 8000 and used in accordance with good current practice. They shall comply with the latest edition of the relevant British Standard Specification or Code of Practice. Construction products must, where appropriate, comply with the EEC Essential Requirements of the Construction Products Directive 1988. No old materials are to be used without the previous written consent of the Landlord’s Surveyors.


4.1 Right of Access

The Landlord’s representatives shall have the right of access to the premises at all reasonable times for the purpose of inspecting the works being carried out and to all relevant site drawings and details.

4.2 Scaffolding

Scaffolding of the independent type must be used and in every case shall be in accordance with BS 5973/93 for steel scaffolds and BS 5974/90 for suspended cradles. No holes are to be cut in the facades of existing buildings for scaffolding or similar work without written consent. Existing railings shall not be used to brace, tie or support scaffolds. The scaffold should not extend over or in front of neighbouring properties and the front and sides are to be fully sheeted. Licences are required from the Local Authority for the erection of any scaffold over the public highway. The Metropolitan Police shall be informed when the scaffold is to be erected and dismantled. Adequate security lighting is to be provided and all ladders are to be removed or securely locked above the first lift at the end of each working day.

4.3 Hours of work

The permitted hours of work are as follows:

Weekdays: 8.00am to 6.00pm

Saturdays: 8.00am to 1.00pm.

4.4 Boards

No contractors’ or consultants’ boards are to be erected upon the property unless written consent has been obtained. No Estate Agent’s boards are to be erected at any time.

4.5 Radios

The playing of radios or recorded music is not permitted within earshot of the street or neighbouring properties.


5.1 Demolition

Demolition shall be carried out in accordance with BS 6187 and Health and Safety Executive Guidance Notes GS29/1, 3 and 4. Compressors, generators and percussion hammers may only be used with the consent of the Landlord’s Surveyor.

During demolition or alterations to existing buildings, the Building Owner shall, by the proper use of screens, enclosed chutes, water and hose‑pipes, make every effort to eliminate nuisance, injury or damage to the public, the adjoining premises, their occupants or contents. The Building Owner shall ensure that at all times any adjacent roadway is kept clear of mud, rubbish and other debris. Rubbish skips must be kept covered and lit and all debris must be removed in accordance with the Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1980. The burning on site of waste materials is not permitted.

Any structure or land adjoining or adjacent to the building site is to be shored by approved methods as may be required and supported with concrete, reinforced concrete and brickwork in cement mortar or other approved materials as necessary. The cost of making good any damage caused to the adjoining properties shall be borne by the Building Owner.

Where the foundations of walls or buildings may be undermined by adjacent excavations, they should be underpinned. The underpinning shall be executed to the satisfaction of the Landlord’s Surveyor and the requirements of the Local Authority’s Building Control Officer. Waterproof tanking, horizontal and vertical damp proof courses are to be provided to the satisfaction of the Landlord’s Surveyors and in accordance with BS 8102/90.

5.2 Structure

All structural design, workmanship and construction is to be in accordance with the relevant British Standards and European Codes including, but not limited to, BS 449 and BS 5950 for structural steelwork, BS 8110/97 for reinforced concrete, BS 5628 for brickwork, BS 5268 for timber work and BS 8004/86 for foundations and excavations.


New structural steelwork in existing external walls is to be encased in steel mesh reinforced concrete but subject to prior approval, structural steelwork in new external walls may be treated in accordance with CIRIA Report 174. Any internal structural steel not encased in reinforced concrete is to be, before covering up, cleaned and given at least two full coats of approved rust inhibiting paint. After erection, the first coat is to be made good over damage, bolts etc. before the second is applied.


Provision is to be made in all design and construction for the differing physical properties of the materials used. All designs must allow for adequate fire protection of the structure to the satisfaction of the Building Control Officer. New building structures shall not rely on adjacent buildings for their support nor should they remove any support from adjacent buildings. Due allowance is to be made for predicted changes in the level of the water table.


The whole of the site is to be surrounded by proper and sufficient party fence or external walls and no existing walls are to be used as party or external walls without the written consent of the Landlord’s Surveyor. All wall ties/fixings in external walls are to be of stainless steel and proper horizontal and vertical damp courses are to be formed with approved materials to walls, parapets and chimney stacks.


Trial pits, if required, are to be excavated and reinstated in accordance with BS 6031.


5.3 Chimney stacks and flues

The chimney stacks and flues of adjoining buildings are to be carried up at the Building Owner’s cost in materials to match the adjoining new building, fully parged and properly bonded unless otherwise permitted by the Landlord’s Surveyor.


The width between the flues of adjoining buildings and the backing to flues on external walls is to be not less than 225mm. New boiler flues must be lined with insulating bricks and must be in accordance with the requirements of the Local Authority’s Building Control Officer. Flues run internally are to be encased in brickwork or an approved material and are to be at least 300mm from any timber.


No flue or exhaust pipes are to be fixed on the external face of walls. No ventilation fans are to be fixed into windows. No ventilation grilles are to be fixed to walls on street elevations above pavement level without written consent.


5.4 Openings

In the formation of new or enlarged openings in existing work, all reveals are to be properly cut, toothed and bonded with compatible bricks and mortar.


Where existing openings are to be infilled in external and/or party walls they are to be bricked up solid with compatible materials for the full thickness of the wall, well bonded to the existing, with cills, arches and lintels removed.


5.5 Materials

The best hard burned bricks are to be used, properly constructed in Flemish bond with the approved facing materials as required for carrying out the approved elevation.  Fletton bricks are not to be used below ground or for parapets or where the brickwork is to be rendered.


Where stone is used it is to be the best English Portland or other approved, properly bonded and tailed into the walling. All cramps, bolts and other fixings used in connection with stonework are to be of a suitable approved material.


The mortar is to be made with hydrated lime and/or with Portland cement and clean washed building sand of a quality and colour and type of pointing approved by the Landlord’s Surveyor to BS 4550 and BS 5224/93. The strength of the mortar should have direct relation to the strength of the bricks and should contain sulphate resistant cement below ground level, in chimney stacks and above parapet DPC’s.


The whole of the timber is to be of a type to be sound and well conditioned, clean, free from injurious shakes, large loose or dead knots and thoroughly well seasoned. All structural timber is to be strength graded in accordance with BS 4978 and BS EN 5 19 for softwoods and BS 5756 for hardwoods and to be impregnated with a suitable preservative before fixing and all deep cuts, cross cuts, grooves, throatings, etc. are to be re‑treated with a compatible brush applied preservative. The moisture content of structural timber is not to exceed 18% by volume. All hardwoods must be obtained from a renewable source.


5.6 Thermal insulation

The maximum thermal transmittance through any part of the structure shall be in accordance with the latest edition of the Building Regulations. All non‑masonry parts of the external envelope are to be provided with a vapour check on the warm side and adequate natural ventilation on the cold side of the insulation.


Proper cross ventilation is to be provided to any space under suspended timber floors, within flat roof and mansard slopes and through roof spaces.


5.7 Roofs

Slating is to be the very best Welsh natural slate and each slate is to be fixed with two suitable non‑ferrous nails in accordance with BIDS 5534. Artificial or reconstituted slates are not to be used.


The following materials are permitted to be used for the covering of flat roofs and external plant housings:


  1. Code 5 (minimum) sheet lead to BS 1178/82
  2. Gauge no. 14 (minimum) sheet zinc to EN 988: 19 97
  3. Asphalt, minimum 20mm thickness, in accordance with BS 6925/88 and finished with solar reflective paint. On timber roofs, independent kerbs are to be provided at abutments with separate lead cover flashings. Mastic asphalt is to be laid in accordance with the recommendations of the Mastic Asphalt Council and Employers’ Federation. 


No other materials may be used without written consent.


Where roofs are of timber, the gutters and flats are to be laid with 19mm marine (WPB grade) plywood to the appropriate fall.


All architectural features are to be protected by lead apron/cover/stepped flashings, in accordance with the recommendations contained in Lead Sheet in Buildings published by the Lead Development Association.


5.8 External drainage

All new external soil pipes, vent pipes, waste pipes, rainwater goods, etc. and existing external pipework replaced, are to be in cast iron. No new pipework is to be fixed to street elevations.


5.9 External Lighting

Location and type of fitting to conform to the policy set for each terrace and subject to written approval.


5.10 TV Aerials

To be sited unobtrusively and out of sight from the street.


5.11 Cable TV

No wiring to be affixed to the street elevation.


5.12 Burglar Alarm boxes

Where burglar alarm boxes are to be fitted to street elevations, they shall be located below pavement level.


5.13 Street numbering and lettering

To be painted by a competent signwriter to the standard pattern designed for the Estate.


5.14 Window boxes

On the street elevations shall be fitted at basement and ground floor level only (excluding first floor balconies and roof terraces).


5.15 Air conditioning

The installation of air conditioning is strongly discouraged and is subject to consent from the Local Authority and strict conditions as to appearance and environmental impact.



These additional conditions apply only to Leasehold properties. They are generally in line with the normal requirements of the Local Authority in relation to Listed Buildings and are intended to augment the terms of a Listed Building consent.


6.1 Conservation of original building fabric

There will be a presumption in favour of the preservation of the original building fabric. Alterations to the structure, particularly on the principal floors, will not generally be permitted.


Original plaster moulded skirtings and cornices shall be retained in‑situ and new partitions, suspended ceilings, ducts, casings etc. shall be constructed around them.


Where original doors on the ground, first and second floors are not required to be used as such, they shall be fixed shut and retained in-situ, complete with frame, lining and architraves but may be encased on the room side.


Original timber doors, windows, frames, surrounds, shutters, architraves, skirtings, stairs, balusters, and handrails shall be retained in‑situ and shall not be altered without written consent.


Original fireplace surrounds, grates and hearths shall not be removed or altered without written consent. They may be encased in-situ provided ventilation to the flue is maintained.


Where an extension at the rear of a building has been permitted, the timber surround to ground and first floor windows in the original rear facade should normally be retained in-situ.


6.2 Flues

Flues to be used for gas log/coal effect fires or for other apparatus for which they were not originally designed are to be lined with an approved flue liner, correctly sealed at both ends. Where disused and capped off, flues are to be ventilated into the room and at roof level and must not be infilled. Ventilation required to comply with the Building Regulations shall not be run from the street elevation.


6.2 Services installations

All electricity, gas, water and drainage installations are to be left in a good and safe state of repair on completion of the works and test certificates are to be obtained for new and amended installations. All installations must comply fully with the Health and Safety Executive Guidance Notes HSG 70 and associated Codes of Practice for the control of Legionnella. Work on existing and new gas installations shall only be undertaken by a CORGI Registered Contractor. Notice of proposed space and water heating installations must be given to the Landlord’s Surveyors.


6.3 Stud partitions

Stud partitions shall be constructed with 100mm x 50mm studs, insulated and finished with expanded metal lathing and three coat plastering or alternatively 12.5mm plaster lath finished with 3mm minimum plaster. Carlite or similar type plaster shall not be used in basements or any other area that may be subject to dampness.


6.4 Ceramic or marble floors

Where ceramic or marble sheet or tiles are used on ground and upper floors, a suitable insulation material is to be provided to reduce impact sound levels.


6.5 New partitions

Where new partitions are constructed to divide rooms the original cornices and skirtings are to be retained and new cornices and skirtings are to be fitted to match the existing. Alternatively, but only where the skirting and/or cornice of the existing room are not of the design original to the building, these may be removed and new skirtings and/or cornices fitted around the new room(s). Such replacement shall be subject to the consent of the Local Authority.


6.6 Bathrooms, WC’s and kitchens

Bathrooms, WC’s and kitchens are to be provided with good class sanitary fittings with all soil, waste, anti‑syphonage, service pipes etc. mechanical and passive ventilation and all necessary alterations to the drainage system are to be to the approval of the Building Control Officer.