>Amendments to development laws introduced earlier this month are set to incentivise more landowners to convert agricultural buildings into residential homes. However, Roger Parry & Partners are advising farmers and landowners to ensure the correct insurance cover is in place before starting any works. >The new regulations and updates to the law came into force on 6 April and include the intention to increase the numbers of properties that can be converted from existing agricultural farm buildings up to five. Existing development rights only permitted a maximum of three properties to be built without express planning permission. >With the increased development opportunities, it is anticipated more farmers will take advantage, and a rise in the number of conversions will follow. Before work starts or planning begins, landowners are being encouraged by Roger Parry & Partners to ensure they are aware of insurance implications. >Richard Corbett, Partner in Roger Parry & Partners’ Oswestry office said, “If a property is insured as a farm building, as soon as any residential development work commences, we always advice our clients that the farm insurance policy will no longer be relevant. If landowners are using an outside contractor for the full conversion work, they must have Contractors’ All Risk (CAR) insurance, and this will cover all work in progress, materials, public and employee liability.” >Richard added, “Farmers also need to inform their own insurers of all work in progress, and the insurer should then cover the existing shell, providing they are fully aware of the plans. If you are acting for yourself as the overseer of the build, employing separate bricklayers, plasterers, roofers etc., you will personally require Contractors’ All Risk insurance. Our team are on hand, as always, to help if you would like to discuss your development ideas.” >The new regulations and updates to the law, which came into force on 6 April in England, include: >• An increase in the size of new agricultural buildings from a maximum of 465 square metres to a maximum of 1,000 square metres >• Changes to the rights for conversion of agricultural buildings to dwelling houses to allow: >Up to three larger homes within a maximum of 465 square metres or >Up to five smaller homes each no larger than 100 square metres >A mix of both, within a total of no more than five homes, of which no more than three may be large homes >• A one-year extension to the temporary permitted development right to convert storage and distribution buildings to residential use. >For help and advice please contact any of Roger Parry & Partners offices: Welshpool - 01938 554499; Oswestry: 01691 655334. Minsterley: 01743 791336. As a member of the NFU’s Rural Surveyors Panel, Roger Parry & Partners are able to provide help and advice to Union members for a discounted rate.