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HMRC internal manual

VAT Construction

HM Revenue & Customs
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Alterations and repair or maintenance - case law and agreements: drains and guttering

Works to drains are unlikely to require listed building consent, nor are the drains part of the fabric of the building. Therefore, the works would not be ‘approved alterations’.

The replacement of existing guttering is not an ‘approved alteration’ unless there is a significant change in how it is configured.

In C N Evans (VTD 4415): Replacement of a cast iron gutter with a plastic gutter. The Tribunal held that it was repair or maintenance.

In Parochial Church Council of All Saints Church, Tilsworth (VTD 10490): The guttering for the church tower roof was changed to flow through two chutes on the north wall instead of flowing through a single chute on the west side. The Tribunal held that is was an approved alteration. They stated:

The works effected a new drainage system for the roof which made the repair or maintenance of the old gutter unnecessary. They altered the building so that it became a building with an altered system of drainage leading to altered chutes.

In Walsingham College (Yorkshire Properties) Ltd (VTD 13223): A sewerage treatment plant in the estate of a listed building was found not to meet the required standard of purity. The replacement plant was built in a new location and discharged into a different stream. It also served some cottages, which previously had their own septic tanks. The Tribunal held that it was an approved alteration.

Comment: It is questionable whether the work constituted an alteration to the listed building. Similar cases should be referred to the Construction Unit of Expertise.

In Logmoor Limited (VTD 14733): Gutters and rainwater goods were installed which was not a strict substitution for the originals, which had been ‘lost’ - that is they were no longer present on site. The Tribunal held that it was repair or maintenance.