A dwelling has been substantially rebuilt by my builder client and qualifies for 5% VAT under 'unoccupied for 2 years' rule. House is in large plot with raised terrace. His client wishes to add railings round terrace for safety reasons and has also needed to rebuild a rear boundary wall which had fallen down. VAT Notice 708 states that some works to the site also attract 5% VAT. At 13.8.1 it mentions that 'fencing permanently erected around the boundary of the dwelling' would attract the 5% rate. The rebuilding of the wall would not seem to fall within the 'repairs to fabric of the building' so, given it is a wall and not a fence, on the face of it should be standard rated although I can see no legal grounds for distinguishing between a fence and a wall on the boundary. Any thoughts on this one?
On the subject of the metal railings around the terrace. They would be surrounding the immediate vicinity of the dwelling but not around the entire plot. It would be quite common to have such railings in these situations so I feel there would be a reasonably strong argument that the railings are 'building materials ordinarily incorporated' and attract the 5% rate but am not confident of advising builder this. Planning and building control permission has not specifically been sought for these as it is not required. Should my client charge 5% or 20% VAT?