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Hello, I am Keith, one of the experts on Just Answer, and pleased to be able to help you with your question.
I am of the opinion that your builder is charging the correct rate of VAT. Although the 5% rate is available for conversions of empty residential premises I would suggest that HMRC would regard the vacation as temporary and an attempt at tax evasion.
I am so sorry to have to rain on your parade.
Thank you for your support.