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You might need a house extension for several reasons, and it usually is easier than moving. Yet, the neighbours’ role is equally significant when you consider extending your space. Neighbours can play a role in two ways:
- Planning Permission: Here, your local council will let your neighbours respond to your application.
- Party Wall: You will inform your neighbours of the party wall notice, to which they may respond in several ways.
Party walls stand astride the boundary of the land of two or more owners. They may or may not form part of the building.
The walls of one owner used by other owners for separation are also party walls. When deciding to undertake an extension, you must inform your neighbors of your intention to build on your shared property or boundary. Party Wall Act is there to protect the neighbors from any adverse effects of your extension. Those you notify depend on the kind of work you will do. For instance, an owner with a terraced house looking to extend their ground floor rear will inform both owners of adjacent homes. In case you question whether your neighbors can stop you from your building work, then the short answer is ‘no’. However, they can ask for supplemental information that might make it costlier or more time-consuming for you.
When Do You Serve Notice?
Consider the time of construction before you move on to serving the notice. This is because party walls documentation stays valid for one year, and it is better to begin the process alongside your build’s planning. The time required for planning permission is 8 weeks, and you should undertake the two processes simultaneously; avoid initiating the Party Wall unless you have made it to the final design of your extension project. This is because you might need additional changes as you proceed with your plan, and any change in your scope of work will have to be notified to the neighbour. Hence, it’s better to include all important notifications from the beginning.
Process of Serving Notice
You will require contacting a party wall surveyor to acquaint them with your intention to extend. You will send your existing and proposed drawings to the surveyor, who will then offer advice on the following aspects:
- Who Do You Need to Serve Notice(S) to
- What Kind of Notice(S) Will You Serve
They will then put together the notice(s) for you and dispatch them to your neighbours. These notices come down to four options, amongst which the neighbour chooses:
- Consent to the Work: This point seems self-explanatory. You, as the building owner, will only have to pay for the notice charges and suffer no additional costs.
- Consent to the Build and Require a Schedule of Conditions: A schedule of conditions minimises the chances of disputes between the neighbours either during the construction process or following it. This protects both parties one way or another: The adjacent owners might be able to demonstrate any additional damage that occurred during the project, or the building owner might otherwise prove that the damages were already there before the project was instituted.
- Dissent to the Work and Concur with the Agreed Surveyor: This is a more detailed take on the schedule of conditions and, therefore, is costlier than the previous one, requiring an in-depth approach and extended on-site time.
- Dissent to the Work and Request for a Different Surveyor from the One Appointed by the Building Owner: In such a case, you are supposed to pay both for your surveyor as well as that of your neighbour’s, thus substantially increasing the cost.
As mentioned above, this is the other way of dealing with the extension issue: you notify your neighbour of your proposed plan, who is then allowed to respond to the application. Your neighbour might support it or object to it. However, objecting to it does not mean your plan will be rejected. Equally, acceptance of your plan by your neighbour does not mean the proposal will be taken up. The case officer will go over the comments, take all into consideration, and the issue eventually will be reckoned with.
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We take care of the following:
- Property Extensions Such as House Extensions
- Refurbishment of Your Entire Property
- Partial Refurbishments Such as Kitchen and Bathroom
- Completely New Builds