Chequers Cottage, Lower Road
West Farleigh, Kent ME15 0PE
Tel. 07908 641668
Email. [email protected]
What happens if damaged is caused to my property? Under the Act you have choice, either you can allow the Building Owner to make good the damage using their builders or receive a cash settlement in order that you can arrange for the repairs to be undertaken. To help prevent disputes as to whether an item of damage is a result of the works a Schedule of Condition is usually prepared detailing any defects, however small in the Adjoining Owner/s property prior to any work commencing.
What about the noise and dust caused by the building works next door? Under normal circumstances there’s not much that can be done about that, the Building Owner/s have the right to cause what is deemed to ‘reasonable level of disturbance’. However where it would but the Adjoining Owner at a serious inconvenience, say the closure of a music room due to the level of noise created compensation is usually paid, but it would have to be a demonstrated and measurable loss.
Can the builder come over to my side of the wall? If the work cannot be undertaken any other way, then yes the Act allows for the Building Owner, his workmen and Agents on your side of the wall. The key here can the work be done in a different manor? An example would be the construction of a new wall, while it could be argued it could be built entirely from the Building Owner/s side of the wall; however the standard of workmanship would suffer. Likewise if the wall is to have rendered finish this would be nearly impossible to apply from the Building Owners side of the wall. What the Building Owner is not allowed to do is use your side of the wall as an extension to his building site just because it makes life more convenient for them. That means materials, spoil from excavations and rubbish must be kept on their side of the wall.
It is common under these circumstances that scaffolding is required to facilitate the works, which will usually have to remain in place until the majority of the external works are complete. Again compensation can be sought where a demonstrated and measurable loss occurs to the Adjoining Owner.
Can the works commence before the Award is in place? In short No, if the Building Owner commences works which are covered by the Act prior to the Award being in place they are acting unlawfully. However, other works which fall outside of the Act can proceed. An example of this would be the internal strip out of a property prior to the main structural works being undertaken.
How many people do I serve Notice on? The Act requires Building Owners to serve notice on all affected Adjoining Owners and defines an Owner as Someone with an interest in the property of greater than 12 months. This would therefore include any Leaseholders as well as any Owners. In some circumstances it may be justified not to serve on all parties where the works are relatively minor, an example of this might be the insertion of a lead flashing at roof level, which would not affect the Owners two stories below, but this should be looked at on a case by case basis.
My neighbour has started work without serving notice? If the work being undertaken falls within the scope of the Act, i.e. works to the Party Structure (which can be a wall, floor or fence wall), excavations within 3 meters of your property to depth that is equate to or greater than you foundations you can apply to the Courts for Interlocutory Relief. This will stop the works until the proper procedures have been followed, however, should you be found to be in error, you would be liable for any costs incurred by the Building Owner, so always seek profession advice before embarking on this route. If you receive an Injunction you must stop work and seek professional advice, failure to do so could place in Contempt of Court, which can result in imprisonment.