What to Do When You're Planning Building Work
Sometimes you can forget about the neighbours in your excitement over plans to build that fabulous extension or the conservatory you’ve always wanted, but stopping to think about their feelings and how the work will affect them could make all the difference – especially as they may even have the opportunity to object to the work being done.
Most neighbours would really appreciate any effort you make to consult them at the start of your plans and keep them up to speed on any expected building work, because there’s nothing worse than finding out when the signs go up on the building.
Be a Considerate NeighbourTo be fair, unless you have particularly bad relationships with the neighbours to start with, it’s unlikely that they are going to really Object To Your Plans if you tell them what you plan to do right at the start. So, why not invite them over for a drink and mention what you have in mind. Tell them that you thought it would be polite to tell them first, and they will more than likely appreciate your openness and be less likely to throw a wobbly when they find out from other sources that you’ll have builders in the back garden making a noise for three weeks in the summer.
Work that Might Affect the NeighboursQuite apart from the obvious annoyance and inconvenience of building work going on next door, in some cases your neighbours have a right to object to work that you carry out on your property. If they think that the conservatory you plan to put up with affect the light in their home, they will almost certainly object to the planning permission being granted, so before you agree the final plans make sure that you’ve taken that into consideration.
Party WallsThere are special rules that you have to adhere to if you’re thinking of having any work done that would Affect A Party Wall which is used by two or more property owners to separate buildings. The rules say that you must tell your neighbours about any work you intend to do that night affect a party wall, and also allows the neighbours to object within a strict time limit. There are also rules in place which neighbours to compensation and a level of protection against potential damage to their home.
Any work that you’re planning to have carried out on a party wall has to be discussed and agreed with your neighbour in writing at least two months before the building work is due to start. At the same time, the neighbours are under an obligation not to be ‘unduly obstructive’ and they can’t object to you carrying out the home improvements just because they don’t like you, or they’ve fallen out with you over something else.
Keep Your Neighbours InformedJust because you’ve got the go-ahead and planning permission has been approved, that shouldn’t mean you stop talking to your neighbours. There might well be a time when you need to be nice to the neighbours so that they let contractors access your property via theirs, and if you keep the neighbours on-side it will make it a lot easier to organise.
If your builder should cause any damage to their property, make sure that you get this made good as soon as possible, and arrange for them to be compensated if necessary. Keep immediate neighbours in the loop about when things are going to be done, if there are any delays or when they can expect the work to be completed. Tell them if there’s likely to be excessive noise one day – or if there’s a chance they might get blocked in by large lorries and workmen’s vehicles.