My neighbour has built an extension up to the boundary of our property, we now want to extend too. Can we use their external wall to build upon?
If you are currently looking out of your window, watching your neighbours’ extension being built, you may be wondering if the dreams you have for building an extension of your own has been dashed. Well all is not lost. It often happens that when someone extends their property, it gets neighbours on the street thinking and saving to get the same or similar works done.
The Party Wall Act (“PWA”) is there to help property owners realise their dreams, especially where a wall has been built on the boundary. This issue is a common occurrence for the team of Party Wall Surveyors at Antino and Associates to address.
If this scenario sounds familiar and you would like more information on next steps – then get in touch. Our Party Wall Surveyors will briefly discuss your case before arranging to come and visit your property at a time that suits you. Once on site, we will assess the area and discuss your project with you in more detail – all before you incur architects’ fees for producing a scheme that actually cannot be built.
Hypothetically speaking, without seeing the exact dimensions of the property, you can build your foundations up to the boundary with your adjoining neighbour. Whilst, you are allowed under section 1(6) of the PWA to project the foundations across the boundary onto your neighbour’s side. This, is however, subject to one specific condition. The projection has to be necessary.
If your architect produces drawings where the foundation projects across the boundary, and it can be shown that is not necessary, then the drawings will have to be changed. It is irrelevant if the planning and building regulations have approved the scheme, they cannot override the statutory procedures.
Dependent upon your Local Council regulations, planning permission may be required. Official permission can sometimes be required when existing building works has something new built on it.
How can a Party Wall Surveyor help?
Following an inspection of the site in question, our Party Wall Surveyor will issue your neighbour with a Party Wall Notice. In England and Wales, adjoining neighbours must be informed of your building intentions if you want to carry out any building work near or on your shared property boundary, or ‘party wall’. If you are carrying out works governed by the Party Wall Act, etc 1996 you will need to serve a Party Wall Notice on your neighbours.
To clarify, the Party Wall Act includes:
- undertaking building work to an existing party structure or party wall
- excavating below or near to the foundation level of neighbour’s property
- creating a new structure across or on the boundary of two properties
The following list gives further detail of what notifiable works means:
- excavating below the foundation level and or an adjoining owners’ structure which
includes patios, driveways, fish ponds, drains, sheds & garage bases and
- cutting into a party wall
- knocking down and rebuilding a party structure
- increasing or reducing the height of a party wall
- taking away, from a party wall, the chimney breasts.
Dependant Notice must be served either at two months before the notifiable works to the party wall begin, and at least one month before the notifiable excavation works begin. Notifiable work is either building work which affects a party wall or boundary line, or excavations within three or six metres of a neighbouring property (depending on the depth of the foundations you are making).
This will include most extensions and basement and loft conversions. You need to serve notice on all the owners of every neighbouring property affected by the works, both freeholders and leaseholders.
We also recommend letting your neighbour know of your plans, in person, so as to help maintain friendly and open lines of communication. They will experience some of the pain of the work without enjoying the benefits, so it is crucial to keep them informed and on side.
They will also be bombarded by Ambulance chasers once your planning application has been submitted to the council.
They paint a bleak picture of what the works will mean and emphasise the possibility of damage being caused. They seek an appointment with the view of obtaining payment from you as the person undertaking works. I.e. suggesting a non-win fee basis but this is often not the case. Ambulance chasers should be avoided at every opportunity.
Getting your scheme wrong will delay your build and increase the costs of your project. Failure to comply with the Party Wall Agreement will result in your neighbour taking you to court and obtaining (at your expense) an injunction to prevent you from continuing with the work.
Getting it right will provide (forgive the pun) the foundations for a smooth build.
So why not get your building works off to the right start? Get in touch with the Party Wall Surveyors at Antino and Associates today on 01245 490 019. We offer affordable and competitive prices that will allow you to achieve your dreams.
I dream of building a large, open-plan kitchen, but don’t want to move home to get one, would a kitchen extension be the solution I’m looking for?
Not only will this type of extension give you the extra room you desire and better flow of space, it could also add value to your home and be considerably cheaper than moving.
A kitchen extension can be a large project, so thorough planning is key. You need to decide on the proposed use of the new extension, for example is it to:
· create a spacious cooking and prep area
· create a combination of separate dining and cooking area
· be able to entertain friends and family more frequently
It’s important to write a list of all the features that you already have in your kitchen, then add the features and appliances that you wish to include in the space. Involving a Kitchen Company at an early stage is also key to achieving your goals. We would recommend www.emersoninteriors.co.uk for your first point of call.
BENEFITS OF BUILDING A KITCHEN EXTENSION
You get to make it your own with full design control
Rather than buying a new home, you get to alter and personalise your existing one. You are in control of creating the additional space in the areas you actually need it.
You'll save time and money
Instead of handing over a huge deposit on a new home and paying solicitors fees, stamp duty and a removal company to get your furniture there, extending your home will save you money in the long run. Cost is affected by how complex the build is and sticking to a simple design can mean paying less. It’s a good idea to avoid having things made to order and take on some of the work yourself - if you’re confident. Labor and materials might cost more for unusual shapes and designs. Building over a manhole might require diverting the drains and incurring further costs and most certainly a license form the local water authority will be required.
You'll increase the value of your home
Extending your kitchen can effectively raise the value of your property as the aesthetics and design will be updated. As well as increasing the square footage, with the right design, your home will become more functional.
So will my kitchen extension require a Party Wall Agreement?
Party Wall Agreements are most commonly needed for building works that involve extensions and loft conversions that require the insertion of damp proof courses and the excavating of new foundations. Before commencing work on your kitchen extension, you (the Building Owner) will need to give the affected neighbours (Adjoining Owners) Notice of your intended works. Their response will dictate whether a Party Wall Agreement is required. This will be prepared by a party wall surveyor and will outline how the works will progress.
To start this process, you will need to serve a Party Wall Notice on your neighbours, in writing, about the planned party wall works. This notice must be given to your neighbour between one and two months before you plan to start building works. You can speak to your neighbour to explain the work you want to carry out, before giving notice in writing.
You must tell your neighbour if you want to:
· build on or at the boundary of the two properties
· work on an existing party wall or party structure
· dig below and near to the foundation level of their property
· dig below and near to any structures on your neighbours property.
Examples of this type of work include:
· building a new wall on the boundary
· cutting into a party wall
· raising the party wall upwards or indeed (basements) downwards
· removing chimney breasts from a party wall
· knocking down and rebuilding a party wall
The Role of the Party Wall Surveyor
The role of the Party Wall Surveyor (or the “Agreed Surveyor” if the two owners can concur in a single appointment) is to prepare a document known as a “party wall award” (sometimes called a “party wall agreement”).This document sets out the owners’ rights and responsibilities in relation to how the work should proceed and covers items such as working hours, what happens in case of damage and access for the surveyor(s) during the course of the works.
What is a Party Wall?
In simple terms a party wall divides the buildings of two owners with the boundary between ownerships, usually, but not always positioned at the centre of the wall. If you live in a semi-detached or terrace house you share a wall (or walls) with your neighbour and that wall is known as a party wall.
Party walls usually separate buildings belonging to different owners, but could include garden walls built astride a boundary known as party fence wall. Where a wall separates two different size buildings, often only the part that is used by both properties is a party wall, the rest belongs to the person or persons on whose land it stands.
What is a party wall used for?
A party wall is for the benefit and convenience of both owners. Each adjoining owner has the right to its full use of the party wall in the improvement and enjoyment of his property. Neither owner can use the wall in a manner that impairs the other's easement or interferes with his or her property rights.
An owner is not entitled to extend the front wall or rear wall of his building beyond the middle of the party wall. In addition, an adjoining owner can position beams into the party wall but not beyond the middle of the wall. Neither party can attach fixtures over the adjoining premises such as window shutters, pipes, gutters etc., even if the fixtures do not damage, or interfere with, the rights of the adjoining owner. An easement does not give either owner a right to construct and maintain a roof or cornice that extends beyond the party wall and over the property of the adjoining owner.
Will my kitchen extension need planning permission?
If the work is classed as permitted development, you won’t need to apply for planning permission, but you may wish to apply for a certificate of lawful development, which proves the project is legal. If you do need planning permission, you will have to apply to the local council, and may need additional reports and drawings. Whichever route you are taking, you will need building regulations approval. It may be necessary to issue a party wall notice if you are building on or close to the boundary with your neighbours.
If you are thinking of building a kitchen extension (or any extension) or are already underway with drawing up your plans get in touch with the team at Antino & Associates on 01245 490 019. We can advise you of next steps to ensure that your project moves forward without any hiccups. Our Party Wall Surveyors are based in Chelmsford but travel across the UK to deal with all types of party wall issues.
Front and rear extension rejected - Thorley Hill
The owners of No. 1a Thorley Hill, Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, CM23 3ND submitted an application to East Herts Council for front and rear extensions under planning application 3/18/0899/HH.
This incorporated a two storey front extension and a single rear extension. The owners of No. 1 Thorley Hill were concerned that this would have a detrimental effect on their property and their quiet enjoyment of their house. They instructed, party wall surveyor, Philip Antino to carry out a detailed assessment of the local authority planning and national planning policy framework policies, the site, the proposed works and to provide advice.
Mr Antino’s findings were such that he believed that there were justified grounds to register objections with East Herts Council opposing the proposed development, particularly the double storey front extension which was within a matter of several metres of No. 1 Thorley Hill.
It was further of notable concern to Mr Antino that No. 1a Thorley Hill had already been extended substantively to the side with double storey extensions and to the rear, increasing the original footprint by some 350%.
Upon consideration of the relevant factors and the East Herts local plan 2007 policies EMV1, EMV5 and EMV6 together with the national planning policy framework submissions were made to the East Herts Council in the following terms.
The proposed front extension by reason of its scale, sighting and design would cause unacceptable harm to the amenity use of No. 1 Thorley Hill which would result in a significant loss of light and create an overbearing effect for the occupiers of No. 1 Thorley Hill. The proposed extension, by reason of its scale, sighting and design would cause unacceptable harm to the character and design of the surrounding street scene.
The council took into account the representations made by Mr Antino on behalf of his clients and reached the decision having full regard to those representations, the development plan and all material considerations that the planning application should be refused for terms as clearly set out and submitted by Mr Antino on behalf of his clients.
The Council accepted Mr Antino’s submissions and rejected the application.
If your neighbour has submitted building plans that you oppose, contact the party wall surveyors at Antino and Associates.