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Avoiding PWA With Hostile Neighbour

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by LondonLad21, 15 Oct 2018.

  1. LondonLad21

    LondonLad21

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    All, appeal for some the wise sages among your for a bit of advice, to cut a long story short.

    - Extension to house, impacting only one neighbour through sight went to planning. Neighbour who can't see got very wound up and objected, and also objected in person (to extent police were called)
    - All got a bit nasty now, neighbour very angry, and despite changing plans to make virtually no impact on neighbour that couldn't see before, he is abhorrent at anything happening as has started bullying us on other matters, now quite unpleasant.

    I need PWA (excavate within 3 meters) not touching boundary wall but building to it, and i know the neighbour is going to make that process hell.

    My alternative is to not go down PWA notice route, how do I do this?

    I am guessing I need to dig a test hole to see how deep the foundations are? On that basis, I could see if there is some way to limit the depth I use.

    It's single storey, only talking about some technical compromise for the statutory distance of 3 meters... ideas? Architect hasn't been too helpful so far.

    I know that if I have to use the PWA that neighbour will protract this and make my life very difficult.
     
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  3. Nakajo

    Nakajo

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    The neighbour can't really make the process 'hell' - that's exactly why we have PWA's.
     
  4. GeoffJ

    GeoffJ

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    In the past - I tried to make life difficult for a neighbour of a little old lady that I help out - the neighbour had planning permission and tried to bully and lie to the little old dear to get their own way. Whilst she was a little old dear she had all her faculties and asked what she could do to make like difficult for the neighbours that were lying to her. I put a stop to the bullying and lying by forcing the PWA process and the neighbours needing to pay for two separate PWA surveyors. Apart from that there was nothing else we could do - pity.
     
  5. Notch7

    Notch7

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    If he doesnt consent in 14 days to a PWN, isnt that then in dispute, which then means each will appoint a surveyor.

    Given the amount party wall surveyors charge, that sounds like hell to me.
     
  6. LondonLad21

    LondonLad21

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    Risk 1, the process is not without expense
    Risk 2, as noted the dual surveyor route, indeed, if you abuse the process to the full you can get three
    Risk 3, general imbuggerance of being accountable to a someone who by their own wilful intent is make life awkward for my family through already threatening/abusive/anti social behaviour.

    In summary, if I can find a way where I am not held accountable to a few bullies who want to use a process for me to waste money to their amusement then I will be happy.

    My architect says this is not uncommon, and a friend has advised me of a case where a small porch through PWA and then ensuing disputes has cost 20k in a legal fees.

    The one thing on my side, is that given his behaviour already as been so bad, I could risk ploughing ahead and ignoring a PWA. I am told the court will struggle to award an injunction for me to stop if the complainant has themselves already been less than clean in their approach. That however is a risk I am unwilling to push on.
     
  7. tony1851

    tony1851

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    Have you considered building the extension on a raft with edge beams - this might enable you to go no lower than the adjoining owners' foundation,
    in which case it doesn't matter about the 3m distance rule.

    The other option is to lay conventional foundations quickly over a weekend, using the trench-fill method. Once it is out of the ground,there
    is little the adjoining owner can do. They could try for an injunction, but it would be unlikely a judge would order a stop to the work.

    The PWA does not absolve you of responsibility for any damage to their property through your work; the problem is that the adjoining owner might 'suddenly find' cracks, in which case you might be held liable if you have not used the Act, regardless of whether or not it was your fault.
     
  8. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Get a competent designer who can design something that won't involve the Act.

    The court will (must) grant an injunction if the Act applies and you have not followed it.
     
  9. KenGMac

    KenGMac

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    OK the PWA does not apply up here, we do not seem to need it, makes you wonder?

    How about you consider using ring beams and something like Shire Piles ? OK they are not all that cheap to install, but off set their cost against the legal crap ???

    BUT there is generally a BUT? some soil conditions are not approved for bored shires, if they do not work there are other shire alternatives?

    Shallow found minimal / zero lateral effects, even your neighbour will be impressed.

    As an aside? is there any mileage in capturing your neighbours anti-social behavior on camera??

    Ken.
     
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  11. wessex101

    wessex101

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    I don't know, I've heard of some party wall surveyors charging £300/hour. That's quite hellish.
     
  12. wessex101

    wessex101

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    The first thing you need to estimate is the depth of the neighbours foundation.

    That can be quite a general assumption based on the age of the property or if your property is of a similar age and construction then dig a trial hole on your own property. It might not be as bad as you think.

    If the neighbouring property is likely to have a shallow foundation then proceed on the basis that your extension will have a shallow raft foundation and the Party Wall Act probably won't apply. If the groundworker/builder happens to have an unexpected funny turn on the day and accidentally digs the foundations 1 metre deep and pours the concrete before the neighbour notices then thats just unfortunate.
     
  13. tony1851

    tony1851

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    How could that apply if the foundations are already in and the work is at ground level?
    What good would an injunction serve at that point?
     
  14. pilsbury

    pilsbury

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    Excavate within 3m? Building up to his wall.... To clarify, how close do you intend to dig to his foundations? Am I mistaken in thinking there is some 45 degree rule from the top of his foundations to the deepest part of yours? Or am I talking bollx again?
     
  15. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    How does the court know that no further work related to the Act is to take place?

    The claimant only has to demonstrate that the work has started without a PW Notice when there should have been one served, or the evidence available indicates that the PWA is most likely to apply. He does not know the scope of the works because no information has been given to him, but perhaps the works, the excavating close to his property say, could well look like PW work is continuing.

    That's enough to grant the injunction whilst things are sorted out. The defendant will then need to return to court to demonstrate that the PWA does not apply.
     
  16. Nakajo

    Nakajo

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    Well, the Building Owner would still only be liable for 'reasonable costs'. That said, around these parts, a figure of £300/hour (for ca. 6.5 hours work) is not unheard of. In practice, I would expect a figure of around £2000 to cover both the BO and AO. Not cheap, but better than an injunction, or lawsuit.
     
  17. LondonLad21

    LondonLad21

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    I think I am going to dig a test hole.

    Also tempted to get a surveyor to evidence the condition of my property soon too before any work.

    Then, architect has suggested a raft foundation, costs a bit more, but won't mean I have to engage with neighbour.
     
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