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I think I've been stupid - PWA

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by sambotc, 23 May 2016.

  1. sambotc

    sambotc

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    So basically, rear extension mid terrace.

    Neighbour on the left is an arse and I knew would be problematic.

    Originally I wanted to remove a small party wall which is on the boundary and forms a garden wall. I was going to replace this with my extension wall, built on my side of the boundary, as his conservatory is close to it to leave access for both parties. Said neighbour originally agreed so that I could render his side nicely and all was good.

    So, I did everything by the book, issued a party wall notice which states I will be building entirely on my land etc and he's come back saying he wants to keep the wall as is.

    The guys trouble so rather than go down the disputes road, I agreed and politely said I'll leave it but I'm not able to render that side as it couldn't be done completely (wall is in the way) so not worth the agro squeezing in the gap to do a hash job.

    He's now being as awkward as he can be, claiming I need to do xyz which I don't and not signing the notice which would have helped me by being able to start a bit early.

    But then I thought, do I even need his consent to start now?

    Surely the existing wall is now the party wall, my wall is simply a wall, on my land, which runs parallel to the boundary / party wall and he has no say over when or what I do with it?

    Am I correct? Can you have two party walls because of height or similar? There will be about an inch in between these two walls, or the minimum amount required to build with.

    Any help / advise much appreciated
     
    Last edited: 23 May 2016
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  3. Footsoldier888

    Footsoldier888

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    Hmm I think you need to be really careful once the PWA notice has been issued.

    If 14 days have gone by and he hasn't consented then he has legally speaking dissented. Then it's a case of you using either a joint surveyor or separate surveyors before work starts.

    Thing is if you do start and he is difficult, he might be able to find some way of making life very expensive for you if he is so minded. I certainly wouldn't do it without seeking legal advice. In theory just because you are inside the boundary doesn't mean you can't cause him damage in his eyes.

    If it's under 14 days since you issued notice then maybe it can be withdrawn, I don't know.
     
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  4. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Alter the design so that the notice is no longer valid.

    Then carry on with the the work.

    Or if you need to use/remove the wall, assume a dispute, instuct a surveyor, and get it included in the award.
     
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  5. sambotc

    sambotc

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    Thanks for the answers.

    So, going off woodys post and just to clarify a few things.

    There is an existing party wall which is a garden wall.

    My intentions now are to build the new wall about 50mm from the party wall solely on my land.

    The footings are to be no lower than the existing houses (terrace)

    Does this even need to be agreed under a party wall act?

    Surely my wall is not the party wall in this case and my excavations also fall outside the party wall act?

    Otherwise, effectively anything running parallel with a boundary becomes a party wall?

    Thanks in advance
     
  6. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Have you agreed who owns the wall or if it is jointly owned and maintained?

    For a wall to be a party wall it must be on the boundary, with the boundary line running (normally) down the middle of it. A wall wholly on one side of the boundary is not a party wall or party fence wall.

    You can build your wall anywhere on your side of the boundary. As the existing boundary wall is unlikely to be suitable to build on, you could but up against it with your new wall ,and no need to set your new wall back off it.

    Normally, you would allow for any verge or flat roof projection and set your extension wall back off the boundary line so that the roof finishes on the boundary line. This roof projection can project over any party wall on the boundary, but not cross the boundary.

    Yes as long as your foundations are not deeper than the neighbours, the PWA does not apply. You might find that when digging you do actually need to dig deeper than the neighbours foundations, but if you do, you just do it quickly and then fill the trench in with concrete
     
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  7. sambotc

    sambotc

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    Thanks for the reply again.

    The neighbour is claiming the wall is on his deeds and belongs to him. It sits smack astride the boundary so my argument is it is a party wall, otherwise it shouldn't be on my land.

    Either way, the wall can stay, I'm not bothered. I just want to use my land to build an extension on as the permitted development rules allow me to. Not be interfered with by some arse with nothing better to do.

    I've tried to do things by the book to avoid this but there is no reasoning with the unreasonable. Apparently I'm now in trouble for breaking up a 3 foot wide concrete path that was on my side, as it happens the boundary wall was built on top of this with no footings and as I've disturbed this I have dug his footings out. Surely the wall that he is claiming to be his, shouldn't be sat on my concrete path? Surely I have a right to remove 3 metres of concrete path and he isn't entitled to claim 3 foot of my land as his footings?
     
  8. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Yes you can do what you like on your half of the boundary. Probably best to ignore him and the Act if you don't need access to his land to do any of your work.
     
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  9. Footsoldier888

    Footsoldier888

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    I think you are playing a very dangerous game myself because you said at the top you had issued a written PWA notice.

    A PWA notice saying you are building entirely on your own land is a contradiction in terms.

    I thought you have to give notice under the section that applies, such as line of junction. This is why I think you should see a solicitor, to find out if your notice was valid or not.

    Are you certain you have the boundary right? Maybe your neighbour is correct in his claim, have you checked his deeds yet?

    The thing is with these situations is they can get incredibly expensive should the escalate to a legal dispute.
     
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  11. Footsoldier888

    Footsoldier888

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    But a neighbour can legally have foundation under your land if say they had built to the boundary line but got agreement to put foundations over the boundary.
     
    Last edited: 25 May 2016
  12. wessex101

    wessex101

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    One benefit of the Party Wall Act is that it prevents an awkward neighbour from stopping or generally unreasonably interfering with your lawful build.

    If the wall in question is indeed built astride the boundary you are perfectly entitled to knock it down and rebuild it or raise its height etc. to incorporate it into your extension. The only problem is it could well cost you £1000 plus in surveyors fees to get the agreement documented and sort the neighbour out. Sometimes it is money well spent if you have a particularly awkward neighbour.

    By the way you do not need an agreement to place foundations over the boundary into neighbours land. You have the common law right to place "simple" foundations over the boundary.
     
  13. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Where does that come from?
     
  14. wessex101

    wessex101

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    Good question. It is something we were taught at college and have come across it numerous times but I cannot quote the relevant legislation. It is touched on in the PWA where it distinguishes between foundations and special foundations.

    The logic behind it is a lump of concrete under the ground really isn't going to affect the neighbour. If they want to build they can use and extend the existing concrete foundation. However if they are going to build a basement or something the edge of the concrete could be cut back to the boundary line. Special foundations (reinforced concrete) cannot be cut back so they must have express permission.

    Brownie point for the first person who can quote the correct statute, I can't be bothered to look it up.
     
  15. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Me? :cool:

    There isn't one. There are no/very few instances were a private individual can cross a property boundary without explicit permission of the land owner. Foundations is not one of them.

    The party wall Act grants the right to place normal foundations under the neighbour's land if the Act is followed, but not special foundations without their explicit consent.
     
  16. wessex101

    wessex101

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    Fair point Woody.

    I dont want to hijack the thread so I'll try to keep this brief. Quite right the PWA allows simple foundations on neighbours land, it gives the building owner that right and the adjoining owner cannot object. All the owner has to do is serve notice, no need for surveyors or an award, just serve notice and after a month do it, no problem. Now as this provision does not allow the adjoining owner to object that suggests to me that there must be an overriding right that permits this.

    Now my college days pre-date 1996 so my point must pre-date the 1996 Party Wall Act. I had a quick look in some of my party wall books and it certainly appears in the 1953 London Building Act which comes from the good old days when party wall legislation only applied in London. From there the trail goes cold.

    In the interests of peace and harmony I concede that I cannot prove my assertion so it must fail (if I ever find the legislation I'll let you know). At best I can serve notice on my neighbour and put my simple foundations on his land and he has no right to stop me (rather over simplified summary)
     
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  17. Footsoldier888

    Footsoldier888

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    Just for the sake of clarity you can only go ahead with work if you have served notice and the neighbour has written back and agreed. If you hear nothing from them after 14 days they have dissented and then you have to get surveyors and do the award. He can't stop the work but he can appoint a surveyor to look after his interests.
     
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