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Loft conversion issue advice

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by Mark15, 3 Aug 2015.

  1. Mark15

    Mark15

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    Hi guys,

    My mother who lives in an end block of houses have neighbours who have started work converting their loft into a bedroom.
    I am certainly no builder but was concerned at one point as they were bringing steel girders in to what we think (I do not know for sure) are supported on to just one brick as the houses are literally one brick apart (built in 18 nought blob)
    Again although concerned, we left it at that as we assumed they knew more and knew what they were doing.

    I am not saying this is related but what is definitely is worrying and the main issue is that my mum can now not shut her spare bedroom door as the ceiling appears to have been pushed down somehow due to the weight.
    Is there anything I/we can do about the situation?
    Who would I contact to get this checked?
    I know you do not need planning permission for a loft conversion but I assume it has to pass certain safety and legal checks?

    Many thanks for any help or advice anyone could give me on this.

    edit:
    I've just been reading up on the party wall act 1996.
    No notification verbally or written or papers have been sent to my mum
     
    Last edited: 3 Aug 2015
  2. Crystalclear

    Crystalclear

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    Ouch!

    Don't waste time, ring Your local council and give them the basic details of visible structure movement, and your genuinely concerned for your mums safety.

    The more worried you sound, and with all the facts you put forward, they'll make it a priority to visit you ASAP.

    Don't invite the builders next door, they'll only stir up problems, by 'conveying' what you say to your neighbours. Let your town hall deal with it as a major incident about to occur.

    Keep us updated.
     
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  3. Mark15

    Mark15

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    I e-mailed them yesterday actually but have not had a reply yet (blooming work has gotten in the way).
    I'll get on to them tomorrow on the phone.
    Will certainly keep you posted.
    Appreciate the help :)
     
  4. Crystalclear

    Crystalclear

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    Don't mention it. Stand your ground, and don't let 'we're busy' fool you.

    Also, it'll be worth 'ringing' as many tower bells as possible; it's the value of your house, at the least, that is at risk here; I'd recommend ringing your local councillor, irrelevant of how much time he has in his diary, ring a local trusted builder too, and get something on paper, if not his informal guidance, as to what is happening and what can happen.

    Just be patient and strong at the same time.
     
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  5. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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  6. Mark15

    Mark15

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    Yes!
    The house with the dodgy loft is in the middle of the block. So there is a neighbour on the other side.
    Once he comes back home my mum and I are going to pop round to speak to him to see if he had any written notification or if he has witnessed any damage yet.
    Then take it from there.
    The main concern is trying to get someone to look at the work done a.s.a.p due to the loft being empty (we think) at the moment.
    The last thing we need is extra weight being put up there.
     
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  7. Mark15

    Mark15

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    Ok thank you Woody.
    I'll have a look :)

    Thankfully my mum has home insurance lol.
    Once she finds the details out I'm on it.
     
    Last edited: 3 Aug 2015
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  8. Mark15

    Mark15

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    Quick update:

    I got to talk to a gentleman today at the council who said yes they had planning permission a while ago but as far as they knew work hadnt started as they obviously need to make several visits and they havnt been notified to inspect any work yet.
    I said well the girders have been in two months.. and I think the stairs and flooring was done last week.
    He wasnt too impressed with that lol.
    He wasn't interested much about us not receiving a party wall notification though.

    long story finally short.
    Hes due out tomorrow to take photos and get evidence of my mums house and will be leaving them a note with the intention to inspect.

    After hes been I'll be on to the house insurance.
     
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  9. Crystalclear

    Crystalclear

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    Ideally, the builder should suffer the costs of bad workmanship? Just it might affect your mums premiums?
     
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  10. Nakajo

    Nakajo

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    Neither the Planning Dept nor Building Control would be particularly interested in any Party Wall Award. That's simply a matter between you and your neighbour. It's in your neighbour's interest to have a Party Wall Award agreed as it's then less likely that you will sue him for damage to your property. Previously, where work has proceeded without such agreements, courts have in effect placed the burden of proof on the defendant to demonstrate that they didn't cause the damage! This is (presumably) because the Party Wall Act itself carries no penalty for failure of implementation.
     
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  11. Mark15

    Mark15

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    Yes Woody mentioned on the other thread posted that the council wouldn't care about that and the poster would have a lot more luck with the insurance.
    My next port of call tomorrow after the council have given me their opinion.
    Many thanks again to all of you for the advice.
     
  12. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    The burden of proof is always /has always been with the claimant, and never the defendant.

    Having a PW Award in place or not, does not help or hinder any subsequent claim for damages. Such a claim is always on its merits and subject to causation and proof of liability, and will succeed or fail on those alone.
     
  13. Crystalclear

    Crystalclear

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    Hummmm, well, if Doc was nearby, life would be easier, right?
     
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  14. Nakajo

    Nakajo

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    Woody is cute but misinformed. I have previously cited case law, so it's unnecessary to repeat it here.
     
  15. Mark15

    Mark15

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    Hey guys, dont argue lol.
    Obviously the party wall notification must stand for something lol.
    It wasnt even an issue or should I say we didn't even know of such an act until my mums ceiling / door frame started to move down.
    If we hadnt had that issue I probably wouldnt be looking into it more now.
    End of the day all I want to make sure is that it is safe and legal and done correctly.
    Any damage caused can and will be put back.. and not out of my mums pocket.
    For that to happen I need to build that case.
    The advice from all of you has helped me majorly and set me off in the right direction.

    I'll keep updated just in case on the off chance someone reading is following.
    Thank you again :)
     
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