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Party Wall Agreement/Damp

Discussion in 'Building' started by CandiceM, 15 Mar 2021.

  1. CandiceM

    CandiceM

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    Hi there

    Our new neighbours have popped round to discuss a damp issue in their garage.

    A builder has advised them a party wall agreement might be needed as he thinks the damp has been caused by lack of drainage from our path.

    The part of the garage that has the damp is in the extended part of the garage that was added several years ago, long before we moved in August 2020.

    Part of me wonders if the reason why there might be damp is because the wall doesn’t appear to have a visible DPC; the wall was added long after our path existed (our home was built in the 50’s).

    From the photo you can see there’s a gap between our path and the neighbours wall which has been partially filled with hardcore. Our road is on a slope so their property is effectively lower than ours; is it possible the natural drainage route has been cut off where the wall was built?

    I was a bit worried when he mentioned party wall agreement and if we’re about to be forced to spend a lot of money on fixing a problem that’s not ours and that we can’t afford.

    We’ve offered to clear away the hardcore and see if that helps things in the interim.

    Any info would be appreciated
    Candice
     

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  3. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Its got nothing to do the the Party Wall Act, so agreements don't even come in to it.

    He has a damp issue because its a single skin garage wall and is not supposed to be dry.
     
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  4. CandiceM

    CandiceM

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    Thank you Woody...! They’re very nice new neighbours and we’ll do what we can to help them, but when they mentioned party wall agreement I couldn’t think why that would be needed! Cheers for replying
     
  5. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Not "meant to be" but invariably can be.

    Water gets across a solid single skin wall relatively easily. A damp course is a waste of time as you still get rain soaking into the wall above the damp course and then running across the top of it.
     
  6. Djangobanjo

    Djangobanjo

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    If the solution is to knock down the garage wall and rebuild, then a party wall agreement might be needed if they are going to dig a new foundation next to your path, and destroy your path in the process.

    I've never really understood how party wall agreements protect either party though, especially the person not doing the work. When I had to do one, my neighbour scribbled their own rules on it, just because they hated everything we did.

    What happens if I build without a party wall agreement?
    If you fail to serve a party wall notice when it is due, your neighbour will have earned the right to question other aspects of your project, such as the quality of tradesmen on the job, the location of the skip on the road, the noise nuisance caused by constant drilling, the dust kicked up by demolition, and so on.7 Jul 2020
    https://architecture100.com/the-risks-of-not-serving-a-party-wall-notice-to-neighbours/
    I guess by getting you to agree to the works done on the boundary, they can create as much mess as they like and potentially say your path must be lowered to make their garage work? Maybe? I am really not sure, just wondering why they are asking for it. ... or why the builder is asking for it
     
  7. Djangobanjo

    Djangobanjo

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    These people say:

    The Act applies where you are either changing the nature of the party structure, or where your work is sufficiently close so that the structure may be changed as a result.

    As examples, you may be:

    • building a new wall or a new building on or at the boundary of two properties
    • .....
    • knocking down or rebuilding a wall


    So it would apply if they are going to knock it down and rebuild it ... or move it closer to the boundary line, if it is not already on the boundary
     
  8. CandiceM

    CandiceM

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    I think that’s what’s thrown us a bit, they have no solution to the work as yet, it just seems like they’re saying the reason for the damp is our path and the hardcore that fills the gap. Based off of one builder having a look. I’m quite sure the neighbours don’t want to replace the wall, they said they just want the damp stopped.

    I also think they’re a bit upset because they’ve found various other problems in the house and some of their boxed possessions were ruined from the damp in the garage. They said the house is much smaller than what they thought and need the garage for storage so I understand why they want to deal with the damp.

    I would argue the reason there is any damp is because that new part of the garage wall is preventing any proper run off, but I’m no expert!
     
  9. mrrusty

    mrrusty

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    This really isn't your problem. Their garage, their problem. Say that you will reasonably cooperate with any plans they may have (for good neighbourliness) but also say you have no intention of doing any work yourselves.
     
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  11. CandiceM

    CandiceM

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    Thank you, I feel that way too and we’re keen to keep neighbourly and will help where we can. The builder didn’t do any favours to either of us really as I’m sure our neighbours were awake last night thinking about it like I was!
     
  12. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    The most unimaginable solution. :eek:
     
  13. Djangobanjo

    Djangobanjo

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    Yeah, but a builder might see this as an opportunity to get some work - homeowner devastated that their belongings were damaged, no room in the house, need dry storage space ... could happen

    A party wall agreement will need to specify the work being carried out, so at least you will know what they are planning on doing if one does come across.
     
  14. cdbe

    cdbe

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    Suggest they "tank" the wall from the inside, with brush on tanking slurry from wickes or similar, get their builder to check the roof and guttering for leaks, find the downpipe and ensure its draining to somewhere suitable. Kindly, after taking some "before" photos, allow their builder to excavate a channel about 6" wide along the wall to check it's not damp soil again the wall and replace with free draining stone if necessary - he needs to go down to 6" below their floor level, if there's any tanking slurry left a few coats on that side of the wall won't do any harm.
     
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  15. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    I'd suggest that that scenario would require an application under the Fantasy Wall Act 1872.
     
  16. CandiceM

    CandiceM

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    Argh just had another conversation with neighbour and I’m even more stressed.

    We’ve cleared out the hardcore and found concrete under where it was which the neighbour is saying is causing the damp in the corner of his garage. The damp seems to be rising up through his floor and damp is climbing up his wall.

    Seemingly his proposal to fix the damp is to either excavate the concrete or create some sort of gulley. I got the impression this is at our expense and not his.

    I imagine this is where the party wall agreement would come in, as our foundations are well within the 3m.

    Looking at the condition of his garage wall I would assume any sort of excavation might create more issues.

    Maybe I’m wrong but I feel this reaction might be a little extreme for some damp in the corner of his garage
     

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    Last edited: 16 Mar 2021
  17. mrrusty

    mrrusty

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    I'll say again, this is NOT your problem. You have no liability. The PWA comes in to effect if your neighbour wants to carry out work, and it helps to protect YOU against damage caused by their work. In no way does a PWA give you any liability for past work.

    If your neighbour wants to sort this out, it is all down to him to design and pay for the work. He has to issue a PWA to you telling you what he is going to do. If you think the work he plans to do might affect the integrity of your house, then you start involving surveyors - which will be at the cost of the person doing the work. As I say, probably best to just cooperate by allowing access etc, but strongly say you are not carrying out or paying for any work yourself. If they do carry out work, you are entitled to have your path reinstated to how it is now.

    His work, he has to pay. You have zero liability, and he has to carry it out without damaging your property.
     
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