Party Wall issues, advice needed urgently please

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by KnightWhoSaysNi, 7 Dec 2015.

  1. KnightWhoSaysNi

    KnightWhoSaysNi

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    I'm having a dormer loft conversion done. Before the works started I had plans drawn by an architect and got council permission (not planning permission, that wasn't needed needed).
    However, I didn't serve Party Wall notice.

    While the builders were putting in the steal beams, they caused damage in the loft next door - cracks where the beams went in, and hairline cracks in the plaster.

    We talked to the neighbour to see how to settle this, and decided to serve party wall notice 'retrospectively' (whatever that would mean, I know there is no such thing, but I'm leaving it to the surveyor to sort it out). My builders have also offered to repair the damage. I hired a surveyor and paid him to serve the notice, but he said it's going to take a while and has been fairly unresponsive (not answering phone calls or emails). The neighbour is rushing me, because he wants to sort this as quickly as possible. He has made it clear that he'll appoint his own surveyor, which means it may turn out costly for me.

    It's been over a week and my surveyor hasn't done anything yet. This morning the neighbour texted me he's going to get a court injunction to stop the works.

    The works affecting the party wall are long done, and the only works left to be done are internal works (electrics, plastering, etc.). It is my understanding that he can't stop us now. And technically I don't even have to serve the party wall notice. I can just let the works carry on and there is nothing my neighbour can do. Am I correct?

    In any case, I don't want to get into a dispute with him and I want to make him happy. That's why I'm doing this retrospective party wall notice and bearing the associated costs. I understand I should have done it *before* the works started, but it's too late so I'm just doing what I can do now to improve my relations with the neighbours.
     
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  3. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Why don't you just agree informally what repairs are necessary, and send the builders around this week, and sort it all out?

    He may well get an injunction if only to determine if the PW Act still applies to any work. He can still get an in junction despite the PW Act.

    A retrospective PW notice has no meaning now, and I don't even think that you can actually serve one.

    Don't let it go to court. Do what you can to appease the neighbour.

    Your surveyor has conned you. It does not take a while to serve a PW notice. Get a refund.
     
  4. KnightWhoSaysNi

    KnightWhoSaysNi

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    He argues that the damage may be deeper than what can be seen, and needs a surveyor to determine what needs to be repaired.

    I don't think the PW Act applies to any remaining work - the steel work is done, the roofing work is done, all that's left to do is internal work - plumbing, electrics, insulation and plastering. The stud work is also already in place, so the party wall is not going to be touched.

    The neighbours on the other side are also unhappy that I didn't serve a PW notice. They would like to have one, because damage may appear years later and they want the assurance I'd cover the costs should that happen. And if they come to sell the house, the prospective buyer might like to have that assurance as well.
     
    Last edited: 7 Dec 2015
  5. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    You can still instruct a surveyor to survey and report on the damage, and recommend repairs. This does not need to be as part of the PW Act.

    The neighbour's can claim for any damage which might arise or be discovered in the future at any time. The PW Act gives no more protection, than what is already available.
     
  6. napoleondynamite

    napoleondynamite

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    What is 'council permission'?!
     
  7. geraldthehamster

    geraldthehamster

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    You can't serve a notice under Party Wall Act retrospectively. A Party Wall notice details conditions for how the work will be done, and it's already been done.

    It seems reasonable for the neighbour whose house has sustained the damage to expect a surveyor to assess the damage, and for it to be put right; and for you to pay for it. Not only reasonable, but something they could successfully sue for. Nothing to do with the PWA at this stage. So I'd agree to do it.

    Cheers
    Richard
     
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  9. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    That leaves ......
     
  10. noseall

    noseall

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    ...err, don't tell me...I know this one...know it...umm.....
     
  11. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Acrypol! :LOL:
     
  12. KnightWhoSaysNi

    KnightWhoSaysNi

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    Sure, I'm happy to do that.

    Thanks guys.

    By "council permission" I meant a certificate of lawfulness.
     
  13. DMHarchi1

    DMHarchi1

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    It is my understanding that you cannot serve notice retrospectively suggest you get the repair work done and try to reassure the neighbour an independent structural engineers report on stability may help reassurance.
     
  14. DIYnot Local

    DIYnot Local

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