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Starting works before party wall award finalised

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by worriedhouseholder, 20 May 2017.

  1. worriedhouseholder

    worriedhouseholder

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    I am going to be building a roof extension that involves some party wall work. The party wall award with a neighbour has still not yet be agreed, in part because of some fussy queries from him and the surveyor appointed by him which have not yet been resolved. My understanding is that the neighbours cannot ultimately prevent the award being agreed as the surveyors make the agreement and they are supposed to be impartial (although my neighbour's surveyor does seem to be acting more as an advovate for him).

    But I have builders ready to start work as soon as possible. I know that clearly they cannot do work that involves the party wall until the award is signed but can they do other work in preparation such as putting up scaffolding, taking the old roof off etc? What risks are there with this? I am worried that as the party wall award will specify how the job is done, for instance no Sunday work, that this effectively extends to the wider work, not just that involving the party wall.

    Thanks
     
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  3. tony1851

    tony1851

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    Anyone can put up scaffolding without invoking the PWA, regardless of the ultimate purpose; similarly for taking part of your roof off (though you would need to be sure that the party wall was not exposed to the elements).
    So crack on in the meantime and don't let the lack of a signature cause delay.
     
  4. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    The award only applies to the work "in pursuance of the Act" not all work.

    But once the award is drafted, it may contain some conditions which you need to abide by, which you may not have done so (or needed to have done) before the award was made.
     
  5. worriedhouseholder

    worriedhouseholder

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    Thanks for these comments. We are going to make a start, complying with the conditions in the draft award but not yet do work involving the party wall. A bit of a risk but I cannot wait

    The surveyor appointed by my neighbours continues to raise concerns about the chimney stacks, which they share, and which will be raised by 7 feet or so as part of the mansard extension work. These concerns appear to be prompted by my neighbour who claims that they use all their chimeys and is worried that they 'won't work' after the work has been done. I can't see how this can be a potential problem. If the chimneys work now in a 4 storey house, as they say, then how can raising them by a few feet stop them working unless my builders do something really incompetent, which should be obvious and clearly we would put right?

    But the surveyor is now proposing full CCTV surveys of the chimneys at my expense of course to investigate their condition. Is this reasonable and what could I do to resolve this without incurring what seems an unnecessary expense? I suspect that my neighbours are trying to use my works as a pretext to get their chimneys checked with me paying!
     
  6. John D v2.0

    John D v2.0

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    I think the point is the surveyor realised she might claim for works, so the CCTV survey is to provide evidence of the condition before hand so she can't claim for anything afterwards.
     
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  8. chappers

    chappers

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    Exactly, just get a sweep around to stick a camera up them. It won't cost much in the grand scheme of things and you will probably find she is lying and they are already blocked with birds nests etc. She probably already knows they are blocked
     
  9. worriedhouseholder

    worriedhouseholder

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    I've had their chimneys checked and would you believe they have all been condemned as severely unsafe - basically there was a very real risk of fumes, including carbon monoxide, leaking out of their chimneys into both their property and mine.

    Angry doesn't even begin to describe how I feel, particularly as far from being mortified by this as any normal people would be they are now hostile to me about my works which they see as having caused them not to be able to use their chimneys which they are still convinced worked fine despite the pretty firm advice from the chimney sweep.

    I have incurred large extra party wall award costs due to my surveyor and their surveyor trying to agree how to reflect my neighbours concerns that their chimneys will not work properly after I have raised the chimney stack. This was in good faith that they led me to believe the chimneys were sound.

    Is there any recourse I can claim as it seems totally unfair that I should have to bear all these costs when the premise of the discussions was so fundamentally flawed? I have also paid 450 pounds for the chimney surveys which they are not offering to pay back despite not having had a chimney check for 20 years (it turns out). But to be honest that seems a small price to pay to save my family's life.
     
  10. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    You need to give your surveyor a kick to sort it out.

    An existing defective flue or chimney is easy to distinguish from a new fault.

    You can't claim anything regarding the defective flue unless you can prove that you have suffered some previous loss because of it.

    If the survey is not part of the PW award, then you will need to sort part payment out with the neighbour. Or see if you can get it included in the award as a shared cost.
     
  11. Stingray13

    Stingray13

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    I think you'll have to swallow the £450 for the survey it's like a more advanced schedule of condition and what's worth noting is if you had to deal with this after it would have cost you more.

    If you have dealt with all the issues you or the Building owner (BO) surveyor (Yours) can invoke the third yes it will add costs but they and the BO Surveyor should be able to award and make an award based on the Adjoining Owners (AO) surveyors fees if they are reasonable.

    This should get you your award and prevent any escalation of costs, they have a duty to mitigate your losses.
     
  12. DIYnot Local

    DIYnot Local

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