Building an extension to your home is an exciting prospect. Your property will become larger and more valuable, as well as offering you the chance to build something that reflects your desired aesthetic. Additionally, you might be able to incorporate smart technology and other new innovations to make your extension reflect modern life. During that giddy planning stage, however, you have to consider one other factor – your neighbours.
You might be close friends with your neighbours. You might barely know them. Either way, building work on your property will likely have an effect on them, and they see none of the benefit. A building project will mean increased traffic and noise, as well as an influx of construction workers and potential debris. Many construction jobs take place over the spring or summer, when there’s less chance of rain or inclement weather. Unfortunately, it’s also the time for your neighbours to enjoy their garden, something that will be less enjoyable if it’s noisy for the better part of the day.
It’s important to begin any extension planning by having a full and frank conversation with your neighbour. Many people appreciate the fact that you’ve thought of them.
Other tips for consideration include, sacrificing your own parking to make space for things like rubbish skips or vans. Try to find ways of reducing the impact of your extension on your neighbours.
If you share a wall with your neighbour, you need to serve what’s called a Party Wall Notice. The details of the Party Wall Act can be found here. Writing for the Guardian, Donna L Ferguson explains what happens next:
“Once you have served notice, your neighbours, known as “the adjoining owners”, have 14 days to respond. Work can go ahead immediately if they agree in writing. If they dissent or fail to reply the matter goes into dispute, and this is when it can become expensive. You should give your adjoining owners at least 10 days to decide whether one surveyor can act for both of you or whether two surveyors should be involved in drawing up a party wall award, which lays out the rules your builder must adhere to while carrying out the party wall works. Your neighbour’s property will also be surveyed both before and after the works are carried out to see if any damage has occurred, which you’ll need to repair.”
Again, although your notice will fulfil your legal obligations, the process will go so much more smoothly if you treat your neighbour with respect and consult with them first – even if it’s only a gesture.
The key to an amicable extension between neighbours is to make sure that your planned extension doesn’t infringe on their privacy or devalue their property. Ludicrously egregious cases aside, giving some thought to how your neighbours will live with your build should be par for the course. Will your finished product throw their thriving garden into the shade? Are you blocking their only window?
If you’re interested in extending your home (or even building something completely new) but don’t want to annoy your neighbours, give us a call today. We have a wealth of experience when it comes to navigating the pitfalls of planning, consultations and the good old friendly chat.