We’re nearing the end of April now but since it was National Home Improvement Month we’re sure that there are many of you out there who have really gone all out with your interior design and renovation projects.
And we’re equally sure that there are just as many - if not more - of you out there who are keen to keep the momentum up and carry on improving your properties in May and well beyond.
If you’re thinking about having extensions done to your Liverpool property over the next few weeks and months, and you have a shared property boundary (known as a party wall) with a neighbour, what you absolutely must do is tell them if you want to carry out any building work near it or on it.
Party walls stand on the land of at least two owners and either forms part of the building or appears as a garden wall (not wooden fences, however). There are also party structures that you may need to consider as well, either a floor or other structure that separates buildings with different owners, such as flats.
Party wall agreements are different from building regulations approval and planning permission, which is also worth bearing in mind.
You will need to tell your neighbour if you want to dig below or near the foundation level of their home, work on an existing party wall or build on or at the boundary of the two properties. Your neighbours won’t be able to stop you from making changes to your house (as long as they’re within the law), but they can affect how and when the work is carried out.
You’ll also need to give your neighbours enough notice before you start the job in question, between two and 12 months before you intend to begin the building works. You can speak to them, of course, but you will need to give notice in writing. Any agreement reached between the two of you should also be in writing.
The idea behind the Party Wall etc Act 1996 is to prevent and resolve disputes about party and boundary walls, as well as excavations near adjacent buildings. Typical work covered by the Act includes cutting into party walls, removing chimney breasts, knocking down and rebuilding party walls, making party walls taller, shorter or deeper, and digging below the foundation level of a next door property.
With upwards extensions becoming increasingly popular these days, you might also want to look into permitted development rights. This means you might not have to apply for planning consent in order to build upwards - but do remember that party wall legislation will still remain in place and you will need to adhere to this if building upwards.
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