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The Party Wall Act, boundary fences, noise, access rights and objections from neighbours

When carrying out building work on or near a property boundary it is important to establish exactly where the boundary is and if the planned building work is subject to the Party Wall Act.

Noise, access rights and objections from neighbours must also be taken into account.

Local Authority Building Control Logo Do you know where the boundary is?

Building Control cannot offer any advice as to who may own fences or land.

Boundary lines, fences, walls etc are usually indicated on the title deeds or Land Registry document. If you have a mortgage your lender will hold these. On an older property where no indication exists you may need to take legal advice as to your boundaries if they are in doubt.

Check your deeds and speak to your neighbours and get agreement as to where the boundary is before you plan to build a property  extension. (The Council does not keep records, which show precise ownership boundaries).

Check with next door to see if they know if the below ground foundations of any wall or structure close to the boundary encroach on your property. This may mean a gap will need to be kept or a special foundation designed. If you are unsure then excavate a trial hole down to the level of the foundations, note the details and pass this information to your surveyor or architect. Be careful not to damage any foundation or underground equipment if you do this. If the foundations of your extension will encroach on your neighbours property then Planning Permission will be required. (see Planning Services ).

Check if there are any services (gas, water etc.) under where you plan to build an property extension

This may impose restrictions or require a special foundation design, particularly if there is a public sewer to be built over, (details of public sewers and the specifications of work required by the Water Authority - the sewer owner - are available from Building Control, see contact details below.

You may need to notify the owners of adjoining properties as required by The Party Wall Act

The work proposed, either an extension or work to a party wall, may require notification to the adjoining owner under The Party Wall Act 1996.

The Party Wall Act 1996 may apply to the work that you are carrying out. If so, this will involve giving notice of at least 28 days.

The Act covers: -

  • Work carried out directly to an existing party wall.
  • New building at or astride the boundary line between properties.
  • Excavation within three or six metres of the neighbouring building depending on the depth of the hole or foundations.

For more information on the Party Wall Act an explanatory booklet is available, See Planning Portal - The Party Wall etc Act 1996.

Permitting builders working next door access to your land

This is not a matter covered by Building Regulations. In most cases it could be covered by an agreement under the Party Wall Act. See Planning Portal - The Party Wall etc Act 1996, where you can download a free booklet on the subject.

If you agree to let your neighbour's builder have access do so in writing with an agreement for them to repair any damage. Take photographs before any work starts to avoid disputes.

If you do not agree to the builders working from your land and they do so regardless, you must consult your solicitor quickly to ensure that the situation is controlled.

This can be particularly important if boundary fences are removed.

From more information - 

Controlling the noise levels and hours of building work.

The noise and hours of building works cannot be controlled by Building Regulations.

Builders commonly work from 7.30am to 6.00pm from Monday to Saturday, however, it is not uncommon for them to work outside these times.

If you feel that the noise and/or hours of work are above what you believe to be tolerable you should contact Environmental Health who can advise you further - phone 01268 294277.

Building operations are noisy and vibration caused by work on an building may add to the actual level of disturbance.

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