Builder Ignored Safeguards in The Award – Can Our Work Be Stopped?

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

Our party wall award called for our builder to dig the foundations in 1.5m bays to ensure the stability of the neighbours extension. The builder, annoyingly and without our consent, did not carry out this and dug it all in one go. On the day concrete was poured our surveyor and the building control officer were present and both signed off as being happy with the works and that no issues had arisen. The other surveyor (appointed by our neighbour) could not make it that day despite two days notice and never requested to re-visit. Our surveyor was very professional and informed the other surveyor of what had occurred. We heard nothing, and this was several weeks ago. Then our neighbour came back from a long trip abroad.

Our neighbour is now threatening an injunction to stop our building work pending “resolution of this matter” ie the breach of the PWA. Her surveyor has complained to our surveyor but not put us on notice or anything like that. Assuming no damage was caused at the time, are we right to assume we are ok because we are now way beyond the foundations stage and brickwork is going up and it is now irrelevant in what way the foundations were set?

Answer

Excavating the trench in one go was not a breach of the Party Wall Act but rather the provisions agreed by the surveyors. The purpose of those provisions was to reduce the risk of damage to the adjoining property so if no damaged occurred then you are fortunate. As that part of the work is now complete an injunction could not be justified so I see no problem with continuing the build.