How Will it Affect my Future Plans If My Neighbours Build Up to the Boundary?

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

My wife and I have been served 2 notices.

  1. Line of junction notice – the neighbours plan on building “on the line of junction of the said lands a wall wholly on our own land, by carrying out works as detailed below, after the expiration of one month from the service of this notice” the intended works are ” excavate a foundation to construct a single storey side and rear extension”.
     
  2. Three metre/ Six metre notice – “It is intended to excavate and build within 3 metres of your building and to a lower level than the bottom of your foundations by carrying out the works as detailed below after the expiration of one month from the service of this notice” the intended works are” excavate a foundation to construct a single storey side and rear extension”. 

I would like some advice as what to do as I have been asked to either consent to the work, dissent and use their surveyor to produce an Award or dissent and use my own surveyor to produce and agreed award. 

Our property is a semi-detached house. We recently moved into it and the previous owner has moved the old garage forward slightly and already extended the rear of the house and there is now a utility room behind the garage where the old garage used to be. These new buildings do not currently go up to the boundary between the houses. 

However in the future we would like to be able to extend the side of our house to the furthest we can and also build a second storey on it and I guess my question is where would we stand then if the neighbours were to build up to the line of junction? Would we be able to do the same considering there would be a wall already up very close to our property line as our builders would not be able to get to the neighbours side of our new wall?

Answer

Your neighbours have a right to build up to the boundary but can only project their foundations over the boundary if it is necessary. It is not generally necessary in this situation as they can build a wider foundation placed entirely on their own land (known as an ‘eccentric’ foundation). Assuming that they keep the wall and the foundation on their own land you will also be able to build up to the boundary in the future without the hassle of having to cut back. 

You might suggest to your neighbour that they build a new party wall astride boundary. That wall would then be available to use as part of your future extension although you would be obliged to make a fair contribution (not now but when you make use of it). 

In light of the complications above I would suggest that you dissent to the notices and appoint a surveyor. 

Having a formal record of what has been agreed/built will be important when you come to do your works.