Can my Neighbour Undertake Works While I am Self-Isolating?

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

What I wanted to ask you was is my neighbour allowed to start work? If she is I’m absolutely unhappy with that as I am home self isolating all the time and it would be horrendous living next door to all that noise.

Note – this question was submitted during the Coronavirus crisis.

Answer

As it stands, the Government guidance does not prevent building works from being undertaken so long as social distancing can be maintained. Works may therefore proceed and any right of access over your property to undertake the works still stands. Access is, as always, subjects of 14 days’ notice in writing.

I don’t know the background to your case, but if there is a party wall award in place it would typically include safeguards relating to access such as the erection of a temporary hoarding. You would need to remain indoors while the hoarding is erected but that should take no more than a couple of hours and once it is in place works should be able to continue without compromising your self-isolation.

It is generally accepted that building works will cause a certain degree of noise disturbance and unfortunately this must be accepted by the adjoining owners during normal working hours (typically between 8:00am and 6:00pm Monday to Friday and 8:00am and 1:00pm on Saturdays). I appreciate that this does not help neighbours who are at home during the day but that is not unusual even during normal times.

Despite building works not being prohibited by the current restrictions there are practical issues which may arise e.g. it is increasingly difficult to arrange for the delivery of materials to site and many Building Control departments are either operating on reduced hours or not at all. It’s therefore possible that the building owners may decide to put the works on hold until the restrictions have been lifted.