Do I Have to Give My Neighbour Access?

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

I am concerned that my neighbour is planning to lay foundations crossing the boundary with my property and that I have no choice in the matter of workmen entering my property to work on his wall?

I can’t imagine that he could extend his foundations into my garden, because that would stop me planting flowers or whatever, so I assume that he can only extend to my side of the boundary fence, but I don’t see why I should let him have access to my property – and my two dogs will probably agree with me.

Answer

The right to project foundations over the boundary is set out in section 1(6) of the Act:

(6) Where the building owner builds a wall wholly on his own land in accordance with subsection (4) or (5) he shall have the right, at any time in the period which—

      (a) begins one month after the day on which the notice mentioned in the subsection concerned was served, and

      (b) ends twelve months after that day,

to place below the level of the land of the adjoining owner such projecting footings and foundations as are necessary for the construction of the wall.

but, there are 2 important restrictions within the clause – the foundations must be for a wall at the boundary and they must be ‘necessary’. It’s generally possible to build a wall on an eccentric foundation (i.e. a wider foundation with the wall on the edge) which would not require a projection so it would be difficult for an owner to argue that it is necessary to project. 

A right of access to carry out the works is confirmed in section 8. The Building Owner will be responsible for any damage caused and, if surveyors are appointed, they will agree any necessary safeguards in advance.