Serving Notice for a Planned Loft Extension to a Terraced Property

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

My neighbour is planning a roof conversion. We live in newly built terraced house (built in 2010). 

I received a letter from the council informing of next door neighbour (from mid terrace house)’s application for insertion of dormer windows and lights in relation to a roof conversion. He didn’t mention to us personally anything. Our relationship is neutral but we don’t talk much.

Does he need to send me a Party Wall advice notice for the roof conversion? I don’t have any objection as long as it doesn’t have adverse effect on party walls, the roof and anything I don’t know about these poorly built new houses. Should it have any effect on my property and the roof? 

I haven’t received any party wall advice notice from him yet. If he asks us to sign the party wall consent, should we ask him to appoint a surveyor? What should I do if he doesn’t? Should I pay for the surveyor? On the other hand, if he doesn’t ask the party wall consent, what should I do?

Answer

In most cases a loft conversion to a terraced house will require notice to be served on the adjoining owner. That is because it will normally be necessary to support the floor to the new loft on beams spanning between the party walls. 

It is sometimes possible to design the beams to run from front to back and if that were the case the work would not come within the scope of the Act.

If the work does come within the scope of the Act and your neighbour goes ahead without serving notice then your only remedy would be to obtain an injunction to stop the work while party wall matters were resolved. 

If the work does not come within the scope of the Act it poses little risk to your property and you would not need to appoint a surveyor.

Question

I will ask him of his plan to see if it falls within the act. If it is, what are the party wall matters I should be concerned about (things I should ask him to put in the agreement) or will it be better to put this matter in the hand of a surveyor rather than signing the agreement?

Follow-up

There will only be an award if you dissent and appoint a surveyor. If you consent to the notice you are confirming that you are satisfied that the proposals pose no risk to your property and you are happy for them to proceed without input from surveyors.

Question

I am thinking if I ask him to give me a notice properly prepared by a surveyor (paid by him) and include the terms protecting the interest of my property, will it be enough for me to sign? Do surveyors provide such services or are they involved only in the case of dispute?

Follow-up

A surveyor could prepare the notice on behalf of your neighbour but a notice would not contain any terms relating to how your property would be protected – that information goes in to the Party Wall Award. The only way to get an award is to dissent to the notice and appoint a surveyor.