Our Neighour Has Stopped Work but Scaffold Remains

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

Our neighbour started a building project, a loft conversion and rear extension, but work stopped six months ago and the site has been idle since. The scaffolding remains up and does protrudes over the boundary into our property.

When we renovated our house we installed a satellite dish for television. We have not been able to use it since we moved back in due to the scaffolding blocking the signal. If our neighbour had been honest with us about when he would be carrying out his work, he could have moved scaffolding boards so we could at least watch television in our own home.

Do you have any advice as this is causing us a lot of grief?

Answer

The Party Wall Act provides a right of access to undertake notified works where access is necessary. However, the Act also confirms that the adjoining owner must not suffer unnecessary inconvenience as a result of the works. As the scaffold has not been used for the last 6 months it should have been removed.

You don’t say why work has stopped, you may not know, but if the building owner has run in to financial difficulties or fallen out with their contractor it may have been difficult for them to arrange the for the scaffolding to be removed.

If you’ve not already done so, you should ask the building owner to remove the projecting elements of the scaffold, within a reasonable time period, until they are needed again. Should he fail to do so, you could arrange for a scaffolder to remove the projecting elements (and leave them in the building owner’s garden), relocate the satellite dish etc. and claim the costs back from the building owner. If the cost becomes a matter in dispute it can be determined by the party wall surveyor(s). If surveyors were not appointed originally you still retain that right if a specific dispute such as this arises. Unfortunately, you might still need to go to court to enforce payment of costs awarded to you.

Alternatively, you could apply to court for an injunction forcing the building owner to remove the scaffold as it is now a trespass. I would recommend that you seek legal advice before taking this step.