You may have been planning to get a loft conversion but there are some rules and regulations that you have to follow. One of the common issues to deal with is the party wall Agreement. Most homeowners are unaware of this requirement. Here we have an overview to give you an idea about what they are and how they can affect your project plans.
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What is it?
The Party wall is the part of the house that is connected with the neighbours. Literally, the wall that you and your neighbours share both physically and in shared ownership. Historically there were many issues and ambiguity surrounding the party wall works, so in 1996 the party wall act was introduced to simplify the process for any party planning to undertake works to their home. Construction works often cause disturbance and depending on the works your having could affect their property unintentionally or affect future building works they may wish to have. The law is in place to protect everyone in these instances.
What you need to do
Upon finalising the plans for your conversion or extension you should serve notice to any neighbour you share a party wall with. This could mean multiple notices being issued. We always recommend issuing notice everyone as soon as possible, but no less than two months before the building works commences.
In the notice, you should to explain everything regarding the type of works you are planning to have, how everything will be managed and the design changes that the house will be going through.
It is a requirement for loft conversions and extensions and if the neighbour wants to contest it, it can cost you additional money. Your neighbour cannot prevent you from having a loft conversion or extension, but they can impose certain conditions upon the way it’s done and request an appointed surveyor to undertake the drafting of an award and site survey, which you need to pay for. The average cost for this service is normally around £1000 – £1200.
We always suggest involving the neighbours early on in the process and maintain an informative relationship, this can save time, disputes and money. A good builder will be well versed in these practices and can support you through the process and even help with the neighbours. There are many good resources on the internet to give you greater insight into this process.