Many of us are taking advantage of low interest rates and an improved economic outlook to think about adding an extension to our home. After all, after several years of dealing with adverse economic conditions, it’s time perhaps to make our home a little larger. Perhaps there are new children in the house, or you have always wanted to have a separate bedroom where family members or other guests can come and visit and stay comfortably. This is perfectly normal and understandable. However, before you begin hiring contractors and pulling the required permits, you should definitely take into consideration your neighbours.
Love Them or Hate Them, They Are Your Neighbours
If you stop to think about it for a minute, your neighbours are going to have to deal with all of the noise and activity that is involved in building your extension. Your contractors will certainly be coming back and forth, bringing supplies and getting to work. It is a good idea to let them know in advance of your plans, so that they are not caught off guard. Unless they plan on spending some time in your new extension, they won’t get any of the benefits of it, only the noise and chaos that the construction will create. This is a good idea no matter what, but it is especially crucial if you plan on building anywhere near their boundary line.
The Implications of the Party Wall Act
This Act is meant to make the whole process run smoothly, without any surprises or delays. Basically, it requires you to inform your neighbours at least two months in advance of beginning any work which would affect either a party wall or a boundary line. What the Act defines as “notifiable work” is any construction that would in fact be in close proximity of the neighbour’s boundary line, or even a party wall. Additionally, if you plan on doing any excavation work (typically to build foundations), you have to notify your neighbours if the work is going to be anywhere between 3 metres and 6 metres from their property. The actual distance is determined by the depth of the excavations themselves. The deeper they are, the more distance is required to consider the work “notifiable work”.
No Laughing Matter
If you ignore the required notice periods as contemplated by the Party Wall Act, and there is any damage to your neighbour’s property or party wall, they can sue you in court, and the judge can easily award them damages, as well as have you pay for their legal costs. However, if you have followed the letter of the law, and a problem occurs, then chartered surveyors can get involved to determine the cause of the damage and arrive at a more equitable solution.
What to Do with Your New Extension
Once the work is done and everyone is satisfied, you can now decide what to do with this new space that you have created. Perhaps you truly want to have another bedroom or even your own study so you can do some work at home. Another excellent suggestion would be to consider installing a steam shower, which is inexpensive and can provide you with a unique experience, giving you years of satisfying steam nirvana, which will relax you, similar to having your own personal massage. It also does not take up very much room and is quite attractive.