Planning building works? Tell the neighbours!

Posted: 29th March 2017

JackhammerReasonable people are aware of how important it is to notify neighbours of building works before they commence. However, in one case where such wisdom did not prevail, inconsiderate property owners ended up receiving a High Court injunction and a five-figure legal costs bill.

Builders instructed by the owners of a suburban semi-detached house had begun using large jackhammers to excavate the concrete floor of their dining room. The floor slab was shared with their neighbours, to whom they had given no notice of the project, and the works had approached close to the party wall between the two properties.

After the neighbours sought legal advice and their solicitors swiftly took action, the owners backed down and consented to the grant of an injunction halting the works. In ordering the owners to pay the legal costs of the case, the Court noted that, by failing to notify their neighbours of the works, they had ignored the provisions of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. That was a serious matter and the owners were ordered to pay the costs on the punitive indemnity basis.