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How to improve the chances of your neighbours consenting to your Party Wall notice

In this article we aim to guide you through the aspects of party wall notices, emphasising the significance of clear communication, understanding your neighbour’s perspective, and offering considerate solutions. By following these recommendations, you can foster a cooperative and informed decision-making process, minimising potential conflicts and ensuring a smoother construction experience for everyone involved.

Speak to your neighbour

Party wall notices, accompanied by a cover letter, acknowledgment forms, and drawings, can appear highly official and might be overwhelming for the typical homeowner if received unexpectedly. Especially if your planned work falls under permitted development, your neighbours may not have received prior notification from the planning office.

To facilitate a smoother process, it is advisable to inform them as soon as the initial set of drawings is available or even earlier. Taking the initiative to visit them personally and discuss the proposals can go a long way in fostering understanding and cooperation.

 

Tell them early

Delaying the service of notice until the eleventh hour can lead to complications and raise suspicions. If neighbours perceive they are being hurried, they may turn to a surveyor for advice, and you will bear the responsibility for their fees. Provide ample time for adjoining owners to review your proposal and engage in discussions, fostering a cooperative and informed decision-making process.

 

Listen to your neighbour and their objections

Addressing your neighbours’ concerns early on is important if you aim to alleviate apprehensions or adjust your plans to ease them. For instance, if safety concerns for small children or animals arise, consulting with your architect to create an additional drawing showcasing the placement and design of a hoarding before removing the boundary fence can be a proactive solution. Moreover, contemplating minor design adjustments for your extension to secure consent when serving notices is a wise approach. There might be aspects of the design that bother your neighbour but are non-critical to you, making successful negotiation the key to finding common ground.

 

Offer to pay for a Schedule of Condition

Your neighbour might simply desire a record of their property’s condition before any construction begins, making damage identification easier. They may not be aware that they can conditionally grant consent contingent on you arranging and covering the costs of a surveyor-prepared schedule.

Opting for a standalone schedule of condition can be a cost-effective alternative, with combined surveyor fees being around five times more. Offering to cover this cost could be a considerate gesture. A precise schedule benefits both parties, providing protection in case of reported damage.

While some owners may refuse party wall notices due to fees borne by the building owner, many unnecessary party wall awards result from a lack of forward planning and consideration. Securing consent with foresight can often prevent the need for formal awards and foster smoother neighbourly relations.

 

Have a clear plan and drawings

While it is technically feasible to serve a valid Party Structure Notice without including drawings, we would advise against it. When seeking your neighbour’s consent for specific works, ensuring they comprehend the details and potential impact on their property is crucial.

You don’t need to provide an exhaustive set of drawings, but it’s advisable to include selected ones illustrating the works governed by the Act. Ideally, include a plan featuring at least some of the adjoining property to offer a comprehensive understanding of the proposed changes.

 

To close

Approaching party wall matters with open communication and consideration for your neighbours is paramount. From the early disclosure of plans to actively listening to and addressing concerns, these steps lay the foundation for a collaborative and harmonious relationship throughout the construction process. 

Offering solutions, such as the option to pay for a Schedule of Condition, demonstrates a commitment to mutual understanding and protection of both parties. 

By having a clear plan, providing selected drawings, and securing consent with foresight, you not only fulfil legal requirements but also contribute to the development of positive neighbourly relations. 

In essence, proactive engagement and thoughtful negotiations pave the way for a successful and amicable construction journey.