Neighbours planning to extend to boundary.

Discussion in 'Sites, planning, self-builds and extensions' started by micamaca, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. micamaca

    micamaca Frequent Poster

    I have read a lot of threads here but would still like some advice concerning an extension.

    We get on well with our neighbours and they were very good to us, in that they looked after our house for some time while we were away for a time.

    They have told us that they are looking into getting an extension, building onto the back of the house. We haven't seen the plans yet but it will not require planning permission. Our houses are build in an L-Shape at the back, so they want to fill in the L-shape and make it square. They would like to build the extension right up to the boundary between our houses, marked by a fence at the moment. They say then if we wanted to extend later, we could use this wall too. Fine. But we have no intention of extending and may even intend to sell in the next couple of years.

    I have read various posts here and I'm now terrified of gutters and roof overhanging. I also wonder will our back wall get damp due to lack of light. Certainly the back room which has a sliding glass double door will be as dark as hell as it will now sit between our L-shape kitchen and their extension, like at the end of a wide alley. Is there a possibility of a damp wall here? Please say no!

    Our neighbours are very decent people so we would like to accommodate them as much as possible. But if we are selling later, we don't want to lose potential buyers because of their extension. They were very good to look after our house but at the same time, all our money is in our house. We can't afford to let the value drop any more than it has already.

    We feel we will need to get an architect or solicitor to answer our questions when we see the plans.
    1 Who can tell us more? A solicitor or architect?
    2 Should we allow them to build up to the boundary wall?
    Would this be a possible advantage, if someone did want to extend our house later? Or is it just bad news, to be avoided at all costs!
    3 How does a parapit wall work? Would it work with a roof that would be stretching across the entire back of the house. They intend to lower existing roof and simply add on to bring it across entire back of property?

    As I say, we do want to accommodate them as much as possible...

    Thanks in advance.
  2. MOB

    MOB Frequent Poster

    1. There is no need to be terrified of gutters and overhangs. Your neighbours have asked for permission and have said that they envisage this as a party wall when done. It is in your interest and theirs that this be reflected in a short written agreement. As long as the agreement clearly sets out your right to also build on this wall, and so on, there should be no problem.

    2. The building may block direct sunlight - important for winter sun and early morning or alte evening (if you are currently getting morning or evening sun from their side) but I doubt that light levels will be appreciably reduced overall. In fact, quite a lot of light reflects from a wall - esp. if it is finished with a white plaster. So it is possible that the extension could actually increase your light and\or help to make a nice suntrap area.
  3. paul24

    paul24 Frequent Poster

    We have done that extension a couple of years ago. Our house is the same layout as yours and we put in an extension that extended down beyone the back of the kitchen.

    My side wall of the extension is at least 8" inside the boundary line. This is to allow me to put on my roof tiles and guttering without ever going over the boundary line. The outside line of my guttering is just about sitting on the boundary line. We didn't bother putting up a common party wall for the neighbour to build into.

    What if my neighbour damages my wall or roof or something happens during the construction of his extension.

    The other to remember is that if they are putting in foundations then normally the foundations extend either side of the wall. This means that even if they are 8" inside their own boundary they will need to extend their foundations onto your ground.
    When I dug initially down about for my foundations I undercut the neighbours ground and poured my foundations across both pieces of ground. The neighbour was never aware and it didnt affect their back yard. It gave me a better foundation and will also allow the neighbour tie into this foundation in the future.

    My neighbour let me into their yard when I was finishing and also during construction and I offered to either finish the wall on their side in a flat plaster and paint it or to pebble dash it it a similar finish to the rest of their house.

    I also let them use my skip to get rid of any rubbish while I had it there.

    While it may block some of the light initially in the morning, the neighbours back area has a lot more privacy and it is a real sun trap for them.

  4. micamaca

    micamaca Frequent Poster

    Thanks for both those replies. First I should say it won't be a sun trap as the garden faces north, so we get most of our sun at the front of the house. So I fear this room at the back will get darker again, unless the prescense of a white wall makes a difference. Maybe!

    MOB, can I ask you...why wouldn't I have to be terrified of the roof and guttering? I read on some posts, that if they have their guttering overhanging and we did want to build an extension or the next owner did, that their guttering could only start at the end of our neighbours guttering...which would restrict the size of our extension. So that's why I'm terrified. Not to mention the whole, the guttering is on your property, you are responsible bit. What if lunatics moved in next door and let gutters leak onto our property? Too much knowledge from reading threads can definitely be a baaaad thing! ;) Tell me I'm wrong, please!

    I'm not sure if our neighbours have even taken roof and guttering into account as they only spoke of the wall. Maybe I'm being naive but they are really decent folk. I don't think they have spoke with an architect, only builders for quotes and ideas. So that could explain that.

    We have an architect we trust and we may have to get a copy of the plans...if possible, and call him out for his advice and for options.

    I take your point Paul, someone building onto a party wall later could certainly do damage. Also if they could pour foundations in without lifting our patio I'd be happier too. As otherwise it's more expense and mess for us and them. We have assured them that the builders can have access already as they were very good to us before.

    I'm just trying to find out where would be best to agree on the wall. Should it stay on their side or should it go down the middle. And what are the consequences of both. From reading many threads last night, there doesn't seem to be a definitive answer on this. So do we speak to our architect for ideas and options regarding position of wall? It will cost a few hundred no doubt but we reckon it might be worth it.

    We have no intention to extend for now. These houses have only two large bedrooms and a third study, with no possibility for attic conversion. So my husband is of the opinion that an extension to our house would not add value for us. But I'm afraid we would lose potential buyers because of alley-like appearance of our downstairs room. I'm possibly over-thinking it though. The house is already losing value anyway but still, we would like to keep that at a minimum :) I'm sitting here trying to imagine the is going to feel very closed in if they build a party wall, because instead of a fence, I'll have a wall and a roof on top, which will go considerably higher. It will be more private definitely. We don't need more privacy though...okay... I'm rambling! Thank you again for replies. If anyone else has any other experiences to add or advice, that would be great. Cheers
  5. Mommah

    Mommah Frequent Poster

    I think if the room is already north facing that you will in fact loose very little if any light.

    We built an extension that didn't interfere with the neighbours or the fence. Because our neighbours were odd and we didn't want to "go there"!
    I would prefer the party wall option as it is neater and our extension left an awkard gap which was difficult/impossible to maintain the wall. and could act as a rat-run etc.

    So IMHO a party wall painted white would be cleaner, neater and probably brighter.

    A nice extension next door ADDs value to your home as potential buyers see the surrounding houses cared for and attractive.
  6. nediaaa

    nediaaa Frequent Poster

    hello. The walls would not get damp tp to modern building methods. It is less to do with light and more to do with air circulation which should not be a problem.
  7. sydthebeat

    sydthebeat Frequent Poster

  8. bunty

    bunty Guest

    Hello. I posted here last year when our neighbours were building a very similar extension. You are luckier than we were in that they are giving you some notice and hopefully you will get to look at the plans. I would definitely advise getting your own architect to look at them before any work commences, money well spent definitely. Our neighbours built right to the boundary fence, the height of their wall is 3.2 metres, a flat roofed extension. As regards light, our garden is east facing. The height of their wall means that the light is reduced after about mid morning. The main problem I have is that our dining room now looks out on to what I call a handball alley. I was concerned beforehand there would be a gloomy alley effect and unfortunately there is. Like you we have no plans to extend ourselves and I was mainly concerned about the impact on the value of our house. I would be concerned that if there was a shared boundary wall, future owners would not allow an extension to be built using it and that this would put off potential buyers. As regards the suntrap effect, our patio used to be a suntrap up to early afternoon but because of the shadowing, no longer is. Sorry to be so negative but I am just sharing our experience. Speak to your architect in good time.
  9. mel o

    mel o Frequent Poster

    When we bought our house (north east facing) our neighbours had done this already and there was definitely a bit of a tunnel effect which made our back room quite dark. We ended up painting the wall white and making it a little courtyard with pebbles etc on the ground and a small table and chairs and that made a huge difference. We have since done the same extension as our neighbours and it's really made a huge difference to the house.

    While I appreciate that you would lose some light (which sadly is not grounds to object to anything), I don't agree that it would make your house less saleable in the future. I know you say you don't think it would add value to do a similar extension but it was probably one of the first things we noticed when we viewed our house, it just took us 10 years to get the money together to do it ourselves. We weren't able to use the party wall for our extension as our neighbours are tricky to deal with and I just didn't want to have to ask them a "favour" (they did knock down the original boundry wall and rebuilt on the party line) so we just built our own wall inside the party line.

    You sound like a thoughtful neighbour as do your neighbours and to my mind, there's no price can be put on that. That doesn't mean you let people walk all over you either but the reality is you probably don't have grounds to make an objection anyway if it's under the 40sq m so maybe it's better to control the things that are controllable ie the way the roof and gutters are built and having the wall built in such a way that it could be used by you or anyone who bought your house in the future for a similar extension. Maybe you should get this put on writing? Maybe you could also make sure your wall is plastered so it's nicer to look at.

    Good luck to you, you sound like you're both reasonable to deal with so you'll work it out.
  10. MOB

    MOB Frequent Poster

    The point I wanted to make (and seem not to have made clear) was that there was no need to be terrified because there was scope for setting things down in writing so as to protect your rights (and your neighbours).

    As I stated: "As long as the agreement clearly sets out your right to also build on this wall, and so on, there should be no problem." Perhaps I should have elaborated rather than simply saying "......and so on" but I think it better that if you are going to facilitate your neighours you do so on foot of a proper party wall agreement drafted by your solicitor and with input from your architect\engineer.
  11. Gerard Bob

    Gerard Bob Guest

    I had a similar query last year, and I agree with MOB. I tried something similar, after I started worrying about the neighbour's assurances. The attitude changed a lot when I asked for a written agreement, so just be aware that the same might happen to you.

    I still think its a very good idea though. The extension, which had a parapet wall, ended being over 3 metres high, and of course it blocks out a lot of light. Granted it depends on the way your back garden faces (mine is north westerly), but I notice a huge difference.

    Get the plans if you can. If they are receptive to your wishes in keeping you on board, you might get a say in how the extensions built. Believe me, you can't change it after the fact.
  12. kilf_2

    kilf_2 Guest

    You should contact your local building surveyor who would be able to act for you as a party wall surveyor/ a building surveyor giving advice. If it is that bad the planners wont let it happen!
  13. venice

    venice Frequent Poster

  14. micamaca

    micamaca Frequent Poster

    Hi there everyone,

    I was just looking back on this and see there is a whole lot of new replies. Sorry, I must have this set up not to alert me to new posts, so apologies for not coming back to you all.

    Thank you for all the replies. Our neighbours are still being accomodating. They have chosen a builder, who is coming tonight to iron out some details with them and they've invited us in to talk to him. They will not be getting an architect, so there will be no architect's plan.

    Is this normal? Is this bad?? How do we ask our architect to look at plans that don't exist!
  15. micamaca

    micamaca Frequent Poster

    Update the next day...but we went in and we were happy enough with what builder explained to us. Parapitt wall, no gutter or roof hanging over our side of the boundary, no rainwater leaking over either from what he explained and he is willing to put whatever we want in writing. No drawing though, not much of one anyway!

    The only thing noteworthy is that the blocks for the wall will be 2 inches over our side to carry on from the boundary wall inside the house. On the one hand, this sounds reasonable too, if we or someone else were to use the wall afterwards. So the blocks will be bang down the middle of the boundary.

    But should a party wall be built that it sits a couple of inches on our property?
    Should the blocks be coming over or should they be aiming to keep them entirely straight down the middle of the boundary, sitting firmly on their side.
    Are there legal implications for that if we were to sell? So in effect, we would be losing 2/3 inches for a small mostly useless section of the garden but if we wanted to build on, then the wall is there.

    Any notions? Am I bit worried, probably time to call the architect now...
    MOB, does a solicitor have to draw up the written agreement and what kind of price would we be looking at for that?
  16. Shei

    Shei Frequent Poster

    Wish my neighbours were as accommodating as you micamaca. They will not even let builders knock and rebuild their wall, so we have to build well inside the boundary and will create a rat run.
  17. micamaca

    micamaca Frequent Poster

    I know what you're saying Shei, extensions are complicated business :eek: I would prefer if this wasn't happening right now but it is, so have to deal with it as best we can.
  18. Iain

    Iain Guest


    Legally, your neighbours have no right to build on your side of the party line. They do however, have a right to extend their footings on to your land, providing they contain no reinforcemet, and providing they serve a Line of Junction Notice to yourselves, under the Party Wall etc Act.

    If your neighbours are looking to build the new wall straddling the party line, in order that the new wall continues on the same line internally as their existing party wall, you need to be aware that the wall may be more than 2 or 3 inches (50 or 75mm) over, as they have suggested. Unless the properties are relatively new, the existing party wall is likely to be 100mm (one brick) thick. The new wall to the extension is likely to be 300mm thick. Therefore, potentially, the wall could be another 200mm over and possibly more if the wall is to be rendered.

    Whilst you say there will be no issues with the overhang of guttering, if there is a parapet wall, the wall is likely to be capped with a coping stone. This is likely to overhang by a further 30mm.

    Without your consent, building and overhanging your side of the party line is tresspass.

    I know you wish to maintain your relationship with your neighbours, but you are considering giving away some of your land here. If it is only 50 - 75mm then maybe you could agree. Anymore than that and I think they would be taking the mick. Personally, I would say to your neighbours that they can extend their footings onto your land (they have this right anyway, but are unlikely to be aware of it) and that their builder can have access to build the new wall, but that the wall is built wholly on their side of their party line.

    Another thought, depending on the depth of your footings/age of your house there may well be some other party wall issues to consider. The new footing to your neighbours wall is likely to 1000mm deep. If this is below the level of your footing on your house, becasue of the proximity, your neighbours would need to serve a 3m Notice under the Party Wall etc Act.

  19. Leo

    Leo Moderator

    I don't think Ireland has a Party Wall Act.
  20. micamaca

    micamaca Frequent Poster

    Thanks Iain and Leo. I think Leo may be right, Ireland doesn't have a Party Wall Act but I think Iain's description of width etc might be worth thinking about.

    The houses were built in 2000 so are relatively new. The builder said the brick blocks would be 9 inches almost 230mm wide. The fence is according to builder 5 inches/127mm wide, so the difference would be split, according to builder, on either side of property. So 50mm or approx
    2 inches on our side and on their side. Then as Iain says, it could be more with plastering and finish etc.

    I have called our surveyor and he is going to come and talk to us both next week. I'm hoping he can tell us what is acceptable and what is best.

    Our neighbours are not expecting us to do something that will be bad for us but I suppose, the builder was singing a nice song and well, we're all cluesless here anyway. All our money is in this property and the market is lousy enough as it is, so we don't want to take more value away.

    Thanks again though, it is helpful to read the different experiences and advice. Tricky business.