Keep your neighbours on your side during a build
How to not upset your neighbours during your project and avoid undue stress
One of the main concerns when embarking on a self-build is disputes with neighbours over noise and disruption. Keep reading for our top tips on how to keep your neighbours happy.
Making sure your neighbours are on side during your self-build is an important element to consider when planning building works at home. Andy McCarthy, Co-founder of independent project management company, Run Projects, has provided his top tips for minimising stress levels for everybody involved.
Communication is key
One thing that is sure to infuriate your neighbours is a lack of communication. Receiving your drawings and details of your proposals directly from the local council, or the party wall notices directly from a surveyor, can often be seen as cold and unneighbourly.
Taking time to advise your neighbours of what your intentions are can help to diffuse this from the outset and open a useful dialogue.
The Party Wall Act
The Party Wall Act 1996 provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes relating to building works to the party or boundary walls, or within close proximity to a neighbour’s building.
The Act requires that you give your neighbours notice of the intention to undertake these works and an award will set out how these works are to be planned and undertaken. Hand delivering your party wall notices to your neighbours gives you the opportunity to talk the proposals through and alleviate some of their concerns.
Be firm but fair
Often neighbours incorrectly believe that they have the right to impact the design of your project, misunderstanding that proposals will be decided solely by the local planning department (other than where a neighbour consultation scheme is relevant, triggered by the size of an extension).
Having your Project Manager or other construction professional talk a neighbour through the processes of a building project can often provide a level of comfort, but also highlight the limited control they have on your build.
Be a considerate neighbour
Building works can be a huge source of frustration for your neighbours, from a noise perspective but also concerning dust, rubbish, vibration etc. Keeping your neighbours informed of what you are doing and when you are likely to be carrying out especially noisy works can go a long way to reassuring them.
Ensuring that your builders tidy communal areas and do not leave rubbish lying around can also avoid another source of frustration. Make sure that your builders do not block your neighbours’ access to their property, again another simple way to avoid frustration and confrontation.
Appoint a Project Manager
Even when you are on great terms with your neighbours, there are often times during a build when tempers will rise and neighbours will want to complain about a specific issue. This is more than often not directed at you personally, more at the inconvenience they are suffering and frustration they are feeling.
Appointing a Project Manager will remove you from this process and give your neighbours a point of contact to whom they can target their concerns or complaint. This often reduces the emotion involved and means that any issues can be resolved in a quick and practical way.