Hi there surveyors! I have a question about managing freeholder disputes over alterations.
I live in the ground floor flat of a converted 3 story Victorian house, 3 flats, own share of freehold with the other flat owner-occupiers (one 1-bed flat at the back of the the first floor, one 2-bed flat at the front of the first floor and the second floor). I want to knock two rooms through to make an open-plan living / kitchen area. The wall I want to remove was not there when the house was built, and there's an iron beam above it holding the rest of the house up so the wall is not really load-bearing. I've had a structural engineer prepare calculations and drawings specifying some minor supporting work which may be necessary when we expose the beam and he's had a look. The work would take 2-3 months in total I guess.
The issue is that my fellow freeholders look like they're going to fight this tooth and nail. We'll probably need a surveyor to draw up the docs and arbitrate. Some questions though before I decide whether it's worth the fight:
For a job like this, do we need a Party Wall Agreement as well as a Licence to Alter?
Can they object to the work on grounds of noise and disruption? One of the couple in the 2 bed flat works with vulnerable children, is WFH since the pandemic so does everything on video calls, doesn't have an office to go to. She and her husband do however have two large double bedrooms on the second floor at the top of the house. He works in one, she works in their living room which is directly above my living room where a lot of the work will be done. I've suggested they both work on the second floor away from the noise but they don't want to and haven't given me a good reason. Is this something a surveyor would be able adjudicate on in the event of a dispute, or are we getting into legalities beyond a surveyor's scope?
The kitchen of the new open-plan space will be below the bedroom of the 1-bed flat. Can the owner object to the new configuration on the basis of potential extra noise from the kitchen and living room below? If so will sound-proofing the ceiling be enough to address this?
Many thanks in advance.