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The planning permission i have for my rear extension gives me permission to build it out along the full width of my property. It's a semi detached property and I have a party wall agreement with my attached neighbour. Builder due to pour footings TOMORROW. Architect calls me today to say that he thinks builder has set out the footings in such a way that extension would be 5cm to 8cm narrower than it should be.

I went to the property to meet the builder to see what's going on. Builder shows me he has taken the boundary line from the centrepoint of where the old fence post used to be. This would account for 3cm of the 8cm, as looking carefully at his line there are places where he has deviated from that line by 3cm. However, under the deeds, it's my fence - and I have always been responsible for maintaining it.

 

Via google, i found this:

 

It is normal practice when using a fence to mark a boundary to place the outer face of the fence along the boundary, so that the posts stand on the land of the of the fence's owner.

 

This rule would suggest that the builder is wrong to take the boundary line from the centre of the fence post, and as my fence post was 8cm or 10cm wide, that would suggest a discrepancy of 4cm to 5cm. Having said that,  the same article notes that this won't always be conclusive.

 

I looked at my party wall agreement and note that it says I am to reinstate the fence after the building works have finished. If by the word "reinstate" there is an implication that it should be reinstated in exactly the same place, then that ignores the above rule. In any case:

  • the party wall surveyors never asked me who owned that fence or where the exact limit of my boundary is - they've generally been quite sloppy so this is par for the course; and
  • my neighbour and I both agree that reinstating the fence would look silly as it would be right up against the wall - I won't see it, so i care little about what it would look like, but it will inhibit the walls from breathing and will also cost me an extra £400 to £500 in fencing material and labour which I rather avoid.

 

My builder has agreed to shave a bit off the trench wall to give me the additional 3cm so it is more accurately under the centreline of the fence post. But even doing that I would lose the 4cm to 5cm. I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but it will make a slight difference to the internal space. My fear is that even though legally I am probably entitled to use that additional 4cm to 5cm, relations with my neighbour are difficult at the best of times and if he believes I am taking his space he will probably kick up a fuss. 

 

What would you do?

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I’d lose 4cm to be able to not worry about it.  If 4cm are going to make a material difference to your enjoyment of the extension, it’s not worth building 😂.

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Pour the foundation wide enough to give flexibility.  You DO have permission for the foundation to go under part of next doors garden don't you?

 

Then seek written confirmation from the neighbour before starting to build the wall if the wall of the extension is able to be built right up to the boundary (and no fence will be erected on that part) or if a fence MUST go back you will have to leave room for that.

 

I thought this all should have been agreed before you started?

 

Assuming an identical pair of semi detached houses, I would have said the mid way point would be determined by measurement, not by the position of a fence that might not even be in the correct position?

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2 minutes ago, ProDave said:

Pour the foundation wide enough to give flexibility.  You DO have permission for the foundation to go under part of next doors garden don't you?

Why would I need to do that? Structural engineer seems happy for the outer leaf of the wall to be built up from the edge of the footing. Is he wrong about that?

In practical terms I could quite easily widen the trench as we currently have temporarily annexed a strip of the neighbour's garden (in accordance with the permission afforded to us under the party wall agreement), but that's not what the builder has dug.

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Not sure if it's relevant to my question about the position of the wall relative to the footings, but in case it is, the footings are 1.8m deep. Structural engineer had originally specified 1m but BCO required 1.8m due to one of my neighbour's trees being quite close.

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If this is the full width of your property can you not set it out as @ProDave has suggested, so the edge of the wall comes out at 90 degrees from the house?  I assume there is an internal party wall that you can use as a reference to get the external line.

 

Even a sniff that you are building where you are not entitled to and you will be asking for trouble.  Hopefully you have taken account for gutters, fascias etc.

 

The party wall surveyors are not interested in boundary disputes or who owns the fence.

 

 

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You sound like you are building your own wall for your extension, and not a new party wall, that could sit astride the boundary. You have said that your neighbour can be a pain. I personally would make very sure that the outside edge of my new wall was sitting inside my boundary by about 5cm. Also make sure you take into account facia, and guttering. You do not want to risk being even a smidge over the boundary. Take a look on line at what a boundary dispute can cost.....Don't risk it.

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All good advice. Thanks everyone. I will leave it as and give up 5cm that I'm probably entitled to for the sake of peace of mind that not even a lunatic like my neighbour will think to challenge it. 

Edited by Adsibob

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1 hour ago, Adsibob said:

All good advice. Thanks everyone. I will leave it as and give up 5cm that I'm probably entitled to for the sake of peace of mind that not even a lunatic like my neighbour will think to challenge it. 

 

Well worth 5cm to avoid a kick in the bollocks!

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