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  • Refurbish/Develop

    Party wall query

    Hi

    I'm in a flat above a shop, with someone else above me, and our neighbour is doing party walls works, he's lifting each floor of his property - he owns all three floors whereas our side is already divided up & has various owners for each floor (they're all very small). I have a small crack at the top of my wall, right to the ceiling, where he will be doing works. It's only about 10cm & has been there the whole time I've owned the place - which is now ten years - without any changes therefore no concerns to me. There is another place on a perpendicular wall which seems to have a 'crack' they have called it, but it seems to be the opposite - it stands out as if it's a crease in wallpaper (it's not a wall papered wall, it's paint & doesn't feel as though there's paper underneath). This has also been there the whole time with no issues or spreading.

    I am concerned that his works cause these cracks to spread / lengthen, whether to the point that stability is a problem or even just that it would mean I'd incur additional costs on resale, to get a surveyor to verify that they're not a concern. Will he be liable for "making good" even though the crack was already there, or would they take the view that despite no issues before his works, I'm liable because my wall had a crack. The cracks have been noted in the party wall agreement.

    On a less serious but very modern note, I've read that metal joists could hamper mobile phone reception. I currently get perfect reception and would be annoyed to suddenly miss calls esp emergencies. My surveyor has said that he's never heard of it, making me wish I'd noted the source! Does anyone know please? I don't want to be fobbed off and then it turns out to be an issue,, I want it noted and dealt with if it happens (I have no idea how they'd deal) The beams that they are inserting will be in line with where I know the TV signal to be coming from and my TV, and if the mobile signal comes from the same direction as the TV signal, then it'll be in the way of that signal too.

    Many thanks for any advice.

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    Can't see the problem really. The cracks you describe are probably from your old lime plaster blowing from walls, no big deal there. His works may make them bigger still not an issue and it is your old plasterwork that has made them increase as long as his works are reasonable. If you really have an issue with the cracks photo them, if they get longer ask him if he would fill them. You are wasting your time though because he can only fill them he is hardly going to hack all your blown plaster off and renew when it is nothing to do with him

    I'm guessing his joists run front to back so he is not doing anything that requires party wall notice, by what you said. As to right of radio waves you are all out of luck you have no given right. However I cannot forsee quite how his works are going to disturb your phone signal, if they did well it is tuff luck as long as he has met all his requirements with building control, planning etc.


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    No his joints will run from side to side, and we each have the party wall agreements as do his other side neighbours, so I suppose the agreements were required. I can't imagine him going to that expense if it wasn't required.

    If it is just paint / plaster I'm not the slightest bit concerned, I'm concerned with real issues that I may need to account for eg instability or having problems when I come to sell.


    Thanks for your opinions.

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    Unusual to have side to side joists as potential for fire risk (breaking compartmentalisation). If you were worried the time to express such worries etc was BEFORE signing Party Wall Agreement. You could have gone into dispute and have overseen by surveyor with insurances offerred.

    However that time has passed so I would suggest you photograph cracks and whole party wall, give the owner next door a copy and explain you're not trying to cause problems but just a bit concerned. Then after works are complete, if you have concerns, you will have to pay for a surveyor (the time for your neighbour paying for surveyor has passed with the signing of the agreeement), if he raises any concerns then you have grounds to address your neighbour

    If you really want a belt and braces approach pay for a surveyor to look at wall now and then again when works are completed.

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    I think he has a surveyor (no idea why he is therefore posting questions rather than asking his surveyor!).  I'm guessing rsj's are being inserted into the PW, hence the award.

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    Regardless of the likelihood of issues or not your neighbour should have obtained a Party Wall Award before starting work. I'd speak to a Party Wall surveyor first thing on Monday.

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    I have received the party wall award which mentions the cracks, have checked with my surveyor and my question to the surveyor I am double checking with anyone who may have experience, ( notice my concern of being fobbed off as mentioned in my first post) hence me having not signed it yet, & asking these questions elsewhere. My first property, first works, & I am double checking what I have been told, I thought that was what this site was for. Apologies for disturbing everyone.

    Yours

    Ms

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    The party wall surveyor will act independently and have insurance.  Providing the photos clearly show the condition and the report is detailed I would not be concerned.

    If the works make the cracks worse your neighbour will need to make good.

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    They haven't supplied me with their photos but I have taken lots of photos from a number of distances & with a tape measure, so I hope my interests are covered ,if the worst happens. If it turns out that I'll need to be liable for costs just because the crack existed,even if it wasn't an issue until their works, then I'll just have to accept that.


    Thanks

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    You could always send the surveyor copies of your photos so they are on file.  He will act independently and I would expect him to  properly assess any damage if it occurs.

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