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Hello there, I wonder if anyone, may be able to offer some advice please ?
Would a new rear dormer/flat roof extension be considered a loft conversion and would this require a Party Wall Agreement ?
The new space will house two additional bedrooms and a bathroom with a staircase.
The room affecting the party wall will be a large bedroom. The bathroom and staircase are on the opposite side from the party wall.
Can anyone advise what (if any) works might affect the party wall, please ?
Sorry if I sound clueless, this is mostly because I am !
many thanks in advance. Beth.
structural supporting beams put into the party wall are the most likely issue...party wall agreements between neighbours may be friendly and immediate...or may end up complex and involving two surveyors and considerable time. Cranked beams might be feasible at slightly more cost and potentially then no agreement needed
A rear dormer and a single storey rear extension (albeit to certain limits), are normally allowed without planning permission as 'permitted development'. Building Control permission/application would be required. This varies according to where you are located. Best advice, call planning department and ask whether this would be classified under permitted development and if you wrote in with a floor plan and approximate dimensions, whether they would confirm to you in writing.Hope I have been of help.
The party wall agreement is a simple document requesting whether your building works would be acceptable (need to describe how it affects the neighbour) and whether they have any issues with what you propose to do. This could even be verbal in some instances. Simple formats are available on the net.
If getting party wall agreement you are liable to pay for the other sides fees. If friendly with next door agree to get one surveyor to do both sides. I did this and it saved costs. Be careful as there are many rouges around, they just check the planning applications and writing to the neighbors to offer their services at greatly increased prices as they know you will have to pay. Don;t forget to keep the agreements safe as they could well be needed at a later date if and when you sell the property.
The Party Wall Act only applies to specific works, not the loft conversion as a whole. As someone said above - cutting into a party wall to create a structural beam bearing is such work s2(2)(f). So would be removing a chimney breast s2(2)(g) and the provision of temporary weathering to a party wall if exposed when the roof is opened up to construct the dormer s2(2)(n). If the dormer was full width and one end built off the party wall, s2(2)(a) - raising a party wall might apply. As you might have guessed, all works to an existing building that fall under the Act will be found in section 2(2). A copy of the Act can be readily downloaded from the internet.
If any of the above apply you will need to serve a Party Structure Notice on the owners next door: The freeholder and any long term tenant (with a tenancy term of longer than a year) if there is one - these are defined in s20. Short term tenants are not entitled to notice. S3(1) says what information the notice must contain. You can do this yourself - notices in what is a fairly standard format are available online but make sure to complete it correctly because a defective notice is invalid. See s15(1) for how to serve a notice.
A comment above mentions verbal agreement. The Act does not allow for this. It specifically requires consent to be in writing for s2 works. If, having served notice, you don't get your neighbour's consent to it within 14 days, an automatic dispute arises ( the Act calls it deemed dissent) and a surveyor or surveyors must be appointed to resolve the dispute by making an award. To avoid surveyors fees you need to persuade your neighbour to consent. That means explaining what you intend to do, showing them your plans etc., and doing so in a way that doesn't get their back up. Sometimes offering to have a schedule of condition of their side of the wall prepared will mollify them. If surveyors are appointed they will recommend that be done as a matter of course because it protects both parties by identifying whether damage claimed post-works is new or pre-exisiting. Once you have consent, you have to wait out a two month period (from the date notice was served) although your neighbour can agree to you starting sooner if so minded.
Finally, be aware that undertaking party wall works without having served notice is unlawful. It is not illegal i.e. it is not a criminal offence, but there are ramifications nonetheless. It will cause problems when you come to sell the house if the party wall paperwork is not in place. Insurers generally exclude cover from unlawful works and may well walk away from a claim arising from such works. If your un-notified works cause damage to next door, any claim that cannot be settled amicably would go to court because party wall surveyors cannot award upon unlawful works.