Advice needed re: Neighbours proposed extension

Hi Folks, I hope some of you can advise me on this situation: My mum lives in a small detached house, (built 1976) where the neighbours driveway runs the full length of one side of her house. The neighbours are going to apply for planning permission to have a 2 storey extension built on the side of their house i.e. in their driveway, which will be the full length and height of their own house, and the maximum width of the driveway, leaving a gap of around 6 inches between their house and my mums. This will mean that the whole of the wall on one side of my mums house will be completely inaccesible. The roof of the proposed extension will slope down towards my mums house and finish under her eaves. Mum has a Gas CH boiler in an upstairs room, on the side facing their property with a flue out into their driveway. My mum gets on OK with them and they have been round to tell her about their proposed plan, and also to ask if she would consider moving the flue, at their expense, so that they can build as close as possible up to her wall. As far as I can see, this won't be possible as if the flue was moved any higher, it would be too close to the eaves, therefore the boiler would have to be moved to the other side of the house, which is acceptable to us, and it would actually be better over the other side. *However*, I am not happy with the fact that the whole of that wall will then be inaccesible for ever. What happens if any maintenance is needed to that wall in the future? Or if there is ever a damp problem? This makes the whole project a no-goer as far as I am concerned, it worries me greatly but then I am not the expert;-) An identical house around the corner has just had such an extension built, completely covering one side of their neighbours house, with a tiny gap between, so it must be possible under building regs. And even if my mum did object, the council might not necessarily refuse the application anyway. So we are in a quandry. I am going to contact the planning dept at the council and see what they have to say, but I would appreciate any information/advice/experiences as to whether you think not having access to the wall is a problem in any way. Thanks in advance, Sue B
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Your neighbour can build as close to the boundary as the local authority permits except none of their construction can extend onto or over the boundary on your side I am mystified that you say that the proposed extension roof will finish "under" your eaves. Do your eaves and gutter extend over the boundary? If not then nor can theirs. If you belive yours do you may not have the correct boundary line. The same goes for the foundations. They should in theory be approximately 150mm (6") wider than the wall. So in theory without eaves/gutter etc you should not be able to have a wall closer than 150mm to the boundary unless building control and planners agree. If eaves and gutter is brought in to the equation then it would be further back than that
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message

correct
AFAIK the boundary is my mums side wall. So therefore her eaves and gutter do overhang the boundary, as they do on every house on that row. I've looked at the identical house around the corner which has had a side extension and their eaves appear to go slightly under their neighbours eaves. The roof ridge on these houses goes from front to back (Hope I'm explaining this properly, would a sketch help?) The neighbours have also offered to pay for upvc soffits for my mums house, which to me, implies that there will be little or no access after the job is finished Sue B
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Hi Sue.
I do see a problem here.
If built in 1976 this will almost certainly be a double skin wall. The only way to repoint the outer wall is to do it from the outside. Without being repointed that wall will over the years weaken drastically, to the point where it would in the end bend and collapse. This does not sound like a clever idea.
Turning the boundary wall into a party wall would have the advantage that it can be and should be maintained, but brings cons as well, in that for her to do anything at all to that wall would require the neighbours permission, possibly her to pay for their appointed surveyor, etc. I dont know whether all that could be dealt with by a contract with them, IANAL.
Also it would mean linking the 2 properties structurally, which could possilby prove a bad move one day, though it most likely wont. And I dont know if its allowed anyway.
In short if it were me I'd say no way Jose, on the grounds that it would inevitably endanger the structural integrity of the building after a number of years. I would insist on enough space for maintenance.
Regards, NT
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Maintenance requirements come with age and weathering. If the wall is sheltered, the maintenance over the 60 year projected life of a brick wall is reduced to nil.
Repointing is purely to act as a weathering to prevent moisture penetration and is not structural, if the wall is sheltered by such close proximity then no repointing is required. Such a drastic scenario regarding the bricks tipping is not ever going to happen in a house wall and is reserved to chimneys which suffer from acid attack from flue gasses.
The offer of PVCu cladding is also a good one, and should be accepted.
The new wall will actually be increasing the life of the OPs' mothers wall and will in no way be disadvantaging it in terms of future maintenance
dg

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Mike Taylor wrote:

Indeed, a friend of mine was having an extension built to which the neighbour had not objected. However, when the footings were being dug he pointed out that they were encroaching on his side and that the finished building's eves and gutters would be over his side. This resulted in the footings having to be moved some 300mm at considerable cost and delay.
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Footings can cross the boundary if the neighbour serves a notice under the Party Wall Act. You can't object.
Anything above ground can not without express permission.
dg

considerable
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"Susan Barlow" wrote | My mum lives in a small detached house, (built 1976) where the | neighbours driveway runs the full length of one side of her house. | The neighbours are going to apply for planning permission to have | a 2 storey extension built on the side of their house i.e. in their | driveway, which will be the full length and height of their own | house, and the maximum width of the driveway, leaving a gap of around | 6 inches between their house and my mums. This will mean that the | whole of the wall on one side of my mums house will be completely | inaccesible.
I think if you are going to have a gap between properties it is best if it is wide enough to for a person to squeeze through. An old building opposite me had new flats built against it and there is about a 1 foot gap between the two, which has been walled in front (and I presume back) with airbricks top and bottom, and then roofed and guttered. So it becomes a ventilated interior void rather than an exterior inaccessible gap.
You indicated in a follow-up post that the roof ridge runs front-back. If the extension or gap is to be flat-roofed then I'd suggest that the roof slopes back towards the neighbours with the drains on their side, and is flashed into your mum's wall.
Whether this is done or not, in effect or in fact, your mum will no longer be living in a detached house, but semi-detached, and you should get estate agent's valuations to estimate the loss in value of your mum's house.
Loss of off-street parking combined with increasing house size is a legitimate ground for planning objection. It's quite common for planners to require *additional* car parking space to be provided if a house is extended. If the neighbour's house doesn't have off-street parking and it's obvious they will be parking on the street and possibly causing obstruction, that also can adversely affect your mum's house value.
There might also be a requirement for access to the rear gardens for maintenance or access for firefighters.
It might be better to compromise with the neighbours that they can have the extension provided there's a sufficiently big gap left between the houses but they can make up the space by building out a bit further at the back.
On the upside, it does sound as though your mum is going to get a nice shiny new energy-efficient condensing boiler.
Owain
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Mum has a Gas CH boiler in

into
about their

flue, at

her wall.
Presumably as they need to flu to be moved to be able to build that close - just say no!
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I would not worry about the fact that a wall is covered forever - its highly unlikely that there will ever be a maintenance issue. The chances of the wall developing a damp problem is remote - as long as the new work does not in fact cause one - which it should not.
Just ensure that the neighbours follow the procedure of the Party Wall Act, and that they serve a Party Wall notice on your mother. This will ensure that your mothers interests are taken care of in any building works. Your neighbours are not obligated to do this, but I would insist that they do to retain your goodwill. They should serve a notice at least two months before the work starts.
Also with regards to any eaves crossing the boundary, then you may or may not be happy with this, but you should formalise any agreement by way of a note on your deeds, or other legal agreement. The PW surveyor may do this.
dg

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Personnaly I would be unhappy about this, but concerned that saying NO would upset my neighbours and turn them into enemies.
First I would get quotes for the real cost of moving the boiler and its flue, and making good any decoration etc. I suspect that your neighbours may baulk at excessive costs and moving a boiler may be a cost too far.
Then I would get the opinion of local estate agents regarding any detrimental effect on the value of your mum's house. If other properties in the neighbourhood have got similar extensions then they should have a good idea of the effect (if any) on neighbouring properties.
You should also get the opinion of a good surveyor regarding the affects (detriemental or not) of building so close to your mum's house. Whilst it would be preferable if your neighbours paid for this it should be YOUR surveryor who acts for you.
An obvious concern for BOTH properties would be the difficulty of maintaining the respective gutters and consequential damp problems affecting both if one should fail out of sight.
Finnally I would then talk to the neighbours armed with all the FACTS and expert opinions and not just your fears. Remember that if your Mum's wall cannot be maintained then so too is the neighbour's new wall out of reach. It may be possible to persuade them to drop back a few inches to allow mutual access, if your surveyor suggested it. After all if their builder was not up to standard they may have a bigger problem than you!
Richard
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Thanks very much for all the replies on this so far, they are very much appreciated. Would you believe it, shortly after I posted my original message yesterday, our news server at work went AWOL so I've only just picked up the messages from home. Hopefully it will be back online by the time I get to work. Yesterday I spoke to the council planning dept and have to speak to them again this morning so I might have further info later. Thanks again, Sue B
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Hi
Lots of good advice and ideas in this thread. One exception.

wall
House walls should last a lot more than 60 years. Maintenance isnt always nil on interior brick walls, so it wont be on sheltered outdoor ones either. It may be, but many times isnt. I have seen interior walls that needed repointing to stop them collapsing. Sometimes its necessary to gain access to repair to restore building structural integrity when structural cracks appear. Losing access is a risk.

penetration
this isnt true at all.

not necessarily.

going to

I've seen it happen a number of times. Once the pointing goes, which it does at some point, the fill of the joints comes out easily, and a brick wall with half of its mortar fill missing is simply not a stable wall. This is not a rare problem, it is easily seen on some ill-maintained houses. It causes serious problems and must be repaired.

no.
wall
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A gap you cant access is a recipe for build up of rubbish, leaves, dirt, etc, which is liable to bridge the dpc and cause penetrating damp. There are other ways damp can occur in such wall too, such as dpc problems, ventilation problems, and so on. With no access your solution options are going to be quite a bit costlier.
I would be very keen on sufficient gap for maintenance access.
Regards, NT
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Based on BRE research and Government 'Decent Home' guidance, 60 years is the projected life of a brick exterior wall. However, this does not mean it will fall down after 60 years.
Check out some of the brick buildings from around 1850, and see how long mortar can last without pointing.
I don't know what professional involvement you have in building maintenance, but my original post was correct.
I agree small gaps are normally covered to prevent vermin and rubbish ingress, but maintenance wise there is no issue with a wall in close proximity
dg

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wrote:

<sniff>
Smells like IMM.
--

Dave

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You learn fast grasshopper
--
geoff

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