This is the situation:
neighbour will not let me go anywhere near their land. I want to build
an extension onto the back of my house. One of the walls will need to
be adjacent to and with zero clearance to their already built
Normally walls sit centrally on the foundations upon which they sit.
So...how do I dig/pour the foundations for the wall for my extension
so that the wall of my extension adjacent to theirs has zero clearance
and yet sits in the middle of the foundations when it is built and
also does not involve going onto their land/property?
I think when I start digging at some point I 'might' hit their
foundations for their extension on my side of the property.
I hope that I have made the situation clear but also feel that I have
So in general, if there is a wall sitting on foundations and you want
a new wall adjacent to it with zero clearance, but it's a neighbours
and you can't interfere with the current neighbours wall or
foundations....how do you build your wall?
Basically, you have the right to do so. See:
and (more readably) the explanatory booklet, downloadable:
which is the explnatory booklet.
The Act covers precisely this case.
The Party Wall Act applies. You need to comply fully with it to ensure you
don't end up with major legal problems. You also need to ensure that
planning and building regulations are complied with. The first thing is to
go and talk to your local building control department. Their a advice is
free and it will give you an idea if what you want to do is feasible and
legal. Remember the neighbour is under no legal obligation to allow you on
his land. If you have to appoint party wall surveyors then you will have to
pay for the neighbour's surveyor as well as yours.
I seem to remember that you might not be able to leave "zero tolerance"
(I assume you mean butting up your wall against theirs) from discussions
Maybe a builder can advise on anything salient in planning regs etc.
about access to adjacent premises for maintenance purposes etc.
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You seem to contradict yourself in that on one hand you are stating that the
neighbour will not let you go near their land, and on the other hand you say
that a neighbours foundations are encroaching on where you want your
foundations to be.
It is not a case of you needing access to the adjacent land, but it seems
like a straightforward underpinning situation
As others have mentioned, the PWA will apply, and will give you rights in
placing your foundation, and the neighbour has rights in protecting his.
However, you should bear in mind that you do not have to follow the PW
guidance or serve a notice. It is not compulsary. If you want to dig on your
side of the boundary, then you can, and the neighbour can not stop this.
Just make sure you take all necessary precautions.
Walls do not have to sit centrally on the foundation, and you can place them
off centre within aprox 100 mm - or greater if you increase the width of the
Another consideration is any projections at the top of the wall - eg verge
or gutter, so the wall is normally set back from the boundary anyway.
I would advise you to take a number of photos of their extension, and
carefully note any existing cracks. Also ask for writen confirmation of any
current internal cracks (if any), and photos of them too.
This is exactly the situation I had when I began building my
extension, the only exception being that I have a very good
relationship with my neighbour. If his extension has been built
correctly then it is likely that his foundations are actually on your
property, but they are unlikely to be wide enough to take your new
walls. What I did was to dig out to the required depth along the
length of his foundations and when pouring the concrete we had to
overfill to a specified depth on top of his foundations. This was
only required along the neighbours wall so there was in fact a step in
my own foundations along this length. I cannot remember the exact
depth, 100mm springs to mind but I could be wrong. I had dug out
already and when the BCO inspected the diggings, it was then that I
was advised how to proceed.
I would be more worried at how you are going to proceed when you get
to full height if he is unwilling to grant you access, you may find it
difficult to make good at roof level if you have to do everything from
your own side.
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