Dispute over new loft conversion

I live in a semi-detached bungalow. My neighbour has complained that the dormer window of my new loft conversion overhangs the boundary between our properties because it hasn't been built in exact accordance with the plans.
I can't judge the position visually - the overhang, if it does actually exist,must I think be extremely small - but I'm uncertain as to the best way to proceed. The neighbour has asked that I raise the matter with both the builder and the architect and I'm quite willing to do so, but it seems to me that the architect isn't really involved and the builder is hardly the most unbiased person to pass judgement on the situation.
Isn't it up to my neighbour to prove his contention? If so, I assume this would take more than just his word on the matter and a visual inspection. I doubt the builder would accept anything less than an independent surveyor's report, and in fact neither would I.
But I'd be grateful for any comments. Many thanks.
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On Sun, 23 Jul 2017 15:39:31 +0100, Bert Coules wrote:

If the window overhangs the boundary presumably you have also encroached upon your neighbour's loft space?
I think he is just out to cause a nuisance.
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Mark Allread wrote:

That's possible, but it doesn't diminish the fact that his causing a nuisance could be, well, a nuisance.
He's claiming that the incursion over the boundary has affected both the value and the ease of reselling of his property.
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On Sun, 23 Jul 2017 15:57:33 +0100, Bert Coules wrote:

How can a window overhang the boundary unless you have also gone into his loft space?
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Mark Allread wrote:

That certainly hasn't happened. But his contention is that it's the outer surface of the timber construction (Marley Cedral cladding) which is over the border.
https://www.marleyeternit.co.uk/Facades/Weatherboard/Cedral-weatherboard.aspx
As I said, if the overlap *is* there it's pretty minimal. His argument seems to be that an inch (or even a fraction of an inch) is as good - or rather as bad - as a mile.
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On 23/07/2017 16:18, Bert Coules wrote:

Again, hard to judge without photos or plans but if the 2 houses started off as mirror images of one another a simple test is this.
Could you neighbour carry out *exactly* the same conversion as you (with mirror inversion) to *exactly* the same position on the party wall as you?
If not, then I suspect your builder may have gone beyond the centre line of the party wall and you need to see if you had permission to do so.
--
Robin
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"Robin" wrote:

That's a very interesting point. I shall take another look, bearing that in mind. Thanks.
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On 23/07/17 16:18, Bert Coules wrote:

if its an inch plane it off.
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Exactly. Can you draw a diagram of how the window and your two houses are arranged. How can either of you measure the exact position of the boundary line / party wall? Is the fence between you exactly on the boundary, and if so, is the boundary deemed to be half-way through the thickness of the posts, or along the line of the fence which is on one side of the fence posts.
If the boundary line is a half-way along a brick on the wall, how reliably can either of you measure the exact extent of your window by projecting lines back to this reference brick?
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"NY" wrote:

I might be able to put a photo online but I haven't yet sorted out a replacement for Photobucket; I'll see.

I think he's calculating the position of the boundary based on the distance between the two closest adjacent rear windows in our back walls. The window openings were 4.5 brick-widths apart, so the boundary is presumably at the 2.25 brick-width position.
This is complicated now though because the rear wall of my bungalow has been moved backwards into the garden by a metre and the new window openings are quite different. But photos exist of the old wall in place.

No. The fence, for some reason, is some 6-8 inches his side of the boundary (if the 2.25 bricks calculation is correct).
Until all this business started I never looked closely at the placing of the fence and automatically assumed that it accurately marked the boundary. I do wonder now if the builders made the same assumption and took the fence as a datum line for locating the newly-moved wall and therefore the dormer too. If so it doesn't necessarily mean that there is an overlap but it would place both wall and dormer closer to the boundary line than in the plans.
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On 23/07/17 17:44, Bert Coules wrote:

Usually the fence is owned by one or the other and sits on the owners land, so the outer face of the fence would be the boundary.

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How does the dormer align with the one metre extension to your rear wall?
Assuming the neighbour didn't object to the extension
If you go to the bottom of your garden, and taking advantage of the 6-8 inches offered by the positioning of the fence can't you take a photo or series of photos one of which will be exactly at right angles to the back of your house ? Including both the extension as it abuts your back wall and the dormer window. Ideally you won't want any of the one metre side wall of the extension visible, but neither will you want the extension obscuring any of the back wall. And then blow them up on the 'puter and draw a vertical line aligned with the side of the extension and see how this aligns with the side of the dormer. If the dormer does or doesn't encroach should then be evident from the photo, and is worth establishing before proceeding further (in the event that it in fact does). In the event that it doesn't then print out the photo and show it to the neighbour or even invite him to take his own photo and check for himself.
michael adams
....

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"michael adams" wrote:

I have tried that but the result isn't as clear-cut as I would have liked, partly because I can only get such a picture from the farthest point of the garden and at that distance, even with computer-aided enlargement, it's not easy accurately to mark the exact line of the border.
But I'll persevere. Thanks for the thought.
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If you choose an arial view in Google Streetview, assuming the two bungalows are identical in area then assuming this post dates the metre extension having been built, a screen capture and subsequently measuring and drawing lines should give some idea if how close the extension actually comes to the boundary.
Basically you first need to establish the facts. It might also be worth pondering, although not by asking him direct, how exactly the neighbour is so sure of "his" facts.
michael adams
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A plinth or whatever round the top of the window?
If the window goes right up to the boundary, the 'roof' to that window might well overhang into next door.
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On 23/07/17 15:57, Bert Coules wrote:

He *might* be right if a potential buyer noticed it and questioned.
Flying freeholds (where they exist) cause no end of trouble.
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On Sun, 23 Jul 2017 15:39:31 +0100, "Bert Coules"

Get some light string and a weight. Fix the string with tape to the outside of the dormer (the point nearest your neighbour) and adjust the length so the weight is on the boundary line. Once it stops swinging If it falls on your side no problem, if it is on the neighbours side you have a problem. You don't need a surveyor at this time.
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Peter Parry wrote:

Thanks for the suggestion but that can't be done, I'm afraid. There isn't a clear vertical drop down from the edge (or even the rear corner) of the dormer because it's set back from the rear walls of both properties.
Besides, isn't it up to him to prove that there's an overlap, rather than to me to prove that there isn't?
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On 23/07/17 16:29, Bert Coules wrote:

How long do you want this to drag on for? And do you like paying lawyers?
If he's right, you would do well to fix the problem asap (and offering to buy an inch of land off him or whatever the transgression is) would be a sensible solution.
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On 23/07/2017 15:39, Bert Coules wrote:

I find this difficult without photo or plans but:
a.    did you serve notice in accordance with the Party Wall Act?
b.    what precisely did that specify as regards the alignment of the new window?
c.    did the neighbour exercise the right to a Party Wall Surveyor (possibly shared with you) and if so what did the agreement at the end of that specify?
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