Scaffolding is a necessary part of a lot of building work, because it allows people access to the more difficult locations on your property in order to make repairs, alterations, and improvements.
Scaffolding is usually not an issue, and it’s something that you can have going on on your property so long as it is safe. However, if your scaffolding would impact the walls which are shared with both you and your neighbours, this triggers something called the Party Wall Act 1996.
Basically, the Party Wall Act was designed to make sure that the disputes surrounding the potential damage and changes to the wall owned by two different parties could be resolved quickly and efficiently, so let’s see if it will impact your scaffolding in a negative way.
Usually, you’ll be pleased to know that you’re going to be absolutely fine when it comes to the introduction of scaffolding onto your property.
If the scaffolding is going to be put up and used in an area that is well within the realms of your property, then you don’t have to answer to anyone, or ask anybody for permission.
You can go ahead and do whatever you need to do to make the modifications to your property, but it is important to make sure that you are being responsible for all health and safety cautions.
However, the problems emerge when you are working with scaffolding that is being put up to facilitate building works that require notices to be served under the Party Wall Act such as an Extension or a Loft Conversion.
In these circumstances then although the scaffold itself is not notifiable under the Act your neighbour or their surveyor could request certain caveats specifically relating to the scaffold.
These caveats generally do not directly influence or affect the party wall award, but they are added within it to ensure your contractor abides by them.
The most common caveat we come across is the request to add Monoflex sheeting to the scaffolding adjacent to the boundary to ensure no dust or debris can fall into the neighbouring property.
This is almost always the first thing requested when the neighbouring property has a glazed conservatory style roof.
Another caveat that is often overlooked may be a surprise to some and that is satellite television.
Time and time again, we see the same thing – Scaffold goes up and the neighbour can no longer watch their favorite television programs.
Simply agreeing to pay the costs for a satellite television engineer to relocate the satellite receiver to another location on your neighbours property in the event of loss of signal can alleviate any potential nuissance to your neighbour.
In the event that there is nowhere else suitable for the satellite receiver to be installed then simply having the engineer fix it to the scaffold is a temporary fix however you will need to also pay for the engineers visit at the end of the project to reattach the receiver once the scaffolding is taken down.
Assuming therefore you are erecting scaffold to carry out building works that will be notifiable under the Party Wall Act, then the first thing you will need to do is serve appropriate notices on to your adjoining owners.
You can either choose to do this yourself or you can ask a Party Wall Surveyors to do this for you.
If you are not entirely sure which notices you need to serve then we would always advise you to have this handled professionally.
This is mainly because if your neighbour does decide to dissent and it is then discovered that incorrect notices were issued there will be more work for the Party Wall surveyor(s) to do in order to rectify the mistake.
Without wishing to plug our services in an article written specifically to offer advice to homeowners, when you consider our fee of just £25.00 per neighbour to serve all your relevant Party Wall notices, then why wouldn’t you remove the doubt and potential costs and headache down the line and have them issued professionally from the start?
Ultimately, if you are going to find the best and most sensible options when it comes to party wall notices, it can be wise to engage in a bit of peace keeping.
Invite your neighbours over for a cup of tea and explain that you want to talk to them about making some alterations to the party wall.
Explain that the scaffolding will be installed, try to walk them to the process, tell them what will happen, reassure them that there will be no risk to the party wall, and that you will protect it where necessary, and generally help them to understand what you want to do.
By doing this, you may help to avoid a dispute entirely.
Ultimately, your neighbours cannot stop you from putting up scaffolding, but it is important to remember that if the scaffodling is associated with work notifiable under the Party Wall Act then they can challenge the process.
Obviously, this will immediately hold up whatever plans you have in mind, so you do need to make sure that you serve notice properly and in good time.
Provided you follow our recommendations and are being considerate to their needs then this should be a very simple process to navigate through.
The primary concern for a lot of people is that there will be damage to the party wall.
If you can make sure that this doesn’t happen, by for instance installing Monoflex sheeting around the scaffolding adjacent to their property, then you will help to mitigate the risk of a dispute.
Even by simply being prepared to talk your plans through with them, and making sure they understand exactly what’s going to happen will work wonders for a speedy resolution.
If you can do this, you will find it becomes a lot easier to negotiate with your neighbours. At the end of the day, open communication will be your best friend.
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In the majority of cases Party Wall Notices are served on the very same working day if you instruct us before 1pm
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