You have obtained planning permission, dealt with building control, signed a contract with your builders, sorted the party wall awards and are ready to start your basement extension. But in the first few days after you start the works your builders discover that the underpinning beneath the party wall has encroached into your land, and has to be removed before your basement extension can continue.
You could apply to the County Court for an injunction, which is a type of court order that would require your neighbour to remove the encroaching part of the underpinning. But these proceedings can be very expensive and can take many months to resolve.
A better alternative is to use the remedy of “self-redress”. This will allow you to instruct your builder to get on and cut away the trespassing parts of the foundation as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
However, you still have to take steps to prevent or minimise any damage that removing the encroachment may cause to your neighbour’s property. This will usually include:
(a) Notifying your neighbour of the dates when you plan to do the removal works so that they can remove valuable objects away from their side of the underpinning;
(b) Using a low-vibration method of removing the encroaching underpinning, for example stitch drilling or hydraulic bursting instead of percussive breakers
If possible, it is a good idea to ask your neighbour to appoint their own professional engineer or surveyor to review the method statement of the removal works to see if it can be agreed. If it can be agreed then great, but if not at least you have taken your neighbours’ views on board.
Once the encroachment has been removed you can get on with your basement extension as originally planned.
It may be possible to recover the costs of removing the encroachment, and the cost of any delays it caused. We can help you explore how you can recover that loss.
If you would like advice or assistance on any of the issues raised in this blog please contact Morrisons Solicitors basement extension expert Matthew Hearsum. Matthew is a partner is the Dispute Resolution team and can be contacted by email at [email protected] or by telephone 01483 215 034.