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AIBU to think this could be dangerous?

(24 Posts)
germainebeer Sat 18-Mar-17 14:32:49

My neighbour is converting their large, detached home into a day nursery. Their plans include adding a large extension to the rear of the property. Building started this week and their contractors have dug the foundations and piled the excavated earth in a mound. It's difficult to see from our property, but there seems to be a few feet between the top of the mound of earth and our garden wall. However, I am concerned that the foot of the mound may be pressing against the foot of our garden wall - this is not visible from our property. Our wall is 116 years old and I am worried that the weight of several tonnes of earth will affect its structural integrity. The contractors have been driving a tractor over the mound, adding to the weight and pressure. I have two young children here and the nursery will have space for 50 children - if the wall were to collapse in either direction the effect could be catastrophic.

I have asked DP's opinion and he has been rudely dismissive of me. However, he is averse to confrontation (to the extent that he wouldn't even speak to them when their initial ground clearance work pulled down fencing and crushed trees, shrubs and soft fruit canes on our own property!) so I think this is colouring his view. I am fearful for the safety of my children and also feel that if the wall fell down at a future date, endangering the children at the nursery, then we could potentially find ourselves in court, facing ruin. I have asked DP to either look over our wall to see if he can see whether the foot of the excavatated earth mound is touching the wall (I'm not tall enough) or ask the neighbours for access to their garden to check from that side. He has angrily refused.

So, the first thing I'm wondering is whether you think it likely that tonnes of excavated earth are a danger to a Victorian wall that is in need of repointing? And the second is whether IWBU to ask the neighbours whether I can check from their side of the wall (relations are frosty though polite, as there was massive local opposition to the development)? Finally, I suppose there is the issue of what to do if it is a potential hazard?

germainebeer Sat 18-Mar-17 14:33:28

AIBU to think this may be dangerous?

Redtartanshoes Sat 18-Mar-17 14:35:45

Potentially it could damage your wall yes. I say this as someone who works in construction albeit a much larger scale.

What are their plans for the spoil? If temp then it's not such a problem. Although severe rain could lead to movement.

CatsMother66 Sat 18-Mar-17 16:33:47

I have been in this position but on the other side. Our neighbours own the old red brick wall between us. It is in a dire state and needs repointing. The ivy holds it up! They objected to us building a large garage a metre from their wall as they were worried it would fall over, never worrying about the trees and bamboo they planted along it whose roots will no doubt harm the wall.
Planing was granted and we built the garage. Our builders, mindful of its state made sure they dug footings that would actually support the wall from our side.
In my opinion, and it's only my opinion, if you state that your wall needs repointing and you worry that it's going to fall, then maybe you should do something about it now. You state in black and white that it needs it so I would say you would be liable if it fell down in the future, regardless of whether the mound was there or not.

LuxCoDespondent Sat 18-Mar-17 16:48:56

Can't you look over the wall yourself using a ladder and/or a camera on a stick? But yes there is a risk that the wall will fall over at some point, may not be for a few years but if it is in a poor condition it might be worth getting it fixed anyway. If it's your wall as opposed to your neighbour's then you would be the one liable if it collapsed and caused injury in the future.

BoBaraMoMara Sat 18-Mar-17 16:53:00

I would think that even without touching, it could potentially be damaging to the integrity of the wall - the additional surface load on the nearby ground could cause lateral ground shifting, especially if there is a heavy rain to saturate the mound and increase the load.

insancerre Sat 18-Mar-17 16:53:52

I would hate to live next door to a nursery
Have you any idea how noisy children can be?
I wouldn't let this lie and I would seek legal advice
Why would they refuse you permission to look?
Can you get a selfie stick and a ladder?

DontTouchTheMoustache Sat 18-Mar-17 16:59:09

If you are genuinely concerned go over and have a chat about it. Just explain your concerns and suggest getting a professional to come and assess the wall. Put it to them that it would be covering them for the future if they have had a risk assessment done and taken any necessary precautions.
When you say relations are frosty though polite, as there was massive local opposition to the development....you weren't the ringleader were you?

user1489855835 Sat 18-Mar-17 17:02:39

YABU to sk your DP to look, when you are perfectly capable of looking for yourself.

OreoDream Sat 18-Mar-17 17:53:37

So DP is averse to confrontation with everyone except you it seems!

I think it could be a danger, yes. Just look over the wall?

How do you feel about living next door to a nursery?

germainebeer Sat 18-Mar-17 18:25:50

Thanks Red. I don't know their plans but I'm assuming the spoil will be moved as it's currently where the playground will go. How long is temporary, in your opinion?

3luckystars Sat 18-Mar-17 18:28:28

Why would you face 'ruin' if the wall falls?

3luckystars Sat 18-Mar-17 18:28:53

(Sorry if I misread that)

Have you a business at home too?

StillDrivingMeBonkers Sat 18-Mar-17 19:16:45

the nursery will have space for 50 children

Move. Can you imagine the parking fiascos and the noise?

I'm sorry OP, it sounds horrific

Yamadori Sat 18-Mar-17 19:20:58

Perhaps you could ring your local council planning department, mention your concerns and ask whether there is someone who could pay a visit to check building site safety.

MrsCrabbyTree Sun 19-Mar-17 00:25:36

There is a site called Gardenlaw.uk that has members that have been through many issues and give great advice. Maybe join and ask for their opinions.

tallwivglasses Sun 19-Mar-17 00:34:16

It's situations like these when you and dh need to be on the same page. Why's he being a wimp?

ZilphasHatpin Sun 19-Mar-17 00:34:59

I wonder if builders have to carry out a risk assessment for something like this? Does anyone know? I imagine they would. Worth finding out. I would go over, ask for access to see the mound's position in relation to your wall and if it is necessary for them to have one ask to see their risk assessment.

ZilphasHatpin Sun 19-Mar-17 00:35:41

Actually yamadori's advice is much better! Have someone official check it out.

QueenArseClangers Sun 19-Mar-17 01:33:44

Out of all of your post the thing that stands out is your DP being angry and rude to you.
Is this normal?

STFU Sun 19-Mar-17 02:10:39

QueenArseClangers

Out of all of your post the thing that stands out is your DP being angry and rude to you. Is this normal?

Do you have "Red flag. LTB" permanently ready to paste into a reply. hmm

I second MrsCrabbyTree's suggestion. We got great advice there. It's gardenlaw.co.uk/ - she forgot the .co.

mummytime Sun 19-Mar-17 04:29:46

Have you contacted your local council planning - in particular ask to speak to building control. It is better to be safe than sorry - not only could a historic wall be undermined but someone in your garden could be injured/killed if the wall collapses.

Booksandmags79 Sun 19-Mar-17 07:23:05

Would this come under a party wall agreement? Did you have one before they started work?

bonzo77 Sun 19-Mar-17 07:41:24

Presumably they informed the council and got planning consent. And some sort of permission regarding the change of use. Normally neighbours are consulted on this. I'd get into the council planning department for a start.

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