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To convert our loft when we have elderly neighbours

(91 Posts)
Corruptedtongue Sat 16-May-20 09:54:10

We bought a 2 bed semi detached bungalow about a year ago - with a view to converting the loft space. About a third of the bungalows along our road have already been converted. The other interested buyer was a property developer. We have 2 children, our one year old is still sleeping in the bedroom with us, and we really need the extra space. We have had plans drawn up and passed by the council. We need a party wall agreement and our neighbours have instructed a surveyor. They’ve asked us to change our plans twice, which we’ve done - and now need to resubmit to planning. We are on good terms with them, but I know they are concerned. It’s obviously going to be hellish for them when we have the work done. They have already extended their property at the back, but now into their roof space. I’d love to hear your thoughts? Thanks!

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Corruptedtongue Sat 16-May-20 09:55:06

Sorry - not into their roof space that should read

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Gunpowder Sat 16-May-20 09:57:32

You can’t put your life on pause. I’m sure you will be thoughtful and let them know they should speak to you if they are bothered by the work. No one likes having building work done next door but it’s your house and you need space!

KILNAMATRA Sat 16-May-20 09:57:53

You paid your money for your house, have been more than accommodating, bless you.. tell em you'll add sound proofing to the party wall and drive on!

NailsNeedDoing Sat 16-May-20 09:58:31

There’s nothing wrong with you having work done on your house, even if it is inconvenient for the neighbours. It’s to be expected in residential places, especially if you live in a semi. All you can do is be good about warning them when builders are coming and check up regularly to make sure there are no problems that you could solve, but otherwise it’s just one of those things that they’ll have to deal with.

Sunbird24 Sat 16-May-20 09:59:06

It’s lovely that you’re considering your neighbours’ feelings, but don’t let it entirely govern how you live in your own home. You can set out an agreement with the builder about working hours etc to try and minimise the noise and disruption which should help put their minds at ease a bit.

Chamomileteaplease Sat 16-May-20 09:59:37

Surely you are perfectly entitled to convert your loft. Your neighbours have even had a say in it!

I would think that if you give them the timescale as exact as you can so that they can look forward to it finishing then that would help a lot. You might also ask the builders when might the more noisy work be done - anything really that gives the neighbours information as I think that will help them the most.

How long would the work take anyway? Surely not ages?

Oysterbabe Sat 16-May-20 10:01:04

We had ours done and it really wasn't that bad at all. It is very noisy when they're doing the steels but that only takes a day. Ours was done in under 6 weeks. Go for it.

Corruptedtongue Sat 16-May-20 10:01:45

Thank you! Our survey stated that the roof underlay needs replacing anyway - because it’s perishing. Anyone who bought the bungalow would need to do work to it. I currently feel a bit stuck!

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Corruptedtongue Sat 16-May-20 10:03:55

The surveyor they’ve instructed is pay by hour - so we are trying to negotiate an agreed surveyor to keep costs down. They need to agree to the agreed surveyor - which is why they keep asking us to change our plans.

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Corruptedtongue Sat 16-May-20 10:04:41

Ie - if you change this then we will agree to the agreed surveyor.

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Nofunkingworriesmate Sat 16-May-20 10:07:50

My neighbours had aloft conversion it only lasts a few weeks and you know it’s going to end it’s not the same as having noisy neighbours , just keep them informed of progress and any particular noisy days so they can be prepared or be out on those days

Corruptedtongue Sat 16-May-20 10:10:16

Thank you! This is all helping to settle my mind!

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NeedToKnow101 Sat 16-May-20 10:10:19

They're being selfish. They converted their own property so why the fuck shouldn't you convert yours.
The more you give, and let them call the shots, the more they will think they have control over what you are doing.

I'm not advocating being rude or thoughtless on your part, but I know people like your neighbours. Nothing will be good enough for them.

CherryPavlova Sat 16-May-20 10:12:52

They may be less bothered and it may be less horrendous than you think. Choose a good conversion company and mess and noise isn’t that awful as it’s done from the outside mainly and on opposite side of the building to the shared wall.
Don’t allow work late in evening or early in the morning. Send a bottle of wine and give a clear timeline for completion. Keep communicating.
Ensure maximum soundproofing on shared wall.

How old is old?

muddledmidget Sat 16-May-20 10:13:18

We used a specialist loft conversion company and all the really noisy work was done in under 2 weeks (only veluxes though as no dormer needed). After that it was just plumbing and plastering to be done which didn't really impact on next door at all. We stayed living in the house and I was around for quite a lot of the days and it wasn't as noisy as I was expecting

Elieza Sat 16-May-20 10:15:38

You’ve bent over backwards. They’ll just have to put up with it. The banging and drilling won’t last forever and if they are about deaf anyway it may make it more bearable for them!

GladAllOver Sat 16-May-20 10:17:44

Not taking sides on this, but when our neighbours wanted a loft conversion we agreed entirely. It was quoted as taking six weeks and there would be a few days of noise.
We had five months of sheer hell.

EdinaMonsoon Sat 16-May-20 10:19:49

Agree with all said above. And absolutely keep them in the loop with timelines, particularly if they should change for any reason. There is nothing more frustrating than being told to prepare for 6 weeks of work & then still be being disturbed by building noise 3 months later because your neighbour hasn’t told you about some delay/hiccup that changed the schedule <<bitter experience >>

Chewbecca Sat 16-May-20 10:20:38

Of course you are allowed to but I voted U because I am sad about the loss of bungalows & areas of bungalow only housing.

Corruptedtongue Sat 16-May-20 10:21:18

They are 70’s I think? The elderly man has dementia. No family come to visit them, they are very quiet, security cameras, don’t answer door - and phone me to communicate. They gave us our phone number when we moved in, and I phoned her the other week to check she was ok - think she forgotten about giving us her number - and she kept asking how I got her number in a worried voice...

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PrimalLass Sat 16-May-20 10:21:43

It should only take about 6 weeks. We can't not improve properties just because it's noisy.

TooDamnSarky Sat 16-May-20 10:22:22

Just to say that our loft conversion was way less disruptive than I'd expected. I mostly work from home and it was fine.
Only advice is to hire a specialise loft converter not a general builder - the former are usually more skilled at sequencing the jobs to minimise disruption.

EngagedAgain Sat 16-May-20 10:22:42

You have been very accommodating and considerate, but short of not doing it at all, which is ridiculous you have to press on. Yes as pp asked, just how old are they? And yes to trying to keep to reasonable times. Builders usually start early but finish early. The only thing I might consider if I were you is perhaps a pause in the work, or quiet work (if possible) if they are used to a daytime nap at a certain time. Be good to get it done during summer, at least they can get away outside or in the garden.

Corruptedtongue Sat 16-May-20 10:23:41

They adore our two children and bring round presents and gifts for them.

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