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Loft conversion: neighbours and possibility of damage to building

(12 Posts)
fluffygreentail Tue 27-Jan-15 14:28:35

Another property related post from me - its a great sounding board.

Ive read loads of threads on loft conversions but have some queries.

An option for us would be to have a loft conversion done on our semi- detached. Have had a few quotes and I understand the building process now and timescales.

How do you broach this with your other half neighbours?

Ours are really pleasant and we've only really had conversations in passing. we haven't done any majors works to our house since being here, so they've had no cause to have any issue with us. I dont want any hostility and I dont want them to start being inconsiderate to us if they think we've got no regard for them (just can never tell) and changing the status quo.

What risks are there to the other semi, if any?

Could their property be damaged?

I know about party wall but Im worried about adding beams etc and if this might leave cracks on their upstairs rooms.

We would wouldn't want to change the roof from a typical 30s semi hip roof to a gable end to maximise space - personally, the hip roof is part of the 30s semi charm to me, so we'd be adding a pointy roof to the side of the house, paying more too! The two houses wouldn't look incongruous together but the back of our house would have a dormer too.

Would the neighbours be able to hear more noise from us up in the loft room?

I may have some more questions but would be really grateful if anyone could help.

Rgds, fluffy.

fluffygreentail Tue 27-Jan-15 16:39:18

anyone...pleasey please

Marmitelover55 Tue 27-Jan-15 17:44:52

We did our loft about 12 years ago. The neighbours did suffer some cracks in their ceilings as a result, bug this was covered by party wall agreement and was fixed by our builders.

We didn't have a dormer, so can't comment on that.

Re noise - no I don't think it affected the neighbours as they don't have a loft conversion, so we are too far away for it to be a problem. We are in a Victorian semi if that helps.

SocksRock Tue 27-Jan-15 17:50:26

Your structural engineer and party wall surveyor will sort out most of this. But you will be expected to make good any damage to the neighbouring property, and there will be some minor cracking, it's difficult to avoid. The party wall agreement will detail the condition prior to the work starting so you know what needs to be reinstated.

SmellTheGlove Tue 27-Jan-15 17:57:15

What a thoughtful person you are! I think keeping communication going is the key. I'm in a terrace and both sets of neighbours have had work done - one lot didn't even tell us first (wasn't party wall notifiable so didn't have to but it was endless drilling and banging til 9pm for about 4 weeks), the others informed us first, kept us posted about when there was likely to be more noise, bought us wine etc. It was still a massive pain but at least they tried to be accommodating. It's not much fun for your neighbours but it's part and parcel of being semi detached or terraced.. Incidentally we signed the PWA without any fuss and there doesn't seem to have been any impact on our house (they had a loft conversion and ground floor extension).

fluffygreentail Tue 27-Jan-15 18:12:04

thanks really useful.

marmite - did your buider go into their house, cover their stuff and re plaster and paint their ceiling? obviously, this was an additional cost to you ?goodness...

did your neighbours interior get covered in dust if the ceiling cracked and were they seriously annoyed

smell did you experience any damage to your property?

Marmitelover55 Tue 27-Jan-15 18:28:18

Sorry cant remember with cracks - think they filled them and painted. I do remember them having to re render neighbours side of parapet wall on the roof, as render cracked and fell off. Don't think we paid - think it was snagging.

fluffygreentail Tue 27-Jan-15 23:04:48

ok, thank you. were they somewhat unhappy or not too bad with the cracks being filled?

Yes, I am very concerned about our neighbours - wouldnt want to cause them stress or have them worry about their property. I know they wont be happy but I would like them to be ok with us. I would find them doing a loft conversion right now, a bit stressful as it would be a total unknown to me. I would want them to let me know at the earliest opportunity and talk to me about any impact it might have on their property If they did one after we did ours, I imagine I would be still on edge but less so.

I think i would really like to do a loft conversion but worry that difficulties with our neighbour and having to continue to live with them, might be more stressful than moving.


Marmitelover55 Tue 27-Jan-15 23:11:32

We did an extension last year and nearly fell out with the same neighbours over the party wall agreement. Anyway roll on a year and they are now having exactly the same work done us - even using the same architect and builder as they ended up so impressed smile. So I wouldn't let this stop you!

SmellTheGlove Wed 28-Jan-15 12:48:12

The neighbour's builders came round and photographed inside and outside the party wall/roof, we didn't ask for a surveyor. As far as I can tell 2 years on there's been no damage to our property. No cracks have appeared. We get on ok with the neighbours now, no different than before the work really. I think what would be helpful is making sure that you emphasise that you will be considerate regarding hours of work etc, stick to the guidelines which are 8am to 6pm (I think) and not after 12 on Saturday, not at all on Sundays. I got most pissed off when noisy work was carrying on late and I had a young DS to get to bed.

fluffygreentail Thu 29-Jan-15 16:17:08

Hi thanks Smell. thanks for the info. You sound reasonable - wish you were my neighbours.

Been thinking more and more over the last couple of days that we should do this rather than move.

Worried about whether to mention it now to neighbours or whether to wait until a few weeks before we actually start work if that is what we decide to do.

Builder thinks if we are still considering and not imminently about to proceed it, it would be opening the floodgates before we start. But if it were me, Id want to know even if the neighbours were still just seriously considering it, just so I could mentally prepare myself.

Any words of wisdom?

SmellTheGlove Thu 29-Jan-15 18:39:57

If you are serving a party wall notice you have to give 8 weeks notice, although your neighbour can agree to work starting before that date if they are happy to do so and sign the form saying so. If you google 'party wall agreement' you'll find lots of free printable examples - in fact your council planning dept probably has one online that you can download. If you want to do the work then you should do it. Where I live there is barely a house left unextended because property is very expensive and so it costs a lot to move. People just have to put up with their neighbours doing work I'm afraid! Go for it!

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