We are hoping to have an extension built to back of house this summer. We are in a 30s semi with a garage to side. The garage has already been extended at the back to make a utility/downstairs toilet. This was before we bought the house 18 months ago. The back garden also backs onto a park so no back access. Do you think we should ask our neighbour if builders can use his driveway, which adjoins our garage, to begin building work at the back? Should we offer to pay for disruption? He is a lovely old man who lives alone and is very kind to DC, chats to them when they come home from school, brings them little gifts at Christmas. Don't want to offend or alienate him! Alternative is access through our utility room and kitchen which I think would be a nightmare for us and builders' alike during external building work ...
I think you could ask but be prepared for him to say no. I would and I like to think I'm a nice neighbour. We've just had huge building works done. Up the side of our house and the drive are all gravel and we have had to have it re-gravelled plus the builders spent nearly a day at the end picking up nails, bits of broken glass etc.
Plus, if you ask him, the likelihood is there would be mission creep and the builders and trades would start dumping materials on it. Plus, builds always go on longer than you think so you could end up in the embarrassing position of the builders using the drive for much longer than expected.
If you do ask, you would have to make it clear that you don't want an answer right away (is so his family can't say you shamed him into saying yes whilst you stood there) and put it in writing that you will make good any damage plus pay compensation for his loss of access.
Separately, how close is the extension to his boudary? Depending on that, you should be getting a party wall agreement anyway so you could write in an agreement re: the drive into that if he does agree.
You're not just asking for permission for the builders to walk up and down his drive though are you, you're asking for all the building materials, diggers maybe, machinery to go up and down his drive.
If you have such a genuinely lovely relationship with him, I wouldn't even ask, I'd want to avoid potentially ruining that. Presumably, if he's an old man, he'll probably be at home quite a lot of the day so stands to be disturbed by your work already, without it being even closer to his house.
Sorry, but your work, your disruption. Can the builders just got through the garage and the utility?
You can't currently access the back via the utility but I am thinking of asking builders to use our main hall as we will need a new hall floor after all of this anyway I'm guessing. If it was a mini digger though, to dig up patio for instance, can they bring that through the house? If it was access on just the days the digger was needed I wouldn't feel so bad asking the neighbour about that. I really don't want to annoy him!
re: party wall, the extension is just inside our boundary. Our planner advised to ask neighbour in writing for a party wall agreement and include a copy of the plans. If he agrees in writing, is this all we need to do?
There are quite specific rules if you're digging within 3m of your neighbour's house, and will go deeper than his foundations (you have to serve a notice which includes a question as to whether you'll do anything about securing his foundations) or if you are digging within 6m of his house and you're going quite deep - its to do with the angles. Just google it, its straightforward.
The builders suggested we ask the neighbour for side access, with promise to make good any damage to his driveway/fence. This was because they had seen that internal access through our house was difficult.