Complex overhanging eaves issue

Complex overhanging eaves issue

Postby LANSBERY » Wed May 01, 2013 10:42 am

Background

My neighbour is building an extension, with planning consent and building regulations approval. To do this, he had to demolish his outbuilding. The outbuilding adjoined my outbuilding along a line of junction formed by a 9-inch party wall. So he left the party wall in place, demolished his building, and sliced off the roof more or less in line with the top of his side of the party wall. The outbuildings had a double pitched roof covered in plywood and onduline sheeting, rising to a ridge of about 2.5 m high.

His extension is not being built up to the party wall but very close to it inside his garden. The wall of the extension facing us is also not parallel with the party wall. It is about 30 cm from it at the widest point nearest the house and then getting closer and closer until it just passes the corner of my outbuilding. This leaves a long narrow v-shaped gap between what is now the outside of my outbuilding and the outside of his extension. His pitched roof will slope down towards the exposed party wall of my outbuilding, and the plans show that there will be a gutter to drain water from his new roof.

The extension has reached a point where the walls are up and the builders are erecting rafters to form the roof.

Problem

Demolition of his building happened early November 2012. We had a verbal agreement (no Party Wall Award unfortunately) that he would render the outside of the party wall and repair the eaves to provide permanent weather-proofing for our building. He did nothing about this for 3 months over the winter, despite being reminded. In February he sent me a Party Structure Notice saying he had changed his mind about how to treat the wall and proposed to paint it with bitumen and fold some onduline sheeting over the eaves to stop the rain getting in, I wasn't happy about this, but just to try and get something done, I agreed - it is an outbuilding not a habitable space.

Six weeks on and still nothing had happened. A lot of snow drove in under the roof in March soaking the plywood. So when the weather improved in early April, I decided to get up on the roof and repair it myself. The repair consisted of some feather edge nailed on to the face of the two pitched eaves, and some roofing felt secured under the onduline sheeting roof and folded over and nailed on to the feather edge fascia. The amount by which this repair extends the roof in his direction (i.e. the roof which was remaining after he had sliced off his side) is less than 1 inch, or about 30 mm. Put another way, my new eaves protecting the top of the party wall project into his garden about 30mm.

He has written to me demanding to know why I have done this (especially since I agreed to his Party Structure Notice in February), and one of his builders has told me that it seems unlikely that they will be able to fit guttering to the new eaves of the extension because my repair will interfere with that.

The Party Wall Act allows an owner to demolish a building adjoining a PW and also to cut off overhanging eaves etc. in order to build a new building adjoining the party wall. In this case, his new building does not adjoin the party wall, but his proposed eaves and guttering apparently come so close to my outbuilding at the point where his building passes mine at the farthest point from the house that he may want to cut off the repair I have done. Recall that I did this to protect my own building - a repair which he should have done but did not do.

Question

Where do I stand? Can he just cut off my repair? Even if he cannot do that, would he be on strong ground to insist that I remove the repair to provide him with an additional 30mm of air-space so that his guttering can be installed? The PWA says that work must be pursued with due diligence. Even without the PWA, common sense surely says that if an owner neglects to do a very minor repair to his neighbour's roof when he has damaged it by demolition, then the neighbour is entitled to repair it himself. Or is common sense unreliable here? And one final thing - supposing it turns out that the additional 30 mm of air-space is still not enough for him to install his gutter. What then? Without the gutter he surely cannot comply with building regulations, and I certainly don't want his rain falling directly against my outbuilding. Opinions welcome.
LANSBERY
 
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