Editor’s letter

One of the key things to remember in creating a happy and successful self- build is to remember your neighbours. You’re likely to be getting hundreds of deliveries over the course of a build, so anything you can do to help their lives not be too disrupted is going to pay dividends in long-term relations.

However it’s not just the comings and goings to site, it’s probably more about the obvious and persistent issues of noise and mess when it comes to what will really get you in neighbours’ bad books. Of course these factors are also temporary, but the effects might last a lot longer than the build!

Communication is the no-brainer in terms of the list of things to do. Chartered surveyors Delva Patman Redler advise that this should go beyond just telling neighbours what’s about to occur, post- planning consent. “It should not be a short discussion, they need to be shown the plans and understand what the works will entail.” They warn that neighbours can often “get very upset” when they hear about things being planned next door which they had no idea about.

The firm also advises that you encourage your builder to communicate with your neighbours, focusing on work that’s going to cause excessive noise or access problems. This is particularly important if you need access to their property, which can be the case in Party Wall works. At the end of the day, a bit of empathy, and an attempt to put yourself in your neighbours’ shoes, can go a long way!

James Parker