LADBROKE ASSOCIATION

The conservation society for the Ladbroke conservation area of the Royal Borough of

Kensington and Chelsea

 

 

 

SUMMARY OF RESPONSES TO LADBROKE ASSOCIATION SURVEY OF 
NEIGHBOURS OF UNDERGROUND DEVELOPMENTS, SPRING 2009.


• Table I: answers to questions on what stage the works are at; if completed, how long they took to complete; whether there was a party wall agreement in place; and whether the consultant was consulted in advance of planning permission being sought. 

• Table II: answers to questions on the damage and nuisance caused during construction; whether remedial action had been taken or a claim made; whether the respondents consider themselves out of pocket as a result of the works; and whether there is as yet any sign of post-construction damage.

• Table III: answers to questions on what dealings the respondents had with the Council after construction had begun; and what suggestions respondents had for improvements to the current arrangements.

 

 

 

 

                       RESPONSES TO LADBROKE ASSOCIATION SURVEY OF NEIGHBOURS OF UNDERGROUND

                                                                                 DEVELOPMENTS, SPRING 2009.

 

 TABLE I – SHOWING WHAT STAGE THE WORKS ARE AT AND HOW LONG THEY TOOK IF COMPLETED; WHETHER THERE WAS A PARTY WALL AGREEMENT; AND WHETHER THE RESPONDENT WAS CONSULTED IN ADVANCE OF PLANNING PERMISSION BEING SOUGHT.

(The numbers in the first column are the ones given to the responses when they came in, for identification purposes)

 

No.

 

Status March 2009

Time that the works took or were estimated to take (estimate)

Party wall agree-

ment

Was the respondent consulted in advance?

1.

next door

Completed

2 years for rebuilding, of which 6 months digging new basement

Yes

Yes, modest input. Had to ask to see plan. Dealt only with architect.

2

next door

 

Partial development only; completed

 

Yes

Yes, but approved despite objections..

3.

opposite

Completed

About 1 year

 

Did not comment on plans. Given adequate warning of start.

4.

Did not proceed

 

 

 

5.

next door

Ongoing.

 

Yes

Yes, exemplary.

6.

next door

 

Ongoing/suspended

 

 

Notionally involved; revisions made to application and adequate warning of start.

7.

next door

Ongoing.

18 months to date; 2 years originally predicted; now 2 ½  years.

Yes

Yes, but unable to influence plans.

8.

opposite

Ongoing.

13 months to date. Much longer than predicted.

N/a

 

 

Saw plans but could not influence.

No.

 

Status March 2009

Time that the works took or were estimated to take (estimate)

Party wall agree-

ment

Was the respondent consulted in advance?

9.

next door

Ongoing.

2.5 months to date

Yes

Very little; only discovered when planning notice went up. Neighbour sent surveyor round without checking to look at house. Work began without warning. Builder attempted to deny clauses in PWA.

10.

next door

Completed.

About 2 years.

Yes

Only saw plans after planning applied for. Couple of meetings with architects leading to some changes.

11.

next door

Completed

About 3 ½ years

 

Yes

No involvement in run-up. Planning application misleading and implications only became clear after approved. Plnners required remedial action. No adequate warning of work starting.

12

next door

Ongoing

 

Yes

Not informed of works. Appointed surveyor about a month into the construction who reviewed  the plans. Now an ongoing dispute with 3rd surveyor appointed.

13.

Completed (before respondents moved in)

 

 

 

14.

next door

Completed

Not stated

Yes

No; only discovered when received Council letter.

15.

opposite

Completed

12-15 months; deep excavations 3 months.

N/a

No. Did not get planning notice.

16.

 

Did not proceed

 

 

 

17.

next door

 

6 months (underground work)

Yes

 

Saw plans and objected to Council.

18.

next door

Completed (but still snagging work)

Longer than planned

Yes

 

19.

next door

Completed?

Longer (6-9 months)

Yes

Yes

No.

 

Status March 2009

Time that the works took or were estimated to take (estimate)

Party wall agree-

ment

Was the respondent consulted in advance?

20.

next door

Completed

18 months; estimate 12 months

Yes

Yes. Some influence.

21.

next door

Completed

18 months – 9 months longer than

predicted.

 

Yes

Yes, and marginal influence on plans.

22.

next door

Completed

6 months (subterranean work), 2 months over estimate.

Yes

Saw planning application; did not try to influence as thought it would not affect them as work was only under front garden.

23.

opposite

Completed

18 months plus

N/a

No.

24.

Not yet started

 

 

 

25.

next door

Completed

Did not notice as unaffected

 

 

No.

26.

next door

Completed

12 months

Yes

 

 Yes. No warning of work starting.

27.

next door

Ongoing

Already 1 ¾ years

Yes

Yes, but poor relations with applicant. Lots of initial problems as neighbours did not use professionals; once professionals engaged, problems were removed. It took 10 months to conclude a PWA.

28.

 

Not yet started.

 

 

Yes. Frequent emailing to RBKC – impression officers not interested. PWA being prepared.

29.

next door

Completed.

 

Yes

Objected to plans but ignored. Work started before party wall agreement signed and without warning.

30.

next door

Completed

4 years; estimate 1 year.

Yes

 

Not contacted by neighbour, except to dissuade them from appealing. Started before party wall in place. Had to pay party wall solicitor themselves.

31.

 

Work did not proceed

 

 

 

No.

 

Status March 2009

Time that the works took or were estimated to take (estimate)

Party wall agree-

ment

Was the respondent consulted in advance?

32.

Ongoing (subterranean part completed).

Almost a year; six months longer than

predicted.

N/a

 

Yes, but no influence

33.

next door

Almost complete

 

Yes

No.

34.

next door

Completed.

18 months of which about 12-15 months for basement.

Yes

Not stated

35.

Not yet started

 

 

 

36.

opposite

Ongoing.

5-6 months to date

N/a

Objected; never told by Council what happened.

37.

next door

Ongoing

 

Yes

Saw plans on Council website. Not told when work would start.

38.

next door

Ongoing

 

Yes

 

39.

next door

Subterranean work not yet started.

Approx 6 months intermittently for work above ground; subterranean work in abeyance for last 6-9 months.

 

Architects gave courteous warning of start of works

40.

next door

Not yet started

 

Not yet

Huge involvement but no influence. PWA still not in place after 2 years.

41.

Not yet started

 

 

 

42.

Not yet started

 

 

 

43.

next door

Completed.

About 1 year.

Yes

Saw planning application in Town Hall.

44.

Only recently started.

 

 

 

No.

 

Status at March 2009

Time that the works took or were estimated to take (estimate)

Party wall agree-

ment

Was the respondent consulted in advance?

45.

opposite

Not affected as opposite

 

N/a

 

46.

next door

Ongoing

 

 

No

47.

next door

Ongoing. Work began Feb/Mar 07.

2 years to date (not all underground). Piling Nov 07-April 08 and Jul-Aug 08; main excavation est Jan-Aug 09.

 

Received planning application and objected unsuccessfully.

48.

next door

Mainly completed.

18 months heavy digging and drilling; works on basement to this day.

N/a

Tenant only. Not warned of start

49.

Not started

 

 

 

50.

next door

Ongoing. Work started Mar 07; excavation Mar 08.

Hoping to finish Mar 2010 but probably Sept 2010.

Yes

Objected to no avail (there was an appeal). PWA ineffective.

51.

opposite

Not yet or only just started

 

 

 

52.

next door

Ongoing

 

Yes

Yes

53.

next door

Completed

1 year

 

Yes

Saw plans but was not able to influence. Not given adequate warning of work starting. Problems with own surveyor.

54.

Not yet started

 

 

 

55.

next door

Completed.

At least 1 year.

Yes

Not able to influence plans.

56.

opposite

Ongoing

 

N/a

No consultations or notification (it is house opposite)

No.

 

Status at March 2009

Time that the works took or were estimated to take (estimate)

Party wall agree-

ment

Was the respondent consulted in advance?

57.

next door

Ongoing.

 

 

New owner hugely underplayed size of project (complete new house); series of planning applications.

58.

 

Letter from group on Phillimore Estate

59.

opposite

Completed

Not sure

N/a

Commented on application and attended council meeting. Concerned about effect of lower garden level on wildlife corridors.

60.

next door

Completed

2 years, 1 year longer than expected.

 

Very little. ‘The neighbour didn’t seem to think we existed’

61.

next door

Completed.

18 months, about 6 months longer than expected.

Yes

Told  of plans long before and  successfully objected to part of them (large garden shed).

62.

next door

Ongoing

Started approx June 2008. Progress complicated by fact respondent obtained injunction for trespass.

Yes

Was contacted by owner and plans provided in advance. Did not object as told by Council likely to get permission. Number of concessions negotiated with owner.

63.

next door

Completed (almost)

3 ½ years, longer than expected

Yes

Not consulted; heard first when received planning notification. Objected with geometric and structural reports expressing concern, but no account taken.

64.

next door

Completed

Almost 2 years, about 6 months longer than expected.

Yes

Knew in general terms renovation planned, but not specifically consulted. Objected to plans to no avail.

 

 

 

                       RESPONSES TO LADBROKE ASSOCIATION SURVEY OF NEIGHBOURS OF UNDERGROUND

                                                                                 DEVELOPMENTS, SPRING 2009.

 

TABLE II – SHOWING THE DAMAGE AND NUISANCE CAUSED DURING CONSTRUCTION; WHETHER REMEDIAL ACTION BEEN TAKEN OR CLAIM HAS BEEN MADE; WHETHER THE RESPONDENTS CONSIDER THEMSELVES OUT OF POCKET AS A RESULT OF THE WORKS; AND WHETHER THERE IS ANY SIGN YET OF POST-CONSTRUCTION DAMAGE. (Excludes replies on properties where work had not proceeded at the time of the survey.)

 

No.

 

Status March 2009

Damage done

Nuisance during construction

Claim/remedial action

Financially out of pocket?

Post construction damage

1.

 

Completed end 2008.

Next door

Small cracks:

 

 

Generally, work of high quality and contractor helpful, eg over security.

Garden will need some replanting.

Lot of dust, noise, vibration.

 

Garden covered in dust, plants died and unusable for a year.

 

No claim as redecorating anyway. But two small payments for other damage made or being made.

No direct loss. But should be loss of amenity payment.

Too early to say.

2.

 

Partial development only; completed. Next door.

Cracks in several places in respondent’s 1st floor flat, as the building is still moving.

 

Builder did best to minimise problem. Respondent out all day and not as affected as the basement. Site manager and owner helpful.

No action yet taken as cracks getting wider.

Won’t know until remedial action carried out.

No new cracks, but old ones still getting larger.

3.

 

 

Completed.

Opposite.

 

 

 

None

No.

None

No.

No.

5.

 

Ongoing.

Next door.

Front door fell slightly in its frame.

Plenty of noise, dust etc, but not excessively and was warned.

Satisfactory remedial action taken. Front door refitted by neighbour’s builder.

No.

Too early to say.

6.

 

Ongoing/

Suspended. Next door.

Severe damage to structural frame, said to be ‘one-off’; flooding from roof as a result of structural cracks and basement flat uninhabitable.

Excessive noise of drilling. No English speakers on construction team. Feels very strongly – fed up.

Legal proceedings instigated. £80,000 sought for remedial damage.

Obvious impact on buildings insurance premium.

Flooding continues as no funds for repair - bankruptcy.

7.

 

Ongoing.

Next door.

Ongoing cracking, dust, dirt.

Yes – 6 parking bays suspended, lorries blocking road. Mud, dirt, rubble.

At one point a column of mud covered the front of the house to the 3rd floor. Rats and mice also a big problem. Builders only interested in contract; lip service only to action. If don’t complain each time they feel they are getting away with it.

No claims to date but there will be on completion.

Not really – just tired, bored, angry.

Too early to say.

9.

 

 

Ongoing.

Next door.

So far none. Planters in front clogged with dirt.

Diabolical mess. Basement inadequately hosed down and despite complaints steps only hosed infrequently. Front hall filthy. Quiet period negotiated for baby was ignored at first. Pavement often blocked. Builders quite nice but clearly under instructions to keep cost down.

Not yet

Not yet able to comment.

Too early to say.

10.

 

 

 

 

 

Completed.

Next door.

None so far, surprisingly.

.

Work effected with relatively little inconvenience.

Replacement of party wall done to good standard.

No.

Nothing to date. Neighbour has greatly expanded/enhanced his property to everyone’s benefit.

11.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Completed.

Next door.

Wooden trellis on party wall destroyed and a few cracks. A serious fall of rubble down two chimneys. Roof left with several large bags of rubble and slates broken by falling debris and scaffolding. Not told this had happened – alerted later by own roofer.

Dust and noise major problems.

Damage to party wall made good.

 

No claims as nothing could be proved. But £9,500 needed to reconstruct drains – see next column – covered by respondent’s insurance after a battle.

Following the gutting of the basement and the excavation of a large part of the garden, respondent suffered severe collapse of drains between street-house and under house. Cannot prove anything, but suspects caused by pressures of excavation works and large vehicles in street.

12.

 

 

Ongoing (began Sept 2008).

Next door.

Chimney stacks need relining – respondent sure this is due to the drilling over the last 6 months.

Numerous recent cracks at top of house. Massive crack in garden wall.

Builders have been great, but noise has been extreme. Dire inconvenience for respondent who works from home.

No remedial action yet.

 

Too early to tell.

14.

 

 

Completed.

Next door.

No damage.

No real inconvenience. Builders cooperative.

N/a.

No claims made

No.

15.

 

 

Completed.

Opposite.

No damage but demolition rubbish on road ruined 3 tyres.

Excessive noise, dust etc, especially during 3-4 months deep excavation. Had already suffered from similar work on another house next to property.

 

£500 cost of new tyres.

No, as opposite. Overall quality of work seems high.

17.

 

 

Completed.

Next door.

Some damage to party wall, and part removed without respondent’s knowledge.

Noise and dust were extremely annoying and psychologically wearing. Additional cleaning needed. Sometimes had to be reminded to stop work after hours.

Remedial action taken, but only after respondent pointed out problem.

 

None that can be pinpointed.

None so far.

18.

 

 

Completed (but still snagging work). Next door.

Cracks in back of house. Damage to plants, garden wall and tree.

Noise, dust, mess and at times loud noise, late working.

None taken. Party Wall award still seems

unenforceable and respondent is still awaiting remedial action on garden wall.

???? illeg

Possible need to repaint house.

19.

 

 

Completed?

Next door.

Not to date.

 

Excessive noise, dust etc. Totally uncooperative neighbour and unsympathetic contractor only interested in getting job finished without regard for nuisance.

No claims made to date.

Difficult to judge. Certainly a lot of stress.

Not yet.

20.

 

 

Completed

Next door.

Extensive cracking and movement to both exterior and interior of house.

Noise, dust etc, irritating but accepts normal part of building work. Only substantial issue is the damage.

In process of making claims for remedial action or financial contribution in lieu.

Too early to say.

Too early to say.

21.

 

Completed

Next door.

Main damage was to chimney flue through insertion of steels through party wall.

Noise and dust etc not too bad, all things considered (but wife suffered). B Neighbour and builder cooperative.

Remedial action still ongoing. Taken a long time to get resolution of claims.

Not significantly.

No specific damage from subterranean development yet, but it is too soon to be sure.

22.

 

 

Completed.

Next door.

Damage caused by flood from broken pipe, but not connected to subterranean work. One mature prunus removed for sub. work.

Excessive noise, dust, vibration, mud outside respondent’s house and in street, radio.

No claims made.

  -

  -

23.

 

 

Completed.

Opposite.

None.

Only affected by parking suspension for extended period.

N/a.

No.

No.

25.

 

 

Completed.

Next door.

Slight damage to garden wall which neighbours repaired.

No problem. Builders were reasonable.

Remedial action satisfactory.

 

No.

No.

26.

 

 

Completed

Next door.

Garden demolished without prior notification; huge cracks to building etc

Damage to iron railings from dust and water.

 

 

Construction noise, dust from spoil going through house on conveyor belt

Still awaiting resolution of cracking etc.

 illegible

 

27.

 

Ongoing. Started summer 2007.

Next door.

So far minor damage, settlement cracking, splashing of concrete on façade.

Narrow lane, blocking of all traffic and respondent’s garage 45-60 minutes a day when lorries collecting or delivering. Builders became more cooperative after Council visited and acknowledged health and safety risks., and agreement reached with contractors to use small lorries and not block access.

No remedial action to date.

Not clear yet, but expect to be left out of pocket.

N/a

29.

 

 

Completed.

Next door.

Extensive cracks to walls. 2 windows now out of alignment.

Excessive (incredible) noise; unable to use telephone; whole house shuddered. Doesn’t think they could avoid the noise once power-tools used.

No decision yet on remedial work/claims. Cracks being monitored.

Probably.

  -

30.

 

 

Completed.

Next door.

Several cracks, throughout house and in conservatory and wine cellar. Damage to lawn, trees, plants, shrubs. Owner/contractor made aware, but never tried to avoid the nuisance. They were on a mission.

  Lorries blocking access to the road; pavement obstructed by cement lorries; unbearable noise.

Made a claim, but had to employ a PW solicitor which cost, and got very little.

At least £30,000 as settlement insufficient. Need to make good cracks and redecorate.

New cracks regularly being discovered in different rooms.

32.

 

 

Ongoing.

Not yet.

Dust, dirt, vermin and noise 6 days a week for more than a year.

N/a

 

To early to tell.

To early to tell.

33.

 

 

Almost complete.

Next door.

No.

Some noise and vibration, and unusually lengthy period of parking suspension.  Probably unavoidable.

No claims needed.

No.

No.

34.

 

 

Completed.

Next door.

Builder smashed through wall into basement by mistake. House dropped down on one side where basement was dug out. Lots of cracks and could not open front door.

Noise truly excessive. Whole house vibrating all day. Almost drove respondent mad. Dust too. Lot of stuff (inc sharp lumps of metal) dropped on front path. Access difficult because of skip for 12 months. Overall, unbearable and nearly moved out.

Builder sorted out front door but not cracks - could not claim under PWA as PW surveyor said respondent was going to renovate own house shortly after – true, but irritating.

Difficult to say because of own excavation, but ongoing problems make it likely.

Walls  continue to crack on side of excavation.

36.

 

 

Ongoing.

Opposite.

No specific damage

Continuous noise and disruption from 8 am to 5 or 6 pm. Reported the builders at the beginning because of lorries arriving 7 am, and on Sats. Had to leave the house to work. Tremors every day. Largest ever seen trucks parked outside and on pavement.

  -

 -

Two burst pipes in street in Jan possibly attributable to works. Since then, respondent’s water supply irregular.

37.

 

 

Ongoing.

Next door.

Not yet – still in early stages.

Excessive noise, dust etc. Not been able to stay in house during work due to noise and vibration. Frequent removal of skip left cars covered in dirt, so had to park further away.

Not yet had to claim under PWA.

Yes, because we have been unable to sell or rent our house.

N/a

38.

 

 

Ongoing.

Next door.

None as yet.

None as yet.

N/a.

Not as yet

N/a

39.

 

 

Completed.

Next door.

No.

Endless noise, dust, vibration from 8 am. Frequent builders litter on access passage. Loud music.

N/a

No

No.

40.

 

 

Subterranean not yet started [nb contradicts above]. Next door.

Not yet, but expected.

Noise, dust, difficulty with access, boxes of correspondence.

 

£10,000 to date

 

43.

 

 

Completed.

Next door.

None

Appalling noise and vibration; fortunately a small development; otherwise would have been driven mad. But hoped that their own damp problems might be solved by next door’s damp-proofing.

 

 

 

47.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ongoing.

Next door.

Some cracks inside house, registered for future rectification. Fear more.

During several months unable to use side passage for access to back door – told  had no recourse under PWA. Entire garden blanketed by dust and impossible to maintain. At times impossible to park.

Any remedial action has been aesthetic.

Garden figures in ‘Gardens on show’ and will take a year to recover – 3 years income to charity lost. Family remained longer [than what] in rental accommodation at £17,250 a quarter.

N/a, but fearful.

48.

 

Mainly completed.

Next door.

Respondent was tenant of basement flat. First cracks appeared – landlord not concerned. Then flat flooded, so moved to top flat.

Noise levels/vibrations  of drilling/digging deafening. In addition, lorry concrete mixer operating from 7.45 am to 6.30 pm daily inc. Sat mornings (work permitted 8 am-6pm). Crowds of builders sitting on our garden wall, swearing, smoking. Because of congestion charge, skips changed (noisily) at 7 am. Double-parked lorries blocked road.  Front garden ruined by dust and debris. Infestation of rodents. Very traumatic, especially as respondent was ill.

 

Landlord and his insurers paid for damages.

 

 

50.

 

 

Ongoing.

Next door.

Tremendous damage to walls, ceilings, floors, roof – cracking, movement, caving in.

An understatement to say exposed to excessive noise, dust etc. 20 people on site, out of control of head of site to make them behave in civilised way. Complaints stop the behaviour, but happens again next day.

PWA ineffectual in recovering cost of damage as claimed that the work that caused the damage is more than 3m from the wall.

Expect to be more than £100,000 out of pocket, as neighbour taking very aggressive position.

N/a

51.

 

 

Not yet or only just started. Opposite.

No.

No worse than most developments. Builders’ truck parked permanently outside with residents parking.

N/a.

Unlikely.

N/a.

52.

 

Ongoing.

Next door.

Cracks and damp penetration in party wall.

Excessive noise, dust etc plus cost of heating party wall open to elements.

Good relationship with site manager.

 

Contractors have inspected and noted damage. Respondent prepared to wait until work finished for remedial action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doubt that extra heating costs reclaimable.

N/a

53.

 

 

Completed. Next door.

No.

Builders were behind schedule and started working all weekend and until 7.30-8 pm. Respondent promised ‘sweeteners’ but never materialised. Given black looks and intimidating exchanges when reported contractors to Council.

 

Noise was appalling.  Could only work at night. Kanga drills, cement saws going all the time. Most incredible noise you can imagine. Respondent started to feel ill and sleep affected. Total arrogance and disregard for other people’s lives.  Could not live through this ever again.

No claims made. Surveyor under PWA was meant to hold money on our behalf against damage; he did not point this out to me.

Respondent works from home transcribing audio tapes. Could only work at night, so got very stressed.

No.

55.

 

 

Completed.

Next door.

Not aware of any.

Very little disruption, but our driveway blocked a few times.

N/a.

N/a

No.

56.

 

Ongoing.

Opposite.

No.

Occasional disturbance by contractors shouting and radios. Not strictly worse than normal building works.

N/a

N/a

N/a

57.

 

 

Ongoing.

Next door.

Catastrophic damage to our foundations and fabric of building, requiring a year’s worth of work to stabilize our house and brace it internally and externally.

Excessive noise , dust etc and more to come. Contractors were friendly, but ruined our day-to-day life.

Lots required.

Almost certainly will be, not to mention amenity, opportunity and investment value.

N/a

59.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Completed.

Opposite.

None

Not a nuisance; owners very nice; only issue was with plans.

N/a

N/a

N/a

60.

 

Completed.

Next door.

Extensive cracking. Structural engineer now considering whether there is serious structural damage. Had to remove and reset front door 5 times during the work because house shifting. 2 toilets attached to party wall began leaking, although not easy to prove it was the works.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noise of drilling, stone dust totally unprotected. MDF (medium density fibreboard which contains formaldehyde) dust when we had new born baby. Neighbours totally uncooperative. Rat and mosquito infested site when left unattended because neighbours quarrelled with their builders. Alarm kept going off because of vibration and several £200 call-out charges.

No remedial action taken yet.

Not sure yet

Cracking continued to get worse after completion of main work for about a year. Party wall surveyors still talking.

61.

 

Completed (April 2009)

Next door.

Party wall was not properly supported during excavation. Extensive structural damage to rooms on all four floors (12 cm  in rear corner). Extensive lesser cracks elsewhere. Neighbouring building is 13 sheltered flats and major structural repairs needed to 3 flats and offices and redecoration to further 6 flats. The owners were badly let down by their contractors and supporting professionals.

Suffered excessive noise, dust, vibration and parking problems. However, good relationship with contractor who did best to mitigate the problem. But sense of helplessness.

Substantial claim made and now waiting for a date for remedial action to begin. 3 elderly residents will have to vacate their flats for 12-15 weeks while work is done.

Hidden costs (time spent dealing with problems) unlikely to be met in full.

Only recently completed and cracks still being monitored. Subsequent concerns about the safety of an external staircase.

62.

 

 

Ongoing.

Next door.

Part of garden collapsed into excavation. Internal cracks; some damp. New wall built too far into his land.

 

 

 

 

 

Noise, vibration etc a real problem.

Compensation paid for loss of use of garden.

Probably not.

Not yet completed.

63.

 

 

Completed (almost).

Next door.

Cracks to ceilings and window-sills; front door sticking; cracks to concrete paths in garden.

Major problem. Noise from drilling reached 105 decibels inside house for over 10 months and compressor outside 76 decibels inside over 18 months with no lunch break. Respondent lost hearing and elderly mother had palpitations and died – although difficult to prove it was as a result of the works. Dust and dirt, builders uncooperative and refused to clean up. Garden unusable for 3 years. Stone cut on site; curon (carcinogenic fumes) used on balcony.

None yet.

Yes, difficult to tell by how much.

Worsening cracks and new damp patches in basement.

64.

 

 

Completed.

Next door.

Fairly significant movement at all levels, cracks etc; front door had to be rest several times. Movement to stone patio.

Lots of noise and dust. Builders never cleaned respondent’s property. Access frequently blocked. Builders used to carry material across respondent’s garden without permission.

Claims pending. PWA has worked moderately well so far.

Yes, £5-10,000 because PWA surveyor refuses to meet damage to front vault (dispute because builders painted over and damage no longer apparent)

Not yet.

 

 

TABLE III – WHAT DEALINGS RESPONDENTS HAD WITH THE COUNCIL AFTER CONSTRUCTION HAD BEGUN; AND WHAT SUGGESTIONS RESPONDENTS HAD FOR IMPROVEMENTS IN CURRENT ARRANGEMENTS

 

No.

Status March 2009

Dealings with Council after construction had begun

Proposals by respondent for improvements in current system

1

Completed

Talked to them for information.

  • Prohibit double basements.
  • Better consultation by architect

2

Partial development only; completed

No contact (although another flat owner did)

None

3.

Completed

No contact.

None

4.

Did not proceed

 

None

5.

Ongoing.

None

None

6.

Ongoing/susp- ended

None.

  • A hotline wd. be a ‘retail’ solution, and useful to vent frustration. But suggest avoid as open avenue for barrage.
  • Online process for recording and responding to complaints.

 

 

7.

Ongoing.

Several contacts, including in writing. Told that it was a ‘neighbour-to-neighbour’ matter after planning stage, and there are no protections that can be used during construction.

  • Hotline.
  • Enforced guidelines for working hours, inc. deliveries.
  • Change to planning laws.

 

8.

Ongoing.

No contact.

Stricter timetable.

 

 

9.

Ongoing.

No contact. Considered contact but did not wish to escalate the situation.

  • Consultation at all stages.
  • Regulate flows of work. Enforced quiet period, eg at lunchtime.
  • Condition of permission should be adequate cleaning of street and neighbours’ frontage daily.
  • Clarify whether permission for a skip allows entire house frontage to be taken up by 2 skips and other equipment.
  • Owners behaved very badly despite respondent bending over backwards. Only way of making such people more considerate is system of fines for non-compliance.
  • Where scaffolding overhangs the street, there should be adequate warning and extra permissions.
  • Hotline.
  • Fines for non-compliance.

 

10.

Completed.

Correspondence re planning permission breaches.

Council officers could be more categorical in their advice to applicants, and tell them more forcefully what is/isn’t acceptable.

 

 

 

 

 

11.

Completed

Regular contact [not clear how much about application or subsequent breaches of planning permission]. Found whole process discouraging. Letters were sometimes misread (or not read?) and phone calls were not responded to.

  • Architectural drawing should be much more clear and precise.
  • Parties involved should be brought together at beginning of process so that both plans and concerns may be fully aired.
  • The council should be required to be more vigilant and carry out more inspections on site, not leave it to neighbours to draw their attention to infringements of the plans/unauthorised work; when this is left to the neighbours, it only increases bad feelings between the parties.
  • Architects/builders should provide the neighbouring properties with regular updates on the work as it progresses and/or any changes to the plans of any significance.

12

Ongoing

No contact.

Common courtesy is all that is required [this is a case where the neighbours doing the work only came to see the respondent once, to collect a package]

14.

Completed

No contact.

  • A prior contact with the neighbours and the architect would be helpful.
  • If there is going to be a period of extreme noise, neighbours should be consulted.

 

 

15

Completed

Two complaints to RBKC, but to little effect.

  • RBKC should insist on conditions re excavations and then ensure they are enforced.
  • Not necessary to have outright ban on properly engineered work, not withstanding the “hubristic selfishness” of many of the projects.
  • Some sort of levy towards street improvement as a condition of work permit, as a partial offset to the disruption  etc (e.g. 10% of additional square footage).

17.

 

Pointed out to Council that planning conditions were not being adhered to, but they paid no notice and obviously couldn’t care less.

 

18.

Completed (but still snagging work)

Contact with tree officer. ??? illeg

  • Restriction on noisy periods, especially when clearing a site and piling.
  • Hot line would be very good.
  • More attention to the water table.

19.

Completed?

Contact with environmental health and parking supervision. Often slow and ineffective response.

 

RBKC appear supine and bound by precedents created by other developments.

Numerous rumours that officers can be ‘persuaded’ to consent by architects, etc with close connections to the planning department.

  • Most problems during construction can be settled with a cooperative owner, consultant team and builder.
  • Proper consideration to the cumulative hydrological effect  of basement developments.

20.

 

Completed

Yes, about breaching working hours eg Sat afternoon. Response fine.

Ban excavation developments.

21.

 

Completed

No contact.

Risks of structural damage should be avoided, but otherwise there has to be an element of live-and-let live. If one lives in an old Victorian terraced house, noise and a once in 30 years gut and makeover are occupational hazards.

22.

 

Completed

Complaint about radios. Council response satisfactory.

Hot line for complaints.

23.

 

Completed

No contact.

 

24

 

Not yet started

N/a

  • Adopt risk assessment approach to planning decision – eg detached house is lower risk than semi-detached and that is lower risk than terraced.
  • Most important problem is that Council and planning Committee are not accountable for the results of their decisions.
  • Subterranean developments should be subject to the higher bar applicable to commercial developments in terms of Construction Method Statements.

25

 

Completed

No contact

  -

26.

Completed

???? illeg

??? illeg

27.

Ongoing

Very poor response from RBKC highways division. Took weeks for them to visit a situation they admitted had serious health and safety risks.

  • There should be a regulation stipulating use of qualified professionals.
  • Council should employ a specialist to oversee such works, to be paid for by a one-off levy for the construction of a basement.

28.

Not yet started.

Frequent emailing to RBKC – impression officers not interested.

  • Retain a chartered structural engineer.
  • Conditions of planning permission to include ‘Considerate Contractors Scheme’.
  • Specify hours during which contractors may work.
  •  

29.

 

Completed.

Never found them helpful.

Refuse permission for digging out basements is only solution.

30.

 

Completed

When complaint made that contractors were  going down another 15m beyond what was agreed in planning permission, Council ignored it and said was PWA matter. Building control refused to come and said everything was under control; by the time they came, hole was well excavated and dangerous to respondent’s house.

  • Refuse permission for digging out basements in central London.
  • Stricter building control.

32.

Ongoing (subterranean part completed).

Contact with parking dept. on illegal double parking. Treated rudely and nothing done, so did not bother again.

  • Council, should not allow several major subterranean projects in small area at same time.
  • Make getting planning permission for these projects more difficult.
  • More control by Council over builders’ dirt and noise.

33.

Almost complete

No contact.

  -

34.

 

Completed.

No contact.

Refuse planning permission for basement development in such terraced houses.

 

36.

Ongoing.

Complained about early arrival of trucks and early hours, and this was dealt with fairly promptly by the Council.

 

37.

Ongoing

Contacted the Council to find out why work stopped. Helpful.

  • Hot line might be helpful.
  • Limit this sort of work.

38.

Ongoing

No contact.

Consultation with neighbours, especially over noise.

39.

 

Completed.

No contact.

  • Strict guidelines for noise and mess should be imposed and frequently monitored.
  • Significant increase in daily noise/dust levels should be compensated financially.
  • Council should have due regard to over-development in congested areas.

40.

Not yet started

Contact with planning Dept. Ineffectual but polite.

 

43.

Completed

No contact

  • Neighbours should always be consulted as a matter of courtesy.
  • Noisy periods should be restricted.
  • Telephone number for complaints.

46.

Ongoing

No contact.

 

 

47.

 

Ongoing.

 

  • No renovation within 10 years of previous renovation.

 

 

 

48.

Mainly completed.

Contacted council a couple of times when noise continued into evening, but got nowhere.

  • Heavy drilling noise should be restricted to fewer hours per day.
  • Subterranean development should be limited to a certain depth.
  • Those affected should be able to contact somebody in charge of rights and neighbours.
  • Council should pay regular visits to sites unannounced to check on them.

50.

Ongoing.

Contacted council and all the people they told respondent to contact. It seems that no-one is responsible for anything that comes up.

 

52

Ongoing

No contact.

 -

53.

Completed

Council sorted out noise problem. They were great.

 

  • Hot line for complaints.
  • Shorter days and no weekend working.
  • Developers should pay a levy to the council for a daily environmental health visit and to check with neighbours.

55.

Completed.

No contact.

  • Better consultation before construction.
  • Builders and council should take more care of vermin once construction starts.

56.

 

Ongoing

No contact.

  • Restrictions of noisy work (inc. lorry movements and spoil removal) to periods agreed with neighbours.
  • More efficient enforcement by council.
  • Hot line.
  •  

57.

Ongoing.

Contact, but no support whatsoever.

  • Face-to-face meeting with a responsible Council planning person present, along with a structural engineer for major developments.
  • Full disclosure of extent of plans before approval given.
  • Review party wall law, which assumes good neighbours and doesn’t allow for people being selfish or only interested in own gain.

59.

 

 

No contact.

  • Earlier consultation.

60

 

Completed

 Yes – health and safety; they were quite good, but said their powers were restricted because it was not a commercial development. But shd. never have reached that stage.

  • Restrict number of sites in one road;
  • Force owners to talk to neighbours
  • Inspect sites very regularly;
  • Draw up a clear set of laws by which developers/owners shd. abide.
  • No digging below the footings of other houses.

61.

 

Completed.

No contact.

  • Better consultation might make neighbours feel better about things, but problems will continue while such developments are allowed.

62.

 

Ongoing

No contact

  • Statutory compensation for neighbours for stress and inconvenience (perhaps modest);
  • System of penalties for breaching noise criteria, plus permanent monitoring.
  •  

63.

 

Completed (almost)

Yes, very unsatisfactory response. Frequently told to leave number and call would be returned in  a couple of days, even when problem urgent. When finally got to talk to somebody, they often did not understand the problem.

  • Integrate the Council depts dealing with the various matters so they work together.
  • Insist on full environmental impact assessment.
  • Ban partial underpinning on London clay.

64.

 

Completed

Yes, satisfactory.

  • Compensation for inconvenience as these works almost invariably cause damage that has to be fixed later.

 

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