We live in a 200 year old cottage, which has been converted into 3 properties, of which we are the middle one. Last year we received planning notice from our neighbours that they would be removing a small section of their side wall in order to improve the layout of their kitchen extension. Obviously we were a bit concerned because of the age of our property, but didn't think it could really cause much of a problem, and when their builders turned up they seemed highly knowledgable and reliable etc, so we let it go. The work got off to a bad start as the builders managed to nearly pull off our kitchen roof, thinking it was part of next doors! (They still haven't done anything about the big crack this caused). However, my major concern is this - following the demolition of the existing extension, suddenly one day a load of machinery began to arrive, and our neighbour called round with a sheepish grin, explaining that the ground was rather more soggy than anticipated and there might be some noise for a few days. Next thing we knew, they began to hammer 15 foot piles into the ground, literally shaking the fillings in my teeth! Then they filled it with solid concrete, causing the water table on the 'rather soggy' ground to find a new route - presumably under our house. Since the work (which is still not finished, 6 months later) numerous cracks have appeared in our house, and my previously flat oak floor has developed a serious warp. Apart from the fact that they have also moved some drainage so that it now blocks our gutter, have chipped away a wall which previously held up our back gate, and generally made a horrendous noise and mess for 6 months, my main question is - were they legally allowed to bring in pile-drivers without any prior warning to us, to allow us to have 'before and after' surveys, and are we now too late to do anything about this??
Thank you very much for your help,
I suggest you make a claim on your building insurance for subsidance if you feel that there is structural movement. Your insurance company may well then persue any claim you/they may have against the piling company.
Legally i do not believe you could have stopped them, as the only legal recourse would be under the nusance laws or via Control of Pollution Act 1974 which covers noise and vibration.
It is normally good practices for piling companies to carryout a risk assessment , with one of the items being assessed being damage to adjacent properties before the works commence.
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