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Disruptive building work during the pandemic


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I sympathise with you but I fear these is not much that can be done and the level of disruption will really depend on the quality of the builders your neighbour has employed.

Our neighbours have been undertaking significant works since May, converting the house into flats. The disruption was/is so bad I convinced my employer to allow me back in the office and I have been working here since early August. My daughter is still working from home and although most of the external works are completed they can still be extremely disruptive and rude. The builders have no respect for the fact that many people in the surrounding properties are WfH.

I would advise that you have contact details for (a) your neighbour (we didn't as the building owners didn't live there), (b) the building company and © the council's environmental health dept.

If your neighbour is not present when the works start then I would recommend setting the ground rules early in terms of noise and working hours.

I have heard of the council acting as an arbitration service to ensure that the builders only work the hours they are supposed to - especially at weekends and adhere to the rules regarding noise - 2 hours on, 2 off.

HTH

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I can only sympathise. We have nice neighbours who had to do some urgent but disruptive building work (luckily only over a few weeks) and I ended up having to get special permission to come into the office in the same way as ed_pete as there was no way I could work with all the noise. Appreciate that isn't an option for you.


Definitely agree with his advice and would add 1) up front agreement with the home owners and builders about radios and music not being played at top volume and 2) advance notice of any particularly noisy works so that you can try and plan around them.

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I empathise completely. Our neighbours have been having a side return extension built since about June. It was horrific during the hot summer days. I couldn't open windows or sit outside due to house and dust. It's still not done but at least the work is now inside.
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I really sympathise, and definitely get written into the party wall agreement conditions about radio and other unnecessary noise, and also working hours.


When my neighbours on one side had their loft extension done, this happened and all was fine (apart from the expected noise of the actual building work), however when the neighbours on the other side had theirs done, the party wall surveyor forgot to do this, though I had specifically asked him to.


As a result I had issues with a roofer (in particular) playing a radio which I could hear loudly at the other end of my house with all the windows closed. Being retired, I was in for much of the day (it was pre Covid). It was the same loft company as the other side used! It was sorted in the end, but not before the roofer in question was incredibly rude to me.


Also, I wonder if you have thought about finding somewhere else to work, assuming we are not in lockdown in February? Not ideal obviously, but I think that new place on Lordship Lane has spaces to work, or else the library or a cafe?


Good luck. I really feel for you.


Just seen this:


https://www.eastdulwichforum.co.uk/forum/read.php?9,2168087

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Our neighbors were planning a loft extension, they came in and had a chat about it and said that the council will be writing to us (they did) We then had correspondence re party wall and forms to complete. Neighbours stated that any time we were concerned, we were to talk with them. Lockdown happened and they did not go ahead with their plans and are now deciding to move out of London to get a bigger property.
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I?m afraid that living in London, endless house renovations are inevitable. I don?t think It is reasonable to expect this to cease during lockdown - a lot of the people undertaking the build need their jobs.


As long as they work within the designated hours Then they are within their rights. If you have a good relationship with your neighbours you could perhaps come to an agreement if it is particularly loud and you are on a zoom for example. We had our neighbours undertake a whole house refurb but they had very good, considerate builders say it was actually fine! It may well be no where as bad as you fear - best of luck

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redpost Wrote:

-------------------------------------------------------

> Noise is permitted between 0800-1800 weekdays and

> 0900-1300 saturdays. If they make noise outside of

> these hours then get onto the council sharpish,

> it's illegal.


https://www.southwark.gov.uk/environment/environmental-protection/construction


Actually in Southwark it's 2pm Saturday and "Excessively noisy works to take place on a 2 hours on/off basis"

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redpost Wrote:

-------------------------------------------------------

> Noise is permitted between 0800-1800 weekdays and

> 0900-1300 saturdays. If they make noise outside of

> these hours then get onto the council sharpish,

> it's illegal.


My undrstanding is that is hours when aactually workin on the building, doesn't stop them making a row unloading anjd shouting at each other.

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I do sympathise. My next door neighbours are gut renovating their house and three of us have been working from home throughout. However...


- we did the same thing to our neighbours 5 years ago


- there have always been people working or living from home during the day who had to live with noise from builders. There are probably more of than now - but we can't tell the building trade to stop indefinitely


- building work is sometimes noisy.


- if we want to live in houses, everyone's house is every so often going to have to get done up. At some point your place was built or redecorated and your neighbours had to put up with it.

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Brother in Law works for one of the national builders and tells me that government have relaxed this so they can work much longer hours. Hopefully doesn't apply to small builders, or otherwise that they aren't aware or aren't prepared to do this.


Not sure if it is me but there seems to be far more building work in the last few months, I'm sure this and all you with petrol power tools (garden and DIY) have lead to losing my garden birds.


For some reason builders often arrive early and then have a loud conversation outside for the first hour before they start at 8. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-construction-update-qa


redpost Wrote:

-------------------------------------------------------

> Noise is permitted between 0800-1800 weekdays and

> 0900-1300 saturdays. If they make noise outside of

> these hours then get onto the council sharpish,

> it's illegal.

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Southwark Council didn?t alert us or put up a planning application notice on site when a developer put in an application for a rather ambitious build complete with basement back in April. They blamed Covid. We kicked up a right old fuss when we found out. I think it?s probably too late to get things stopped in your case but I?d still register my displeasure with the Council and your councillor if I were you.


Good luck.

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I feel you. This is happening to us right now... our neighbours just started construction work which is meant to be going on for another 4 months. Causing us a lot of anxiety, and it's impossible to work from home.. The annoying thing is that they're not doing anything illegal, so we can't do much really...
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I'm sure I posted on this thread yesterday, along the same lines as Dogkennelhillbilly and tiddles (eg. sympathy but not realistic to expect building works to stop because of Covid and working from home). But my post seems to have been deleted.
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We had this going on during spring/early summer with two parents trying to work from home + two kids trying to work from home. The house behind us decided to build a gargantuan home office at the bottom of their garden. It was a total nightmare with saws and drills and hammers going on all day every day. I sympathise.

My only suggestion is to go over and politely explain your situation. At least it's winter and the windows will be closed.

Good luck

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I don't think that you can stop extensions being built once planning permission is being granted. We were obliged to sign Party Wall consent for our new neighbours, overwise it would have been a case of having a nasty confrontation with them when they'd just moved in. We then had to put up with three months of drilling, banging, etc with a piece of our wall falling down from the vibrations. That's the name of the game in ED. As for people in houses at the back, we now have what looks like a three story block of flats facing us with the addition of ugly grey miss-matched portacabins where the sky line was and the council doesn't consider that we should be consented on that aspect at all.

Maybe get some ear plugs?


Cheers, stay safe - get ready for your jab!

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