What does the Act say if I want to excavate near neighbouring buildings?
If you plan to: excavate, or excavate for and construct foundations for a new building or structure, within 3 metres of any part of a neighbouring owner's building or structure, where any part of that work will go deeper than the neighbour's foundations;
excavate, or excavate for and construct foundations for a new building or structure, within 6 metres of any part of a neighbouring owner's building or structure, where any part of that work will meet a line drawn downwards at 45° in the direction of the excavation from the bottom of the neighbour's foundations.
You (or the Surveyor on your behalf) must inform the Adjoining Owner(S) by serving a notice.
Note that, for the purposes of section 6 of the Act, "Adjoining Owners" may include any owners of buildings or structures within the distances mentioned above even if another owner’s land or building separates it from your proposed work.
The notice must state whether you propose to strengthen or safeguard the foundations of the building or structure belonging to the Adjoining Owner. Plans and sections showing the location and depth of the proposed excavation or foundation and the location of any proposed building or structure must also accompany the notice.
The Act contains no enforcement procedures for failure to serve a notice. However, if you start work without having first given notice in the proper way, Adjoining Owners may seek to stop your work through a court injunction or seek other legal redress.
How long in advance do I have to serve the notice?
At least one month before the planned starting date for the excavation. The notice is only valid for a year, so do not serve it too long before you wish to start.
What happens after I serve notice?
If the Adjoining Owner gives written notice within 14 days consenting to the proposed works, the work (as agreed) may go ahead. If the Adjoining Owner does not respond, or objects to the proposed work, a dispute is regarded as having arisen - see paragraphs 12 to 19.
The Adjoining Owner may require you to underpin, strengthen or safeguard the foundations of his building or structure so far as may be necessary because of the work.
After the work has been completed, the Adjoining Owner may request particulars of the work, including plans and sections.