The Times: How to keep neighbours happy

The Times recently asked Melanie Clear, founder and director of Clear Architects, for her top tips on how to maintain a positive relationship with neighbours during construction work. Melanie’s advice appeared in the article, ‘How to keep the neighbours happy during building work’.

The report, here (please note full article is behind paywall), takes a closer look at various famous Party Wall feuds holding up home extensions and alterations. It also provides a selection of top tips on how to avoid any issues with neighbours during your project.

According to Melanie, parking problems and mess in the street are one aspect of construction work that tends to upset neighbours the most. Therefore, it pays dividends to try and avoid these situations by maintaining open lines of communication with those who live nearby.

Melanie also suggests that if you’re applying for planning permission for a scheme, this can be a strong incentive to uphold a civil relationship with other people living on your street. If communication remains polite and amicable, neighbours will be much less likely to object to your proposal.

If you’re planning your own home improvement project, whether that’s a loft conversion, extension or basement, the simplest way to keep your neighbours on side is to involve them from the beginning of the process. Melanie says:

“Visit them personally and explain your plans and what measures you are taking to ensure there is minimal impact on them, as well as explaining the designs themselves. Nobody likes surprises so manage expectations carefully.”

“Whilst renovations are taking place, ensure that everyone on site is courteous to your neighbours. Keep them up to date with any changes to your plans, especially if these are doing to mean extensions to the timescale.”

Clear Architects have developed the design for numerous successful home renovation and extension projects, including Stansted Road. Situated in the Wanstead Conservation Area, this Victorian property was rejuvenated via the addition of an extension, plus a reconfiguration of the internal floorplan.