How to keep your neighbours happy when building a home extension.

Published on 30th April 2014

It is often said these days that there is no such thing as community spirit. For many of us, our only interaction with our neighbours is a quick hello in passing; many more don’t even know what their neighbours look like, let alone their names. But even if you are on friendly terms, willing to provide the proverbial cup of sugar, you can bet your bottom that if a home extension is on the cards, your relationship will change.

Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do to stop the neighbours getting jealous of your new Apropos Extension.

The smallest addition to your home can have a big impact on your neighbours, whether by obstructing their view in the long term, or causing disruption for a temporary period, so if you want to prevent your back fence from turning into the Gaza Strip, we have a few suggestions that can aid an amicable atmosphere.

  • Communicate – As with all relationships, communication is key. If your neighbours know what you are doing and when they can plan accordingly. Invite them around for drinks; this is a great opportunity not only to explain your project, but to share your enthusiasm, and may be even make new friends.
  • Plan properly – If you are able to work to a schedule you will reduce disruption to your own life as well as your neighbours. A well-planned home renovation will also usually cost a lot less than one played by ear. If in doubt, contact a professional company, such as Apropos, for advice.
  • Plan with permission – Not all home extensions will need planning permission, but it’s always best to check. If you’re slow attaining permits, your neighbours may [rightly] think that you have something to hide. By keeping your plans open and above board, you are giving yourself a clear advantage, and your neighbours will appreciate you giving them the chance to formally object, even if they have no wish to do so.
  • Be considerate – If your home has on-street parking, use your favourite parking space to place the waste skip, not that of your neighbours. If you have particularly noisy or intrusive jobs planned, try to coordinate so they’re not on your neighbour’s precious day off, the week they’re working nights, or scheduled to start before 8am. Reasonable, considerate behaviour will get you a very long way.
  • Assess access – Getting building materials and work people to where they need to be may involve utilising shared access, or even somebody else’s property. Organise this well in advance of the start date. If you can start on a friendly footing, you’re more likely to stay that way.
  • Keep it clean – There is no way to avoid the spread of dust and dirt on a building site, and although good construction companies – like Apropos – will keep mess to a minimum, there will always be a spill over. Most people will understand, but if your construction is particularly intrusive, it can be worth smoothing the way by offering to cover clean up costs (to a reasonable value), particularly if your neighbours are elderly or infirm. A bunch of flowers and an apology can also work wonders!

Remember that while you may be building for a short time, you’ll have your neighbours for a darn sight longer, so communication and consideration can spare many headaches. After all, the UN Peace Keepers have enough on their plates with Syria, Egypt, Russia and Ukraine, without adding you to the list!

For a consultation with one of Apropos’ Design Experts please call: 0800 328 0033 or click here to order a copy of our latest brochure.

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