If you are interested in extending your property, you will need to consider the legal requirements to do so. The type of property, your surroundings and where you live can all affect whether or not you can extend your property and if you can, how far out you can build. To help you understand your position, we have decided to take a look at how close to the boundary of your property you can build an extension.

What Is A Boundary?

There are two types of boundary in English and Welsh property law; legal boundary and physical boundary. The legal boundary is a line on the plan or description of the area in which divides your property from another. The physical boundary is any object or barrier that separates your property from another, such as a fence, wall or hedge.

What to Consider Before Building an Extension

Although you may desire more space and want to build an extension on your property to achieve this, there are some factors you need to consider before taking the plunge to start construction.

Site Access

When any construction work takes place, it is likely that lorries and machinery will need to gain access to the site. You will need to consider how they will get to your property, where they can park and also, where they can store their tools.

Terraced houses

Shared Walls

The work carried out to build an extension will need to comply with the Party Wall Act if:
• The work involves excavation within 3m of a party wall/party fence to a level below its foundations
• The work consists of digging foundations within 6m party structure to a level below a 45° line from the base of its foundations

If your property is a terrace or semi, then you are likely going to need to comply with the Party Wall Act. The Act is in place to ensure that any work undertaken by one neighbour doesn’t undermine the structural integrity of any shared walls or neighbouring properties. Furthermore, the Party Wall Act can help avoid any potential disputes with neighbours and should any arise; then the Act should help efficiently resolve them. A full guide to the Act is available on our website.

The Demand on Your Services

Although your electrics, heating and plumbing services have been able to cope with supplying the current property, it may not be sufficient once an extension is in place. You will want to give you current services a health check to see if they will be able to cope with the extra demand.

Semi-detached houses

Other Factors

They may be somewhat smaller factors, but they are still just as important. You will want to know the ground conditions of the area you plan to extend onto to ensure the foundations are suitably designed, and you also want to consider if there are any trees that may cause an issue or obstruction. Furthermore, you want to check back over the years to see if the area has any history of flooding as this could cause problems.

How Close to Your Boundary Can You Extend Your Property

It can be challenging to understand the rules and regulations when it comes to boundaries with extensions. If you are planning to build any extension that is more than one story, you are restricted to no more than 3m beyond your rear boundary. Please note, this only applies when there is no building on the land to the back of your property.

We hope you now have a better understanding of how close you can build to your boundary. For more information on extending your property, take a look at our previous blog that looks at how far you can build without permission. Here at Martin Perry Associates, we offer structural design for a range of property work such as loft conversions and extensions. If you are looking for a structural engineer in Plymouth, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01579 345777 or email us at mail@mperryassociates.com.