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Access Licence

An Access Licence is required when one owner requires access onto another owner’s land, air space or property.

Commonly, the owner who requires the access will need it to undertake some form of construction works to their property whether that be maintenance of an existing structure, modifying an element of their structure, or for property developments.

The Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 and the Party Wall etc Act 1996 both govern access onto a neighbouring owner’s land, however if the proposed works fall outside of the realm of these respective Acts, then the person undertaking the works will need to get the express agreement from the neighbouring owner for their proposed access.

This agreement comes in the form of an Access Licence which legally grants the owner undertaking the work, access onto the neighbouring owner’s land for a specified period of time subject to a number of considered conditions.

What is Access Licence Agreement Process?

1

Access Request

The owner undertaking the construction works will get in touch with the neighbouring owner to request access onto their land. This is usually via a neighbourly discussion, written letter or email.

2

Neighbour Response

The neighbouring owner will respond to the owner undertaking the construction works and will confirm if they are agreeable to granting access. If they are, they will confirm the access is subject to agreement within an Access Licence.

3

Surveyor Involvement & Review

A Surveyor now assists in the neighbouring owner’s request for an Access Licence, the Surveyor will review the construction plans, construction method statements, Health and Safety proposals and will importantly review the proposed works from the perspective of the neighbouring owner’s property.

4

Pre Construction Work Inspection

As part of the Access Licence process the Surveyor will undertake a pre construction work inspection, this will enable the Surveyor to fully accommodate himself with the properties and will also give him the opportunity to undertake a Schedule of Condition Report.

5

Access Licence drafting and Service

Once all information has been made available to the Surveyor and he determines it to be sufficient, he will then draft and serve the Access Licence ensuring it takes the proposed risks to the neighbouring owner’s property into account. The Access Licence is then served on both respective owners.

6

Construction Works Commence

The construction works will then commence on site, the owner undertaking the works will likely need to send the Surveyor weekly photographs, updates or reports thereby ensuring the Surveyor is fully informed as to the works taking place on site.

7

Surveyor Interim Visits

During the course of the construction works, the Surveyor will likely undertake interim visits. These ensure that the Access Licence conditions are adhered to and ensures the risk of issue or damage to the neighbour’s property are as low as they can be.

8

Surveyor Final visit

Once the construction works are complete the Surveyor will revisit the neighbour’s property and will check off the Schedule of Condition Report to ensure that damage has not been caused. In the event that it has, the Surveyor will then assist with that and ensure the contractor makes good, or the neighbour is provided a payment in lieu to enable them to instruct their own contractor to undertake the necessary making good.

9

Sign off the Access Licence

Once the check off inspection has been undertaken and any damage issues have been dealt with, the Surveyor will then sign off the Access Licence. This concludes the matter.

What type of Conditions are within an Access Licence?

The type of conditions that are included within an Access Licence are dependent on a number of factors including:

  • The type of construction work being undertaken
  • The duration of the construction works
  • The risks associated with the construction works
  • The property types (house or flat)
  • Owner requests

However generally speaking, you can expect to find conditions such as these within an Access Licence:

 

Cantilevered Scaffolding

Cantilevered Scaffolding is achieved when a scaffolding platform projects over the neighbour’s roof, land, airspace or garden. The aim of the structure is to ensure that the contractors are able to complete their proposed construction works with minimal risk and inconvenience to the neighbour while ensuring that they never set foot onto the property, thereby reducing the risk of damage.

Scaffolding Protection

Where scaffolding projects over any part of the neighbour’s property, the boards (floor to the scaffolding) will need to be doubled up with a sheet of heavy duty polythene layered between them. This ensures that dust, materials, debris and tools do not fall onto the surface beneath causing damage to the neighbour's property.

Sheeted/Encapsulated Scaffolding

Where scaffolding borders or projects onto any part of the neighbour’s property, it will need to be fully wrapped in heavy duty sheeting. This ensures that dust, debris, tools and materials do not enter the neighbour’s property and reduces the risk of nuisance and damage.

Scaffolding Movement Alarm

Where scaffolding borders or projects onto any part of the neighbour’s property, it will need to be fully alarmed to ensure that intruders aren’t able to access the neighbour’s land or property. The alarm will need to be clearly signposted on every facia of the scaffolding and will need to have a suitable response solution in place in the event of trigger.

Advising Engineer
Schedule of Condition Report

A Schedule of Condition Report involves one of our experienced and qualified Surveyors visiting the neighbour’s property prior to the construction work commencing. The Report not only adds clarity to a potential damage claim, it also avoids a potential dispute between owners.

Party Wall Surveyor
Interim Surveyor Site Visits

These ensure that the Access Licence conditions are adhered to and the risk of issue or damage to the neighbour’s property are as low as they can be. Depending on the extent of the work and duration of the access, these are likely to be weekly, monthly or at key work intervals.

Party Wall Costs
Access Rent or Premium Payment

If requested by the neighbour, the Access Licence will ensure that there is a weekly rent payable to them by the owner undertaking the construction works which covers the access into their property. Rental figures can be at any level and are dependent upon the extent of the works, location of the access and the duration it is required for.

Security for Expenses
Security for Expenses

A sum of money known as the ‘security’, will be held on account in the event that the owner undertaking the works and for whatever reason abandons it, doesn’t finish it, or stops it for a prolonged period of time. The security is then used to by the neighbour to remove the scaffolding from their property. The security will also deal with the potential of damage and professional fees should they arise.

Party Wall Award
Contractor Insurance Policy

The Surveyor will check the contractor’s insurance policy to ensure they are adequately insured and for an amount that is sufficient for the construction works taking place. This means that in the event of issue this policy can be called upon to safeguard and protect the neighbour's property.

Work Hoarding and Screening

Where access is required onto the ground of the neighbour’s property, that area of access will be fully hoarded/screened off with tall timber sheeting. This ensures that the inconvenience to the neighbour’s property is kept to a minimum and also ensures the spread of dirt and dust into their property is as low as it can be.

Party Surveyor
Advising Engineer Input

The advising engineer’s role will be to review the structural design, calculations and specifications from the perspective of the neighbour’s property and assess the structural risk that the works carry. The advising engineer will then advise the Surveyor of his findings so that they can be considered within the Access Licence.

Party Wall Notice Response
Work Durations & Timings

The Access Licence will confirm the duration of the access onto the neighbour’s property, it will also confirm the working hours and days that the contractor will be allowed onto the neighbour’s property. This will reduce the nuisance caused by the construction work, while also ensuring the works can take place at a good working pace.

Work Cleaning Schedule

The Access Licence will set out and confirm the cleaning schedule that needs to take place during the access. This will commonly be daily, weekly or monthly depending on the duration and extent of the works. The aim of the cleaning schedule is to ensure that the neighbour’s property is kept as close to it's pre access condition as possible.

Party Wall Damage
Licence Dispute Procedures

Whether it be damage, dirt, noise, work duration changes, contractor issue or any other dispute. The Access Licence will set out and confirm how the issue should be dealt with. Commonly it will be via Surveyor resolution and action, however it will ultimately depend on the issue at hand and severity of the dispute.

Site Specific Requirements

The Access Licence will set out and confirm how site specific points such as entry gates, tv aerials, car parking spaces, windows or any other matter are dealt with. The aim of the Access Licence will be to ensure that the construction works pose the least amount of nuisance possible to the neighbour’s property.

Do You have to allow Access onto Your land:

The simply answer to this is “No”, a neighbouring owner can refuse the request for access and does not need to provide any reasoning for the refusal.

It is the neighbouring owner’s land at the end of the day, therefore they are at their liberty to decide how it is used and by who.

Who Pays for the Access Licence Cost:

The owner undertaking the construction works will pay for the Access Licence costs as they are benefiting from the access and licence.

It would also be unreasonable for the neighbouring owner to have to cover the cost of the Access Licence for works that do not benefit them.

Access Licence Fixed Costs:

Here at Berry Lodge Surveyors we believe Surveying costs should be transparent, fixed and never include any hidden extras.

All of our Access Licence costs are fixed and will include information review, site inspections, the drafting, agreement and service of the licence.

Access Licence Fees start from £1,150 + VAT

 

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