An Access Licence is required when one owner requires access to another owner’s land, air space or property.
Commonly, the owner who requires access will need it to undertake some form of construction works to their property whether that be the 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 type of Conditions are within an Access Licence?
The type of conditions that are included within an Access Licence is 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
- Compensation of the Nuisance or Premium Payments
However, generally speaking, you can expect to find conditions such as these within an Access Licence:
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.
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.
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 fascia of the scaffolding and will need to have a suitable response solution in place in the event of trigger.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, drafting, agreement, and service of the licence.
Access Licence Fees start from £1,150 + VAT
Typical Access Licence Questions
Do you have to allow access onto your land?
The simple 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.
Can I charge access rent?
Yes, you’re within your legal rights to request a rent or premium from the developer or owner who wants to gain access to and use your land.
In all normal circumstances, the rent or premium tends to be agreed by the Surveyor or Surveyors assisting the respective owners. However, it can also be agreed directly by the owners.
Can I restrict the timings?
Yes, as you are allowing access onto your land, the days and times at which the access can take place will be subject to the terms agreed within the access licence.
In all normal circumstances, the work timings or hours will be in line with local authority allowable working hours, with the site or property specific considerations taken into account.
Remember, the longer the contractor is given access for each day, the sooner they will complete the works. It is therefore important to try and facilitate good working hours.
Who decides on the access duration?
In all normal circumstances, the Surveyor or Surveyors assisting the owners will agree on the access duration.
They’ll do this by looking at the works overall and agreeing on a reasonably safe amount of time for the contractor to complete the works.
This will then be agreed within the access licence and usually becomes the duration for which the access rent or premium is then calculated.