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1. Dear Ed, you should seek access under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act, 1993, which permits access to neighbouring land in order to carry out works to your land. If your neighbour refuses, as here, you can apply to court to gain access. Essentially, you have to undertake to return the neighbour's land to its pre-access situation and to remedy any damage which your works might cause your neighbour.
2. The key idea is that access will be granted on the basis that your uphold your neighbour's rights to have his land returned to its original state. Be aware that in certain instances, the court will require you to take out insurance to cover any damage you might cause your neighbour's land. However, this is the exception. NOrmally, once you under take to return the land to its original state this is Ok.
3. Be aware that the Act has been amended three times to include not just maintenance but also works of any nature to be carried out.
4. So, you can gain access in order to carry out these works. It does not matter that you are doing an extension. The Act is wide enough to cover your extension.
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6. You essentially need to serve what is known as an Access Request upon your neighbour and allow a period of 14 days for him or her to reply. Then you need to apply to court to seek an Access Order which essentially sets out the terms upon which you can gain access to the land. Be aware that the Act covers the "renewal" of any land or building. This is sufficiently wide to cover an extension, such as yours.
7. Be aware that you should get a solicitor to help you, if possible, with the Access Request. Essentially, you should seek from the outset, to tee it up for the actual litigation and the making of the Access Order.
8. This is reasonable if there are structural issues with their garage and if the scaffolding will have a weight-bearing role to play in the development of the extension. Be aware that if there is jockeying, such as this, in the application, you always have to appear reasonable and make your neighbour appear unreasonable. So, you always need to be seen to be reasonable.
10. I am no expert in home insurance. I would suggest you speak with an insurance broker here. If there is an issue you will have to deal with it.