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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 11583
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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Building control passed a plan submitted by my neighbour

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Building control passed a plan submitted by my neighbour that was in clear and unambiguous breach of approved document H of building regs.This allowed a soakaway to placed too close to my retaining wall (my house is on lower ground). The retaining wall is now at risk of failing - do I have a claim against either the otrher homeowner, or building control, or both?
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: no but I did raise the matter with building control at the time, and essentially they refused to anser
JA: Where is the house located?
Customer: Jersey
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Buildign regs require a soakaway to be a minimum 5m distant, and its c3m. Further, the calculation of the amount of collected rainwater is incorrect by a factor of about 20% - they measured the roof area as if flat when it is pitched (I have read the regulations, the calculation has to be done based o nthe pitch area

Hello, and thank you for your question. I am your Expert and I will provide the answer you require.

1. In these circumstances, where the soakaway was placed 3m distance from a retaining wall rather than the mandatory 5m, then you can sue both your neighbour for doing so and also building control for permitting them to place it there contrary to the Building Control Regulations. However, your liability will primarily be borne by your neighbour as it was your neighbour who constructed the soakaway. Be aware that to show liability for Building Control, you will have to show they supervised the work and approved it too close. From what you say, they did this, but just be aware there are additional requirements of proof against building control that don't apply when you are suing your neighbour.

2. Additionally, there will be liability for incorrectly calculating the necessary soakaway based upon a flat roof rather than upon a pitched roof as this directly affects the quantity of water using the soakaway. So, this is another basis for liability to be placed upon both your neighbour and upon Building Control. So, you should see a solicitor and get legal proceedings issued as a matter of urgency to get the matter dealt with before the retaining wall subsides.

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Buachaill and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
thank you - yes, I have email correspondence with Building control. They confirm that the soakaway is closer than 5m, but their defence is they claim my retaining wall is not "a building". (the technical guidance document TDG 6 clearly refers to risks associated with infiltrating water close to existing basements, building foundations or surface infrastructure). What is the time limit on issuing preceedings?

4. The time limit on issuing proceedings against Building Control is six years from the date of creation or two years from the date of discoverability, whichever is later. Against your neighbour the time limit continues as it is a continuing wrong with a continuing breach occurring.