All too often your once-beloved neighbour can become your worst nightmare when you decide that your home needs a renovation or an extension. Although we might like to say it’s none of their business since it’s your property, it’s hard to ignore these three factors that affect them: dust, noise and of course, in some cases, your neighbour’s permission in writing.

So, how can you overcome the potential of neighbourly disputes? By nipping them in the bud early with these handy tips:

  • Communication

The consensus among Councils and other regulatory authorities throughout all states and territories in Australia is that initial communication with your neighbours is highly recommended, informing them of your intended plans. And if you have the plans on hand, it would be even better to have them see them visually. Disputes can end there and then because they will feel that you’re considering them from the very beginning.

  • Third party

If you need their permission, some will sign straight away with no issues at all. However, not all neighbours are this helpful. If you face a stubborn neighbour, your next option might be to obtain Council approval for local building regulations and contact a building surveyor for further advice. Remember that neighbours are protected by law from inappropriate construction near their property. Best you have all your approvals before extensions or renovations begin.

  • Noise

The sound of a saw yelling at 5am in a suburban area is not just annoying, but is actually against most Council rules and regulations. Tools may only be used between 7am and 7pm, and on weekends, the times are even more strict, depending on which state or territory you live in. Most reputable building capable will only work within the allocated hours, but if you find that builders are on the tools at 6am, it’s best to let them know to hold off until the correct time.

  • Dust

Sawing wood, mixing cement, breaking walls, etc., are all activities that produce spells of dust that will cover your yard as well as your neighbours’. The dust is an uncontrollable element, and from this by-product of your building renovations or extensions, you certainly run the risk of complaints. Luckily, there is a solution to the clouds of dust swarms: use sheeting outside, on windows, doors and vents. During windy days, dust-creating operations should be held off.

  • Boundaries

Making the most of your property by adding a second storey to your home with a lovely balcony sounds like a great plan. But there are certain restrictions for homeowners because neighbours are protected by law from property extensions that may intrude over the reasonable boundary lines. It is, therefore, important to contact your building surveyor and the planning of your renovation is only within the area of your property.

  • Privacy

Speaking of that wonderful balcony you envisioned – the one where you’ll enjoy your morning coffee every day; have you considered that it may enrage a rather frustrated neighbour whose bathroom can be seen from that height?Neighbours are protected so that all reasonable rights of privacy can be ensured. Speak to your local council and, as mentioned earlier, speak to your neighbour and show them where the balcony or extension will be. The same privacy regulations also apply to windows, which may need to be frosted.

If you come across any of these sticky situations, reasonably communicating with your neighbour is always the best first step. Being the link between your builders and your neighbours is crucial in ensuring that all parties are content with the situation.

However, if you’re really in the dark on how to obtain approvals, speak to Melbourne’s expert extension building company, Duncan Thompson Extensions, whose experience will ensure your dream and vision will become a reality without neighbourly disputes. Call (03) 9836 8655 for more information.