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Protection Works & Notices

Don’t put your head in the sand when it comes to protection works and protection notices

Protection works and protection notices are both part of the procedures that may be required on your project in relation to protection of adjoining properties. The procedure as set out in the Building Act may appear overwhelming. Once you clearly understand what protection works are for, what your responsibilities are, and how a Building Surveyor can assist you, the process will become a lot less daunting.

When do you need protection works?

It is important to understand that the definition of adjoining properties includes adjoining land and road reserves, not just adjoining buildings.

It is the Building Surveyor’s role to assess each project on its merits and determine whether protection works are required.

As a general guide, examples of situations that may require protection works would be:

  • Cut and / or fill within the angle of repose within the property boundary (sand 30°, clay 45°).
  • Building on the boundary adjoining any neighbours buildings.
  • Building on the boundary where site cut or deeper than standard foundations are required.

Protection works apply to both commercial and residential building projects.

Protection works exist to protect BOTH the adjoining owner and the building owner

It may seem as though protection works and notices are designed to slow your project down and give your adjoining owners the chance to complain. However, the real aim (and benefit) of the procedure is that it clears the way for your project and avoids hefty and unwieldy complaints processes or litigation down the track.

As a building owner, you should also be aware (and take comfort) in the knowledge that protection works ARE NOT an opportunity for an adjoining owner who may have objected through the town planning process for the proposed development, to recommence their objections. All correspondence and discussions are strictly limited to the protection works.

The protection works process for the Building Owner

If a Building Surveyor deems that your project requires protection works you will go through the following processes:

  • Service of
  • Relevant documentation to accompany the notices
  • You must obtain appropriate insurances for the adjoining properties
  • You must obtain an existing conditions report of the adjoining property prior to commencement of works
  • At the completion of works the existing conditions on the adjoining property are re-inspected and compared to the initial report, thus eliminating any debate over damage caused by the building works (if any)

How protection works benefit the adjoining owner

The protection that the adjoining owner enjoys as a result of protection works is:

  • Peace of mind with the knowledge of what works are to be done, when and where
  • Knowing that their property has been inspected prior to commencement of works
  • Having their property re-inspected at the completion of works
  • That the building owner has the appropriate insurance to cover their property
  • Knowledge that they can seek re-imbursement from the building owner for any reasonable expenses incurred while protecting their interest through this process

How a Building Surveyor can expedite your protection works procedure

Where protection works are required, there is a detailed procedure stipulated in the Building Act 1993 in relation to serving of notices, building owners responsibilities and duties before, during and after construction.

It is important for anybody being the building owner or a person acting on behalf of the building owner, that the protection notices are completed and served correctly with the appropriate documents. As these procedures and documents can be technical and time consuming you are well advised to have a Building Surveyor check all documentation prior to serving. Otherwise you may find yourself having wasted precious project time on documentation that needs to amended and served again.

KWA offers protection works and notice checking FREE of charge for KWA clients

Our aim is to help you get your project finished as quickly and easily as possible. Where we are the Relevant Building Surveyor we offer a protection works and notice check prior to you serving the notice and documents on the adjoining owner(s) FREE of charge for KWA clients. We encourage you to take advantage of this service so you can avoid unnecessary time delays and frustrations.

With an experienced and expert third party involved you will find that in the large majority of cases, agreement is reached amicably between all parties.

As part of our organisational commitment to assist and help our clients through the maze of building legislation, we are always available for technical enquiries at our office with a fully registered and qualified Building Surveyor in attendance.

Protection works Case Study:

As the relevant Building Surveyor for a two storey office building built on a common boundary against the adjoining building, I had issued an Occupancy Permit for the building some 3-4 months earlier.

At this stage, I received a call from the building owner very stressed and concerned that the adjoining owners’ legal representative had been in contact. The contact was made with the sole purpose of advising the building owner that they were seeking full financial compensation for alleged damage to their building as a result of the new building works.

I reminded the building owner of the existing conditions report that he carried out with his engineer and the adjoining owner prior to commencement of works. I advised him of his obligations under the Building Act to re-inspect the adjoining building with at least the same parties present on site to determine if in fact there had been any further damage.

A week later, I received another call from the building owner expressing his gratitude and his happiness as the inspection revealed that there had not been any further damage or distress to the adjoining buildings as a result of his building works. No case to answer to, no claims were made.