Last updateTue, 10 Mar 2020 4pm

Boundary dispute reform: let’s use the legislative vacuum to good effect

Who would have thought that Brexit – or the lack of it – would significantly affect the way in which the industry manages boundary disputes? Richard Crow, associate director of Trident Building Consultancy, explains:

Two years ago a Private Member’s Bill, sponsored by Lord Lytton, received its first reading in the House of Lords. The Bill suggested that boundary issues could be better addressed by using a structure which broadly replicates the provisions of the Party Wall Act – essentially removing much of the responsibility from solicitors and handing it to surveyors. Progress of the Bill was thwarted by the general election of June 2017, and with parliamentary time apparently unavailable to advance the legislation it is yet to have its second reading in the Lords. The delay is frustrating, but it also provides some necessary reflection time.

Building higher casts shadow on rights to light

The content of the Chancellor’s Spring Statement washed over many in the property profession as the Brexit storm continued.

But the decision by Philip Hammond to allow upwards extensions through Permitted Development (PD) Rights is significant news. The announcement, which forms part of a package of initiatives to breathe life into the ailing high street, is set to go ahead via regulations due this autumn and followed an extremely contentious consultation earlier this year. Daniel Wade (pictured), Rights of Light Director at Trident Building Consultancy, explains what this could mean for property owners.

In the absence of a planning process to scrutinise projects that will add to building heights, the issue of Rights of Light (ROL) becomes a very serious consideration, and one with significant consequences.

Court case highlights spec change dangers

A recent Northern Ireland High Court case has highlighted challenges that can be faced when a specification is changed.

The court heard how new-build apartments in Newtonards, Northern Ireland, had been specified with a BBA-approved full tanking solution with an insurance-backed warranty. However, a quantity surveying error costed less than a quarter of the required product, leading to a specification switch to a cheaper, partially tanked solution.

RICS offers an update on construction law

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is once more mounting its Legal Issues in Construction conference this year. The conference will be held on 6 November at the Cavendish Conference Centre, in London’s Marylebone, and will qualify for 5.5 hours of formal CPD.

This year’s programme will provide crucial updates and expert advice and guidance, and has been developed in partnership with Pinsent Masons and Keating Chambers – the leading law firm and chambers operating in the sector.

The construction industry is increasingly complex and challenging, as are the legal risks involved. That makes it imperative for professionals in the sector to keep up-to-date with recent case legislation and developments.

Leading property lawyer comments on Dreamvar ruling

The Court of Appeal has announced a ruling regarding the Dreamvar case which will make conveyancers accountable for their client's actions.

Ian Peach, Partner and Head of Residential Property at Coffin Mew, commented:

“In my view, this decision will not just affect Residential Property but the profession in general and I expect impact upon firm’s Professional Indemnity Insurance premiums moving forward.

“It highlights the need for seller’s solicitors to not just correctly verify the identity of the seller, but to also do their upmost to actually link that person to the property being sold.