Building work is making our lives miserable

Ask the expert. Our lawyer, Fiona McNulty, answers your questions
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A couple in hard hats, ear defenders and high visibility clothing attempting to have tea on the patio in the midst of major building work
Question: We own a basement flat. Our building is surrounded by two huge ongoing construction projects, with two or three years to go.

The builders and developers agree that we are worst affected by the building works — we can't use our patio area while it's all going on, I have health problems because of the dust and my husband can't work from home for all the noise.

One of the developers owns the freehold of our building. Can we get compensation? We've tried with Westminster council but they are not interested. Any advice?

Answer: Unfortunately, it is not possible to seek compensation for the grant of planning permission and the implementation of works relating to it.

You may be entitled to damages if it can be shown the noise and dust has interfered with the peaceful enjoyment of your property.

You may also be able to allege statutory nuisance. There are two ways of seeking an abatement of statutory nuisance: a complaint can be made to the local authority, or you can start private proceedings in the magistrates' court, which is more expensive. Contact the council's environmental health officer.

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the residential real estate team at Thring LLP (

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

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