Led Zeppelin guitarist, Jimmy Page, is locked in a bitter row
over Robbie Williams's building redevelopment plans, but who is
actually right? Adam Colenso investigates.
Though they live a different life to most people, the
wisdom distilled in John Donne's words about no man being an
island entire of itself, holds as true for international
celebrities as it does for everyone else. When Robbie Williams
decided that he would like to undertake substantial works
(including a basement extension) to his Woodland House property in
Holland Park, he found a redoubtable opponent in the owner of the
next-door Grade I listed building known as 'the Tower
The Tower House is owned by Led Zeppelin guitarist, Jimmy
Page, was designed by architect William Burges and is described
Houses of London by James Stourton as
'Burges's last great work and his domestic
masterpiece'. The interior finishes to the property
are to Burges's original design and have been lovingly restored
by Page over his 40 plus years of ownership. Burges himself lived
there until his death and other famous former occupants include
John Betjeman and Richard Harris.
When Williams sought planning permission for a proposed
basement extension to Woodland House in 2015 Page objected and
filed documents indicating that vibrations from the proposed works
could have disastrous effects on the decorative finishes of the
Tower House. Williams eventually withdrew his planning application
in March 2015 but his recent comments suggest that other works he
is undertaking at Woodland House continue to concern Page who,
Williams is reported to have said, has taken to recording the noise
being made by his builders.
In general terms, a person is entitled to undertake
construction works on their property, even if it causes some
disturbance in terms of noise and vibration, provided that no undue
inconvenience is caused to any neighbours. The local authority and
the courts are likely to be keen to ensure that no works are
undertaken where there is no certainty that they will not cause
damage to a neighbouring architecturally important house with
potentially vulnerable decorative finishes.
These sorts of problems are not the preserve of Grade I
listed detached properties and their neighbours. Complaints
and legal proceedings relating to the way in which building works
are being undertaken are becoming more and more common as property
owners, concerned about recent tax hikes to home
sales, try to find new ways to increase the internal space in
However, assuming planning permission is obtained for such
works, the same guiding principle of not causing undue
inconvenience to one's neighbours will apply.
Not causing undue inconvenience may mean that neighbours
should be provided with advance information about the programme of
works, including the times at which any significance
disturbance is to take place. The party undertaking the works may
also need to think about what alternative methods are available for
the proposed works that could cause less inconvenience to their
Neighbours cannot expect to stop works happening next-door
just because they are likely to cause them some inconvenience but,
equally, a house-owner should not think that if they fail to act
reasonably in the way they undertake the works their neighbours
will be unable to do anything about it. The neighbours,
ultimately, may seek injunctive relief from the court if it appears
that damage is being caused to their property and/or the works are
causing undue inconvenience.
The choice of procurement route is vitally important to the success of any construction project. A number of different procurement routes exist but what are the essential ingredients of each and what are their relative advantages and disadvantages? This article discusses the differences between two of those procurement routes: general contracting and design and build.
Bonds, guarantees, performance security or whatever they are called form an important part of every major international contract. Despite this, there are a regular number of cases, in many different jurisdictions, where the courts are asked to decide what the nature of the particular project security actually is.
For well over a hundred years it has been standard practice for contract administrators to be used on construction contracts. Architects have been engaged to supervise and manage building contracts and engineers engineering contracts. More recently, project managers and construction managers have undertaken similar roles under new forms of contract.
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