Neighbours House on Boundary Line

Alright, I just want to to see what everyone thinks of my neighbours boundary line property, I have ended up with their brick weep holes on ground level with my side path, my builder has put some wooden boarder filled with rocks on my land to protect their weep holes, now I actually want to get concreting done down the side of my house, so if I concrete down the side, do I legally need to ensure their weep holes are uncovered? Or is it fair game since they are on the boundary line? Im based in Vic if anyone knows laws regarding this?

https://imgshare.io/image/PcfzQ

Comments

  • +5 votes

    probably fair game

  •  

    Just concrete around the wooden border

  • +17 votes

    Don't people have to leave room between properties?

    • +15 votes

      I feel claustrophobic just looking at that path.

      • +17 votes

        I like it. It makes life feel more like an old video game. I get the urge to use it to bounce a grenade around the corner

        • +8 votes

          If you push on the right bit, part of the wall will open up and there'll be some treasure and upgrades inside.

          • +4 votes

            @blitz: Op lives in a quasi fantasy Wolfenstein/Doom world… aka Victoria.

            The hidden treasures are bonus speed camera tickets and random public transport system failures.

        •  

          Fire in the hole!

    • +13 votes

      Unfortunately not.

      "Zero lot boundary" is quite common in new "McMansion" Estates where land, trees, public transport, amenity and shops are all in short supply. Plenty of double garages and needlessly windy roads though.

      • +3 votes

        Crikey. Too bad if I want to get a trailer in the backyard…. (they probably don't have backyards either I guess?)

        • +9 votes

          Lol the backyard is only about 3m from the back door to the fence, these are small 300sqm blocks in a massive new estate, these estates are basicslly build as big as you can fit and have minimal backyards

          •  

            @Nodeathz: Our former neighbours built their new home in a similar estate with small blocks and houses that take up 99.9% of the land.

            It didn't stop them from installing a hills-hoist 8 line & the corners extend over the boundary fence with the rear property. No issues 18 months later as the rear property remains unoccupied.

      • +11 votes

        I think the worst thing isn't how little free space there is, but how exposed the properties are. And it's not just in new areas.

        I used to live near an old rich Sydney harbourside neighbourhood, a very desirable spot for wealthy people. I was in a crappy little apartment, super cheap because of the terrible public transport.
        It was full of old beautiful mansions, and very enjoyable just to stroll around and catch glimpses of them between the trees or through fences.

        Unless you turned this one corner into a McMansion estate and were suddenly surrounded by a bunch of identical gaudy houses crammed tightly together with no separation from the road, and where they had removed any large trees to ensure that all these houses would have a waterfront views from their large glass-fronted living rooms.
        Which made you feel naked and exposed walking down the street, fully exposed by the open landscape and every house feel like giant eyeballs staring at you walking past, taunting you to glance over and see the exposed lives of the people inside.

        It was a sickening contrast, and made you feel that the millions these owners had spent just to be in this neighbourhood was less a sign of wealth, but of their cheap gaudiness. That their "new money" might have placed them physically near their ambition being in a wealthy old neighbourhood, but their own monstrosities only highlighted how tacky and classless they were in comparison to that "old money". A feeling not helped by seeing gross they could be inside.

        And as a bum happily living in a shit apartment, having any thoughts on which rich people were "better" was a pretty personally disappointing train of thought to find myself on. More reason to hate the McMansions, I guess.

      • +2 votes

        A double garage is absolutely necessary when you want to have a small workshop for woodworking etc, which I want to do so it's making it difficult for me finding somewhere to rent, and certainly when I have to find somewhere to buy too. Most properties don't have the land space for a separate powered/insulated garage/shed. Nor would I have the money to build one.

        •  

          dogbox dwellings didnt start till the 90s and there are still many new ones on the quarter acre.

        •  

          Just to throw out an alternative, have you looked into things like "men's sheds", makerspaces, or whatever other trendy terms exist to describe shared workshop facilities?

      • +2 votes

        It's not called short supply.. It's called developer greed

    •  

      that's what I thought too. Maybe it's different rule in Vic

    •  

      Nah, at least in Vic it just needs to be a fire-rated wall. So, basically brick with no (or fire-rated) windows. There's other ways to achieve it but I'd hedge my bets that this is solid brick to the roof.

  • +6 votes

    It's on your land…..I would remove all of that and concrete over it.

  • +14 votes

    You're going to want an expansion joint between any path and the neighbours wall.

  •  

    https://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/2434643
    (VIC)

    "Our local council believes our builders should be looking into this as not having the expansion joint against our slab goes against a building regulation code."

  • +46 votes

    I'd put another unit there

  • +21 votes

    No need to protect weep holes if they're 'designed' to weep onto your property. Not a problem to concrete over them, no legal qualms for you, let alone any structural ones for their wall.

    If you were a naughty neighbour… "they ain't weep holes for them, they're drain holes for me!!" and slope your concrete towards them! lol

    Certainly don't leave the timber there when concreting, though - That'll be where you get issues with moisture and cracking.

    • +6 votes

      You made me spit my drink from laughing calling them drain holes, absolutely hilarious

    • -1 vote

      I wouldn't necessarily agree. What about termite treatment for the adjacent property. Those weep holes if covered jeopardises any visual barrier and could potentially be an entry point.

      If I was the neighbour and found out that my property got termites because your concrete path hid them so they could gain entry I would taking action against my neighbour who put the concrete path in.

      Can you not just have the concrete path below the weepholes? Seems pretty easy to resolve.

  •  

    Is there some sort of gradient between yours and the neighbours? It just seems so strange to me to have weep holes so low to the ground easily covered and defeating the purpose of it…

    •  

      It's a slight hill, so my house is up higher than theirs, so it needed quite a bit of fill to level out that side path

      • +1 vote

        Stupid question but what happens in a situation like this if they ever needed to get to the foundation of their wall or slab and it's been concreted? I'm not sure if you have the right to tamper with their wall just because it is on the boundary line.

        Not being a builder and with only limited experience with some renos with some of our investment properties I can say the weep holes are there for good reason and I would never cover them or someone else's for that matter. There should be a damp proof cover underneath the weep hole so if the whole is covered that could lead to serious problems for your neighbour.

        I'm a bit concerned if you cover their weep holes and something happens they might hold you partly responsible.

        If you are saying the builders not you have already covered them with soil? It might be worthwhile asking your neighbours to get in touch with the builders to fix this up or seek further advice because there are rules as to how far above ground level weep holes needs to be and if they're already covered I dont know if the builders can do that it doesn't make sense to me anyway. Maybe they've compensated for the covering of the weep hole somehow in the design so that might make it less risky to cover them up? I'm not sure, get in touch with a building inspector or a proper trading in your area who should have a better idea not someone who wants to do a quick cash job then you might end up with a bigger problem!

        •  

          The same builder built both of our property's at the same time, we both moved in simular time around 3 months ago, I never paid much attention to those weep holes, until I was out there today thinking about concreting around my house rather then keeping the crushed rocks and noticed their weep holes will be in the way, I just don't think I should have to suffer because they chose to build on the boundary line

          •  

            @Nodeathz: I agree not building on the boundary line would be safer, more considerate and not to mention look a lot better. Those walls on the boundary line are just so unsightly and stick out like a sore thumb above fencing horizon in a neighbourhood.

            Did they do a sneaky on you and build to the boundary line after you finalised your build or did you know about it when you purchased?

            It's not ideal but at least you're being careful with the issue. Wrong move here could be problems to sort out in the future.

            •  

              @Heb: I would turn their wall into wall art. Do you have kids? You could mount an outdoor chalkboard so they can draw on it. Or maybe a garden wall?

          • +1 vote

            @Nodeathz: “I just don't think I should have to suffer because they chose to build on the boundary line.”
            Your neighbour didn’t choose to build on the boundary line, and when they purchased the property were probably as ignorant as you were of this issue when you bought. How about having a talk to your neighbour and deciding on a mutually amicable solution? It’s not that difficult to be a good neighbour if you want to be.

            •  

              @Ozpit: We all bought off the plan, so they were all empty lots around our lot, and I agree they most likely were ignorant about the issue, I doubt any average person thinks about their weep holes positioning, but their builder would have given them all the engineering plans like I recieved, so on a lot which is only 300sqm, giving up another 20cm or so of land makes a big deal because it's like they are getting extra land for free.. so I don't mean to sound rude or cause their property damage, end of the day it's most likely our builders fault for even doing something like this, but I also dont want to suffer because of it..

  •  

    Not a lawyer nor a builder, but "it needed quite a bit of fill to level out that side path" sounds like you've raised up the edge/corner of your block beyond what was natural, and are using the neighbour's wall in lieu of a retaining wall on your block. I realise a retaining wall may be overkill in the situation but it would at least leave a small gap to the neighbour's wall and make it clear that any future issues with those weep holes aren't the result of your actions. If the natural fall of the block is towards that neighbour then Switchblade88's comment about drain holes could just come to fruition. If it were me I'd get the few layers of bricks laid up to the level of the path, and make sure it drains somewhere other than the neighbour's wall.

    •  

      Both houses were built by the same builder, who threw in landscaping as part of our package, and they did all the fill and put that wooden boarder on my property where the neighbours weep holes are, I've done nothing at all other then leave it as I have recieved it from the builder, all I wanted to do was get rid of the crushed rock and get some proper concrete done and that's when I realised the weep holes were there

  •  

    Did you talk to your neighbour about this yet? I think ideally coming up with a solution that would result the least "suffering" for the two of you would be ideal. Not a builder, so I don't have any idea, but can weep holes be relocated higher up? is it just a matter of cutting holes into the brick ?

    •  

      I think there is quite a bit involved in a weep hole other than just a hole inbetween 2 bricks, I think there is some special damp reducing materials in behind the holes or something, i dont know much about it either.. all i know is that they should never be covered because if water can't escape you can get mould, wood rot, it lets pests into your walls.. alot of really bad things

  • +1 vote

    Where is the damp course for their wall? Is it below the course with the weep holes, and thus underground where the wood is?

  •  

    Also, council may have a minimum porous surface requirement on your block, and if you do extra concreting it may mean your block generates more runoff, putting more demand on drainage etc. Maybe not a big issue if you're the only person in the estate doing it, but if everyone does it it's a bit of a surprise when you need to claim on insurance for flooding and they find your property non-compliant.

  • +5 votes

    Are you certain the wall is not setback 10 to 20mm from the boundary.
    What about their eaves and roof - don't the project slightly out from the brick wall ?

  •  

    Gutter is up ontop of the brickwork, and there is no eaves. the property is smack bang on the boundary line

    • +3 votes

      OK, but I can't see what you gain by concreting right to the boundary, as you probably can't use within 50mm of the brick wall anyway.
      It is illegal for a new slab to drain directly onto a neighbours property and it looks to be difficult to drain back around the corner.
      Also placing concrete formwork would be difficult.
      Your side must have been built up after the weep holes were placed.
      It would be so much easier just to concrete up to the plank protecting the weep holes, and your slab can drain into it as well.

    • +3 votes

      How can you tell its smack bang on the boundary line, have you got a surveyor out to locate the wall in relation to the boundary?

      Even if the wall is shown as a zero lot boundary wall on the plans there will always been a small gap (10-20mm).

  •  

    I had a very similar situation when I built my place but I was the neighbour with the weep holes at ground level, on the boundary line. My neighbour wanted to put down a concrete path that would end up blocking the weep holes.

    I discussed this with my neighbour and their landscaper and what they did was put in little barriers against the weep holes so they weren't completely covered by the concrete. I don't know if this really did anything because its still mostly covered up. Hopefully, they can breath a little bit. I didn't do any legal research as I felt that I couldn't demand the neighbour from doing something on their property, especially a concrete path as its something that the builders recommend you do to protect the slabs.

    At the end of the day I thought its probably better having the weep holes blocked up than their water draining into my house or planting a garden and compromising my slab. This based on my own thoughts with absolutely no technical background. So far, it doesn't seem to have caused any problems…

    •  

      thanks, I will have a chat to my neighbour before anything gets done, I can nearly gaurentee they wont even know what weep holes are, and be in for a bit of a suprise

      •  

        Thinking about it now and I just remembered the barriers they put in were slightly corrugated. So maybe that gives it some breathing room and may alleviate the issue a little bit. I wasn't overly satisfied but I thought it was a compromise. Apart from rebricking the house and rising the height of the holes I don't know what the ideal solution is???

  •  

    it is generally against bulding code to have a wall on the boundary due to fire compatmentalisation.

    rule 7&8 from this link (vic) seem to say its ok in some instances.

    no issue concreting up to their boundary wall which the concreter would definitely expansion joint(foam) anyway. it would be sloped down and most likely under their weepholes.

    very good idea to put a strip drain connected to storm water.

    • +1 vote

      The first bit isn’t true. A wall on or within 900mm of the boundary just needs a FRL of 60/60/60 from the outside (aka 60 minute fire resistance) - this is for domestic construction. A standard brick veneer wall achieves this. Building on the boundary is quite common these days, particularly with smaller subdivisions.

  • +1 vote

    do I legally need to ensure their weep holes are uncovered?

    Probably not.
    Not a lawyer …

    Do you really want to do that to your neighbour though?
    Seems like these 'weep holes' are important for your neighbour .
    How would you feel, if the roles were revered and neighbor just went and converted over your brick weep holes or whatever .
    You'd possibly come back here posting what an ahol your neighbor has been, covering over your weep holes without position. And ask the OzBargain experts what to do next there 🤣

  •  

    I suggest you discuss with your neighbour first.

    Don't want to piss off your neighbour before you guys have even moved in…Might come back to bite one day

  •  

    Would definitely not concrete right up against their building. Normal concrete movement or expansion will ensure your concrete will crack very nicely.

    If anything, put a 10mm foam rubber thing between the concrete and their house, expansion joint filler
    https://www.bunnings.com.au/ormonoid-10-x-100mm-x-25m-abelfl...

    Would definitely allow for correct fall direction too. So the answer is, no, don't go smack against their building for concrete.

  •  

    What happens if you both build on the boundary line?

    • +2 votes

      You both have terrace houses then.

      • +2 votes

        so no weep holes or connecting weep holes?

        • +1 vote

          I think on my MIL terrace the plans show a 10mm gap between slabs and cladding of each “house”. The gap from the front and back is rendered over though so who knows if it actually there.

        • +2 votes

          Generally on a terrace house you have a capping at the roofline to prevent any water hitting the walls. So weep holes or not, it doesn't matter because water isn't getting down there.

    • +1 vote

      duplex?

    •  

      They are called zero building allotments and I believe that you can only build on one side right on the building line boundary.

  •  

    Not sure how it'll work for levels with your house (doors and such) but what about take the top of the path down 100mm or something. That way you won't cover the weep holes and you won't have a large gap.

  • +4 votes

    There’s a membrane behind the brick called a damp proof course, this usually a black plastic sheet seen protruding the bottom of the wall that allows any moisture or condensation in the wall find its way to the bottom of the wall and exit via the weep holes. These holes generally don’t exude a lot of moisture, seeing any moisture come out is rare, but if you live in a damp climate, they are necessary for providing ventilation and air flow and occasional exiting of moisture to the cavity behind your brick wall. What is more concerning isn’t covering them up, it’s building a concrete path at this high level. Any moisture/rainfall from your path will cause damage long term to their structure if it drains in the direction of their wall at that high level, and you may be liable if it does cause damage. Ideally you should have a reasonable gap to allow drainage, or strip drain between your path and the wall, and the concrete path should have its own damp proof course as well (orange sheet). If your concrete is poured against their wall, any moisture will travel through the concrete into their wall. The path also needs to drain away from their wall (and your house) towards a drain.

  • +2 votes

    Let's say you concrete your path and you end up covering the weep holes (which seems inevitable). The neighbour may then start to experience damp along that brick wall because the water cannot escape from the weep holes and is backing up and getting trapped. They would want to fix this so they might have to do a couple things:

    1. Demolish your new slab and waterproof the base of the brick wall, reinstate your slab.
    2. Raise the height of the cavity flashing and weep holes above the height of your concrete path.

    As for who pays for this, I have no idea.

    I'd be reading the dividing fences act and other relevant stuff about neighbouring properties and responsibilities. It's a super shit design to build a building against the neighbouring property line.

  •  

    There is a heap of mis-information on this thread.

    The quick answer is no, you can do what your like on your side of the title, and don't need to worry about maintaining their weep holes.
    Some times your better of getting advise of a professional, if you want free advice head into your local council's building department.

    Clarify some misinformation
    + People routinely build hard up against boundaries, people routinely build brick veneer, cavity brick or any other wall system with weep holes on boundaries.
    + Do NOT make your paving slab fall towards your house, not only is it stupid, it is against the building code (IN ALL PARTS OF AUSTRALIA, not just Victoria)
    + IF that wall is a brick veneer wall, it should have an up stand in the slab, as well as a water proof membrane, which will protect it against water logging, there are so many overreactions here about people thinking you are going to cause the wall to fill up like a fish tank and rot from the inside out. Brick's aren't waterproof, nor is concrete or mortar in these applications.

    So many what if's in this thread would be over if you called the building department.

  •  

    you need to cut a top of conduit vertically and place it near the weephole, it will keep the ventilation and you can concrete I asked neighbor to do that so I have it clear. it will look like a semi-circle on the weep hole.

  • +1 vote

    Don't concrete to the boundary.
    My neighbour did and it hasn't worked in his favour.

  • +1 vote

    Could someone please tell me what a weep hole is and what's it used for?
    I googled its picture but still don't quite get the reason for having it.

  •  

    Hi OP,

    Being in a new estate these zero lot boundaries are fairly common. Though I would highly suggest you speak to your Certifier or Building Surveyor (in Vic) (you may have the same certifier as your neighbour to put your mind at ease.

    It appears that the neighbours weep holes are pretty low or either your ground has been raised by the fill you put.

    Either way, blocking or concreting the area shown will cause building damage over a period of time as the weep hole allows the building to breathe (ventilate) and where you consider concreting, I would suggest you to be 150mm below the weep hole with a physical termite along all perimeters including your own with probably a graded line grate and grade your accordingly.

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