In June 2023, our team was tasked with conducting an assessment of a commercial property situated beneath a railway archway in South London to consider a boundary issue. The property, housing several restaurants and shops, had undergone a change of use in May 2020, transitioning from a general industrial building to a Class A3 designation, specifically for restaurants and cafes. This change needed compliance with Building Regulations, including the installation of fire escapes.
A particular area of contention appeared at the rear of the property, involving a parcel of land adjoining the property and where the adjoining owner was contesting that the fire exit and a chimney flue extending from the boundary wall encroached onto their property.
The adjoining owner disputed the right for a fire exit and obstructed this preventing an escape in the event of a fire.
Upon thorough examination, we formed the professional opinion that the fire exit should not be obstructed, as there was a right of access. Further investigation revealed that the projecting flue at the rear had been installed prior to 1999 and similar units within the vicinity had undergone planning approval. Given the necessity of this location for the extraction of fumes, planning consent had been granted and the installations, including the fire exits, were in accordance with building regulations.
The matter was settled, our comprehensive Expert Report played a pivotal role in helping the resolution of the dispute between our client and their neighbour.