BA20 and BA20A forms were introduced as a form that can be taken to adjoining property owners to have them sign off on work which may affect them. There is a lot of confusion out there as to when a BA20 form is actually required so I hope to clear that up with today’s article. BA20 forms came into effect when the new Building Legislation was brought in on the 2nd of April 2012. From talking to my customers I hear that they as employees of building companies are finding that when they are sending out BA20 forms that rejection responses from neighbors are unfortunately all too common. The feeling is that neighbours are seeing BA20 forms as a last chance to voice their objections to planning approvals. I guess the trick would be don’t ask for their comment (and risk upsetting them) unless the Building Act says that you absolutely need to get their permission.

In summary:

• If the land or building is vacant no BA20 is needed to go on the land, in all other cases you would need one to go on to the adjoining property.

• If you’re building a wall that is part of a building permit approval (garage wall/parapet/boundary wall) then no BA20 is needed to remove the fence to construct the wall.

The bold text is taken directly from the legislation at the time of writing this article. The italicized text is my comments.

BA20’s are basically for:
1. Encroachment
 – Building over your boundary. This should not be incorporated in part of your designs as boundary footings etc. are eccentric (off set). This would only happen if you got the site set out wrong or the site survey wrong, or wanted to build across 2 lots intentionally.

2. Adversely affecting land which includes — 
(a) reducing the stability or bearing capacity of the land or a building or structure on the land; or Basically if you build a cellar/basement or have a retaining wall with a lot of cut near a boundary, the people next door should be able to build their own boundary wall in the future and not have it fall into your current building site. The engineer signing off on your job should be aware of and make sure that the wall of any cellar or retaining will be strong enough to support possible future developments next door. This incorporates an engineering principal known as the angle of repose. 
(b) damage, or reduce the structural adequacy of, a building or structure on the land; or 
This shouldn’t happen. Please don’t intentionally damage your neighbour’s property.
(c) the changing of the natural site drainage in a way that reduces the effectiveness of the drainage of the land or existing or future buildings or structures on the land; Please ensure all storm water is designed to be contained onsite. Check with the Council if it’s ok to use soakwells or if the area requires a connection to their storm water system.

BA20A’s are for:
1. Protection structures. Protection structure means any thing placed into or onto land beyond the boundaries of works land – the purpose of which is to prevent, or minimise the risk of, works land or any other land being adversely affected (see definition above) by the work; 
This might be something like sheet piling or a temporary retaining wall – put on the neighbours land.

2. (a) Work you’re doing that will affect party walls. Party wall means a wall that is wholly or partly on a boundary of works land and that is a wall of a building on works land and a wall of a building beyond the boundary. These are not your typical garage walls, these are walls in class 2 buildings and are walls on top of the boundary, providing fire separation between 2 units. In the definitions of the current legislative framework, boundary and parapet garage walls are known as close walls (next to the boundary).
(b) If you want to affect a substantial dividing fences. A substantial dividing fence means a dividing fence, between works land and other land, that was constructed under a building permit, building licence or other approval that was granted in respect of the construction of the fence under the written law applicable at the time of its construction.Pretty self explanatory.
(c) If you want to affect a boundary retaining wall which protects land outside of your building site Also self explanatory.

Unless it’s an emergency. Then you can do what needs to be done and advise them ASAP. Penalties apply for delays.

3. Fences. Everyone loves removing a fence. They do have some exemptions which you’re going to love though:
A BA20A is required unless each of the following applies — 
(i) the removal is required for the construction of a close wall; close wall means a wall, fence, post or column, whether free-standing or attached to, or forming part of, a building or
structure, that is so close to a boundary of the land on which the wall or fence is located that it is not reasonably practicable to build a separate dividing fence along the boundary.
 These are your garage boundary walls, and things like that. Great news, you don’t need permission to remove the fence if (ii) and (iii) below are done.
(ii) a building permit for the close wall is in effect; 
The permit will be in effect when you remove the fence to build your garage wall. So again, if you get the building permit you won’t need a BA20A for removing the fence.
(iii) the person responsible for the work has given at least 7 business days notice of the proposed removal to each owner of the land and at least one adult occupier of the land, if the land is not occupied by any of its owners; 
This can be done by any one from your office. The supervisor or one of your approvals team.
Or, other than the above:
Unless the land that shares, or on which is located, the fence, gate or other barrier is vacant land, or any building on that land is vacant; 
Great news again, if the land is vacant or the building is vacant, you don’t need permission to remove the fence.

4. Access to land. You must have consent to go onto someone’s land unless it’s for an emergency, or the land is vacant, or the building on the land is vacant. If the owner sees you on their vacant land then they can ask you to get off their land and you must follow that instruction.

This information has in part been pulled from the Building Act 2011, Building Regulations 2012 and is some opinion.

Click here to email us if you have any questions about the process or would like to discuss your project.

Thanks for reading.

Due to constantly evolving legislation the information provided within this blog may no longer be valid. The advice given on this site is general in nature and does not take into account your specific circumstances. Please email one of our building surveyors to check what is right for you.

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