A scaffold licence, also known as a scaffold agreement, is a legal document that grants permission to erect scaffolding on or over a property that is not owned by the developing party. It acts as a legal framework to protect the interests of both the developer and the neighbouring property owner.
Understanding Scaffold Licences
Scaffolding is a crucial component of most building sites enabling workers to safely access elevated areas. When scaffolding needs to be erected on or over a neighbouring property, you should seek professional advice.
Erecting scaffolding over a neighbours land without obtaining their agreement is trespass. Obtaining a scaffold agreement can be crucial to allow works to progress in a timely manner and avoid costly legal disputes.
It should be noted that there is no obligation on a neighbouring owner to grant a scaffold licence. Because of this obtaining a licence can become a commercial negotiation. Payment may be required in order to gain use of a neighbours property where not permitted by other Acts of UK law; such as the Party Wall Etc Act or the Access to Neighbouring Land Act.
Obtaining a Scaffold Licence
- Written Consent
Before commencing any scaffolding work on or over a neighbouring property, written consent should be obtained from the neighbouring owner. Verbal consent is unlikely to be sufficient and can lead to costly legal disputes later on.
- Licence Agreement
The scaffold licence is typically a formal agreement between the developer and the property owner or occupier. It outlines the terms and conditions for the erection, maintenance, and removal of the scaffolding, as well as any related obligations or liabilities, including what is known as consideration (payment) for use of the land.
- Professional Advice
It is advisable to consult with legal professionals, such as solicitors and surveyors, to ensure that the legal requirements are met and that the interests of both parties are served. They can assist in drafting the scaffold licence and provide guidance on potential issues that may arise.
Key Considerations for Scaffold Licences
- Access and Safety
The scaffold licence should outline the necessary rights of access to the neighbouring property to enable the erection, maintenance, and dismantling of the scaffolding. It should also incorporate measures to ensure the safety of the neighbouring owner, occupiers, and workers involved.
- Insurance and Indemnity
The licence agreement often requires the developers and their contractors to maintain appropriate insurance coverage to protect against any potential damage or liability that may arise from the scaffolding work. It is important for both parties to review and understand the insurance provisions outlined in the agreement.
The issue of payment for the use of the neighbouring land will be addressed in the scaffold licence. This can include financial arrangements, such as regular monthly payments or a one-time fee, depending on the duration and extent of the scaffolding work.
Access to Neighbouring Land for Hoarding or Exclusion Zones:
In some instances, access to a neighbouring property for scaffolding purposes may be required without erecting scaffolding directly on the property itself. This could be limited to just a hoarding for instance or for exclusions zones. This may arise when the scaffolding needs to be placed close to the boundary or when there are physical constraints. In such cases, it is important to establish an access agreement with the property owner or occupier.
An access agreement generally covers similar considerations as a scaffold licence. This can include rights of access for instance, safety measures, insurance requirements, and any necessary compensation. The agreement should be set out in writing to avoid potential disputes or misunderstandings.
On larger commercial sites there is often a need to oversail a crane over neighbouring land.
This comes with its own considerations such as oversailing with or without loads, or will the crane be oversailing only when out of service (in free slew). As a neighbour owns the air space above their property, a licence or agreement is required to do this and will take a similar form to that mentioned above.
Other Relevant Acts of Law Relating to Access
There are two other primary Acts of Law that are relevant when gaining access to neighbouring land and enable access without a licence.
- Access under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996
Access rights are permitted without consideration payments and/or licence agreements when undertaking notifiable works the subject of this Act. More details of works under the Party Wall Act can be found throughout our website.
- Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992
Where works are being undertaken to preserve or restore an existing building (i.e not development work) then an application to the court can be made to gain a right of access over neighbouring land to undertake those works.
Scaffold Licence Conclusion
Licence agreements (be it for scaffold or any other means of access over neighbouring land) are essential when it comes to accessing neighbouring land for construction.
It is crucial to obtain consent. This is best secured by a detailed licence agreement prepared by suitably qualified professionals.
Once agreed, it is crucial that the parties adhere to the terms and conditions agreed to avoid legal disputes. By doing so, both the developer and the neighbouring property owner can protect their interests, ensure safety, and avoid potential conflicts. Professional advice is necessary to ensure robust agreements are prepared and to address any specific circumstances related to access to neighbouring land.
For more advice on access and scaffold issues please call our surveyors direct on 020 4534 3135.
If you want one of our team to call you please fill in our Contact form. We will give you a call back as soon as we can.
For a quick no obligation Party Wall Quote for your project send us the details of your planned work here.
Local Party Wall Surveyors
For details of a local surveyor to advise on Scaffold Licences or Access issues, see details of our teams in :
For advice direct from one of our Surveyors, please call our Enquiry line on 020 4534 3135.
If you are planning work that is covered by the Act, or if you have received notice of work from a neighbour and want advice on how best to protect your property please contact:
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