Special foundations are defined as foundations containing an assemblage of beams or rods for the purpose of distributing load. Although this is a reference to a particular type of foundation known as grillage foundations which commonly encroached on other adjoining properties in the 1930s, today, special foundations are commonly held to mean concrete underpinning containing steel reinforcing bars i.e. normal reinforced concrete which does not, in the main, encroach or trespass onto adjoining land. A building owner does not have a right to underpin a party wall using ‘special foundations’ and consent to do so may be withheld by the adjoining owner. There is no recourse for the building owner in the event of consent being withheld.
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