Party Wall Guidance 

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Being served with a legal notice of intended works to an Adjoining Owner of the property by the Building Owner can seem daunting. Having to issue a legal notice to a neighbour can feel like a heavy task too. Without knowing what to do next, it can often seem like you are in the dark. The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (the Act) can be confusing for some professionals let alone the general public.

If you are served with a notice you should consult an experienced Party Wall Surveyor immediately to resolve any issues developing between neighbours. At this early stage its crucial to ensuring the process runs smoothly, and the Act provides a framework to achieve this goal.

Whilst the Act is in place to protect both the Building Owner and the Adjoining Owners and in fact all parties involved including leaseholders and some long-term tenants. The terminology and specifics of the Act can be difficult to navigate without the right knowledge.

Talking to a seasoned professional can help you make the right decisions, with a clear outline of what to do next. We are here to help all initial advice is free always.

At Certified Building Surveyors our team of six experienced Party Wall surveyors are ready to guide you through the ins and outs of the Act.

We specialise in the Act and are on hand to offer clear, impartial advice and guidance specific to your needs.

If you are planning to carry out works you must serve a notice upon your neighbours, we will help you through the process from start to finish.

We will make sure you are equipped with the right knowledge to move on to the next step.

If you have received a notice from a neighbour and need some advice, our expert team can answer any questions you may have related to the Act, what your rights are and where you stand. It is important to have professional advice when you need it most.

The Party Wall Award 

A Party Wall Award is a legally binding document drafted by a Party Wall Surveyor. A Building Owner cannot act as his own Surveyor even if he has suitable qualifications the Act does not allow that involvement. The Award sets out the rights and responsibilities of the Building Owner instigating the development works.

The Party Wall Surveyor can act as an “Agreed” Surveyor for all parties or as the Building Owners Surveyor working with the Adjoining Owners Surveyor to jointly agreed the Award. The Award describes the works to be carried out that relate to notifiable works under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (the Act).

The Award sets out the timing and manner of the proposed works and can include drawings, method statements, structural calculations, details of loadings or excavations.

The Act provides the Building Owner is responsible to make good any damage caused by his contractors to the Adjoining Owners property. This can be a sum of money determined by the Surveyor of being allowed to make good the damage himself. Although not even mentioned in the Act it is best practice to include a schedule of condition of the Adjoining Owners property in the Award. This document describes the current condition of the Party wall before works commence and is accompanied by digital images of any relevant areas. 

The schedule of condition then acts as a point of reference if notifiable works cause damage to the Adjoining Owners property.

Because the Award is a legal document, we recommend the Award is stored in a safe place ideally with the title Deeds of the property. The Award is both a useful reference to the works undertaken, and some Awards provide permission for future works to be financially accountable as well as identifying which ownership instigated them.   

A retrospective Award can only be served if no notices for notifiable works have been served under the Act and in the event, damage has been caused to the Adjoining Owners property.

Transparent Pricing

Our unbeatable fees for Party Wall Surveyor appointments are:

£49.00 + VAT Per Notice. 

£350.00 + VAT Per Schedule of Condition (alone, discounts for packages).

£395.00 + VAT Per Award. Without a Schedule of Condition. 

 

For a written formal quotation normally in minutes Click Here.   

 

Working as the "Agreed Surveyor" our fees are:

One Adjoining Owner £695.00 + VAT to include Notice, Schedule of condition and Award. 

Two Adjoining Owners £895.00 + VAT to include Notice, Schedule of condition and Award. 

Three Adjoining Owners £1095.00 + VAT to include Notice, Schedule of condition and Award. 

Four Adjoining Owners £1295.00 + VAT to include Notice, Schedule of condition and Award. 

These prices are for any project large or small and include all Notices, Surveys and Awards. There are no extras. But exclude basements.

All undertaken by professionally qualified and insured Party Wall Surveyors.

These prices include our RICS Surveyors and Chartered Consultants.   

Dissents to notices are costed at £200.00 + VAT Each.  

Terms:

50% Deposit by Pay Pal, Credit Card or bank transfer. Protection under section 75 the consumer credit act applies.

50% on completion by bank transfer only. 

 

To contact us my email or ask a question Click Here 

To request a quotation Click Here 

Telephone us on 0207 1180 039 

 

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Our Expert Party Wall Services          0207 1180 039    9 x 9 x 7 Days Week                    Text 07842 844156                         info@ricspartywallsurveyors.com         

We are still Surveying and protecting our Appointing Owners see update.  

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We are Certified Building Surveyors and property consultants. Our core business being all matters pertaining to the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (the Act).

We cover the whole of London, Essex, Hertfordshire, Surrey, Kent, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire with a team of six dedicated specialist full time Party Wall Surveyors.

A competitive quotation can be obtained in minutes by Clicking Here.

We accept appointments both as the Building Owners Surveyor and Adjoining Owners Surveyor or as the “Agreed Surveyor” for all parties.

All our Surveyors are vastly experienced in Party Wall matters, all having at least five years experience pursuant of Act and all holding a minimum of a University degree in Building Surveying. We have two Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) available for more complex central London projects who specialise in basement excavations and conversions. We also have a full time Structural Engineer. 

Collectively our Party Wall Surveyors have published over 30,000 Awards being regularly  appointed by many local Councils and retained Architects.  

The Building Owner’s property is always their principle asset and when it comes to structural changes things can go wrong. So, protecting your asset by appointing a Party Wall expert is fundamental.

Some straightforward advice and correct documentation provides all parties with clarity and understanding of what is a complicated piece of legislation the Act can be.

If you or your neighbour are considering excavation works or indeed making structural modifications at the Party Wall you must serve a formal notice under the Act and employing a Party Wall expert to undertake the service of notice or indeed to deal with any notice received from your neighbour could not be more important. 

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What’s your situation?

Whether you are the Building Owner (the person carrying out the works) or the Adjoining Owner (the neighbour affected by the works) you can simply contact us here to receive a formal quotation. If you are the Adjoining Owner there is no fee, and our fee will be paid by the Building Owner as in accordance to the Act.

“I am planning the building works”

There are essential steps:

Notify your neighbours

The Act requires you as the Building Owner to formally serve the Adjoining Owner notice of the intended works. There is specific information that you need to include within the notice. If you incorrectly serve a notice it will be deeded invalid and the process will have to be recommenced. This will cause delay. The simplest way to achieve the correct documentation is to contact us for a discussion or a formal quotation. We serve notices from £49.00 + VAT. 

When to serve notice upon your neighbour 

We recommend that formal notification is served eight weeks before the proposed works are due to commence. Once served the neighbours have 14 days to respond they can:

A) Consent. In most cases this is unlikely.

B) Dissent and agree to the appointment of a shared “Agreed Surveyor”. This is the most popular option as it keeps the Building Owners costs to a minimum. This is of course especially important as you live next to each other.

C) Dissent and appoint their own Surveyor at the Building Owners cost. This option is normally use in aggravated situations such as keen opposition to the development itself.

What you should Expect

Scenario one: The Adjoining Owner Consents

In our experience, if the nature or scope of the works is simple, your neighbour may consent. Such simple works could be re-pointing a chimney stack. 

Scenario two: The Adjoining Owner consents with conditions

If the situation is more complex such as foundation excavations or inserting Steel beams into a shared Party Wall the neighbour may consent but request a schedule of condition of his property undertaken by a professional Surveyor. 

The Party Wall Surveyor will conduct a physical survey of all relevant areas to the intended works and record digital images. In most situation the cost will be meet by the Building Owner. 

Scenario three: The Adjoining Owner dissents and requests an Award.

If the Adjoining Owner fails to provide unconditional consent according to the Act this situation is deemed as a “dispute” requiring Surveyors to be appointed under section 10 (1) of the Act.

This situation is nothing more than a conditional consent requiring an Award to be produced. An experienced Party wall Surveyor will advise to the nature of content they can expect to be included within the Award. Typically, the Award will include the scope of the intended works and detailing conditions such as noise, security, timescales, access, details of compensation in the event the Building Owner damages the Adjoining Owners property undertaking the intended works. 

There are of course complex situations such as basement excavations and more often the Adjoining Owners Surveyor will make a request for Security for expenses under section 12 (1) of the Act. The sum requested is often large any typically between £10,000 and £100,000 depending on location and size of the project.

Avoiding Delays

When undertaking lesser complex projects, delays can be avoided by both parties agreeing to the appointment of an independent specialist Party Wall Surveyor as the “Agreed Surveyor” under section 10 (1) (a) of the Act. 

On more complex projects both the Building Owner and Adjoining Owner will need to appoint their own Surveyors under section 10 (1) (b). The Building Owners Surveyor will need the facility of a structural Engineer and the Adjoining Owners will appoint a checking Engineer. We have our own in house structural Engineer for these situations keeping the Building Owners costs to a minimum.  

Working together

Our function in straightforward situations is to act as an impartial Party Wall Surveyors referred to as the “Agreed Surveyor” under the Act. We ensure all the fundamental design elements of the project are complete and in place. We also undertake the pre-work schedule of condition.

Finally, we will draft the Party Wall Award with common sense conditions to avoid damage and unreasonable disruption whilst maintaining security and privacy for the Adjoining Owner during the duration of the indented development works.  

“The Building Owner is to commence building works”

Expect to be served with formal notice 

At this stage you should have received a formal Party wall Notice from the building Owner. The notices will detail the scope of works within the boundary between the two properties. You will receive any excavation notice under section 1 or 6 of the Act at least one month before the intending works commence. The notice period for structural modifications under section 2 of the Act is two months before works are due to commence.

Appoint a specialist Party Wall Surveyor

The Party wall Act is there to protect your property from potential damage and regardless of your relationship with your neighbour, there is risk involved with any development they undertake. They are employing a builder you have no relationship with and these situations can be tricky.

In these situations, it’s prudent you always appoint your own experienced Party Wall Surveyor to protect your interests. Our services in this situation are free of any charge. Our fees in most cases are covered by the Building Owner.

Consent and Dispute explained

The Act requires you to respond to any formal Party Wall notices within 14 days of its service. You may consent but this gives away all your legal rights under the Act leaving you without any protection. We recommend you never consent but appoint a specialist Party Wall Surveyor upon receipt of any Party Wall Notice. 

You can contact us by telephone on 0207 1180 039 or here.

Request a Quotation Here. 

 

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