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Party Wall Act 

 

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (The Act) prevents construction work being undertaken by the Building Owner undermining the structural integrity of shared walls or neighbouring properties owned by the Adjoining Owner.  

The Act is also structured to avert and resolve potential disputes with neighbours.

 

Will it Affect my Plans to develop or Renovate my property?

 

If your property is a semi-detached, terrace, flat, basement or your detached home is sited within proximity to neighbouring houses, it might. Its all about distance.

 

The key element to determine are which walls constitute as ‘Party Walls’ and the type of work defined by the Act.

 

Walls and other built elements include:

  • floors and ceilings separating flats or terraces
  • shared boundary walls, such as those between semi-detached and terraced property
  • any other walls which touch the boundary are covered

Type of work

 

More extensive work is covered by the Act. This includes:

  • Inserting Steel beams into the Party wall to support a loft conversion
  • Underpinning the Party wall for whatever reason
  • Cutting into the Party wall to insert a damp-proof course
  • Raising or increasing the thickness of a Party wall
  • demolishing and rebuilding a Party Wall
  • extending above a storey which lies on the boundary
  • building a new wall for an extension, for example, up to or astride the boundary
  • excavation works for new foundations for any building  

 

  • Superficial tasks are not included in the Act such as:
  • fitting shelves
  • replastering
  • wallpapering
  • electrical rewiring

 

As a Building Owner If you plan to undertake any work covered by the Act, you will also have to give ‘Notice’ of the commencement of work to your Adjoining Owner.

 

How Do I Give ‘Notice’?

 

If your intending development is covered and defined by the Act, you give formal Notice setting out your intentions, to all the owners of every neighbouring property affected. This Notice will contain a site plan, section drawings of any foundation and/or loads any Party Wall will need to accommodate, along with structural calculations if applicable.

Remember to include all the key information, including:

  • the date the Notice is served
  • the date work will start and appropriate notice period
  • all parties’ names and addresses ideally obtained from the land registry
  • a description of the proposed work

 

We strongly recommend you appoint an experience Party wall Surveyor to undertake this matter and its actually easy to serve an invalid Notice and matters would have to recommence.

 

When Do I Need to Give Party Wall Notice?

 

The Notice periods are two months for structural modifications E.g. chimney breast removal, underpinning or a loft conversion.

 

Your neighbour will have 14 days to provide written approval or dissent. If they provide approval, your notice will be valid for a year to complete work.

  • If they dissent or fail to respond within 14 days, then you’re deemed to be in dispute with your neighbour under the Act.

 

What Happens if the Neighbours Object?

 

There are two options in a dissent situation. You can agree on an impartial Surveyor acting as the “Agreed” Surveyor or both the Building Owner and Adjoining Owner can appoint their own Surveyors.

 

The ‘Agreed surveyor’ or two surveyors will then prepare a Party Wall Award. This ‘Award’ covers:

 

  • details of the intended work
  • how the works will proceed
  • timings and working hours
  • implementing defined measures for preventing damage
  • agreement of surveyors’ fees
  • the current condition of the Adjoining Owners property recorded in a schedule of condition
  • most importantly, a clause detailing payment of costs if damage occurs.

 

To avoid complex pitfalls, delays, costs or unnecessary professional fees we recommend you appoint an experienced Party Wall Surveyor at the point of serving or receiving Notice.

 

If we are appointed as the Adjoining Owner Surveyor our services are free of any charge.

 

If you require us to act as the Building Owners Surveyor of indeed as the “Agreed” Surveyor you can obtain a quotation Here.

At Certified Building Surveyors we have a six strong team specialising in Party Wall matters in an independent and impartial manner.

 

If you have any questions or need advice don’t hesitate to call us on 0207 118 4331

 

To contact us my email or ask a question Click Here 

 

To request a quotation Click Here 

 

 

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