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