A small Party Wall Surveying consultancy with over 30 years construction experience.
I am a member of The Chartered Institute of Builders (MCIOB) and The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors (MFPWS)
I act for building and adjoining owners in both residential and commercial buildings, in London and the South East of England.
Formed to help owners planning building work, to manage their duties under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 and at the same time, help to provide protection for effected adjoining neighbours.
As an experienced Chartered Surveyor & Project Manager I am frequently being asked to recommend Party Wall Surveyors or see clients being persuaded down a Party Wall route they do not understand.
I set up the business to provide guidance in trying to find common ground with neighbours, to offer advice in using the Act and helping to protect you against expensive legal action.
My knowledge working as a Construction Project Manager coupled with an understanding the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 allows me to provide experienced, practical and economic service.
We also act as Construction Project Managers, where there is not a conflict of interest.
You may chose to appoint a surveyor to agree the award (Paid for by the building owner carrying out the work) which should include a property condition schedule
Normally steelwork and pad-stones are built into the party wall or party structure and require notice under the Act
Working on a chimney breast? Frequently this requires that notice is served under the Act
If excavating within 3 or 6 meters of a neighbouring property, you will likely be required to serve notice under the Act
Underpinning a party wall or extending a basement within a certain distance of a party wall will require notice under the Act
The main types of party walls/structures are;
· A wall standing on the lands of 2 (or more) different owners and forms part of a building. (E.g. The middle wall in a terrace house)
· A wall that is on one owner’s land, but is used by two (or more.) owners, to separate their buildings. (E.g. A boundary building.)
- A party fence wall - a wall not forming part of a building, standing on land belonging to different owners. (E.g. A garden wall, although not a timber fence.)
A party structure - this could be a wall or floor partition, or other structure, separating buildings or parts of buildings in different ownership. (E.g. In a building divided int flats.)
The Party Wall etc. Act of 1996 provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes, in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.
A building owner proposing to start work covered by the Act must give adjoining owners notice of their intentions in the way set down in the Act. Adjoining owners can agree or disagree with what is proposed. Where they disagree, the Act provides a mechanism for resolving disputes.
The Act is separate from obtaining planning permission or building regulations approval.
A legal document between the building and adjoining owner, some typical examples of what may be included within:-
I am very happy to have an initial discussion and review at no cost - we are here to help humanity!
Under the Act you have a number of options, very briefly summarised;**
1. Give Consent to the Party Wall Notice
The first and most straightforward option is to simply give consent for the proposed works to go ahead as planned. You must give your consent in writing that you allow work to continue as agreed. This will most likely be the case if works are minor, the works are not expected to affect your property and you are experienced enough to make this judgement.
However, if you are not experienced we would advise you should engage the services or at least have a conversation with a party wall surveyor first.
For example we may advise issue of a schedule of condition, which may form part of an award under the act. (This involves a surveyor assessing your property, taking pictures, and noting its condition before works proceed. This will make sure your neighbour is held responsible for any damages that occur to your property and minimise potential disputes later.)
2. Refuse Consent & appoint a suitably qualified person (Such as a Party Wall Surveyor) which starts a dispute resolution process under the Act. (It should be noted that the building owner is responsible for the cost of your surveyor, provided the Act is followed.)
You can also agree to the surveyor suggested by the building owner, but this surveyor must be one who will work impartially and independently in the best interests of both parties to settle the dispute.
It is also possible that the owner and the neighbour can appoint an agreed surveyor together.
The two surveyors or agreed surveyor will draw up a Party Wall Award, which is a legal document that generally states what work should happen, how and when works are carried out, and who pays for each part. The award details proposed works, plans, structural details and makes sure work will not affect your property, and determines what happens if your property is damaged.
The surveyor(s) will usually issue a schedule of condition in which they will visit your property and agree a record of the condition before the work commences so any damages can be resolved professionally.
If these two surveyors cannot agree on a suitable party wall award, the document will be decided by an impartial third surveyor.
If the notice is not responded to in 14 days?
If you do not reply to the party wall notice within 14 days, this is considered a dispute under the Act and the building owner will appoint a surveyor to act on your behalf. (Again the building owner will pay for this surveyors costs)
**This is a brief summary and we strongly advise speaking with ourselves or another suitably qualified person.
Normally the building owner is responsible for the costs of the appointed Party Wall Surveyor and the surveyor appointed by or for neighbours, as determined within the Act.
Typical costs as follows;
- issuing a notice is between £95 and £150*
- Condition survey between £300 and £600*
- An Award between £650 and £1200*
*Depending on complexity of the planned works
There are no fines or penalties under the act however it is possible that the adjoining owner could chose to apply to the court and have an injunction served in order that you will stop work - it is likely that expensive and lengthy proceedings would then follow.
Generally this type of work would be considered to be minor and such works would not need to be notified under the Act
A quick review of works will determine.
The surveyors prepare the award, which is a legal document between the two owners. The surveyors normally meet at the property and prepare a schedule of condition (although not a requirement of the Act). The schedule of condition assists all parties as any damage that may be caused can be checked against it and compensation awarded if required.
Under section 1 of the Act, if you wish to build a new wall on the line of junction, you will have the right only to build on your own land.
In respect of a notice served under sections 2 and 6 of the Act, if there is no reply to the notice after 14 days then a dispute is deemed to have arisen and you and your neighbour must appoint a surveyor. If your neighbour fails to respond then after giving a further ten days to reply, you may appoint a surveyor on his behalf
Normally the building owner, carrying out the works, would pay the fees, (known as costs) as he is the one undertaking the works, usually for his benefit. This normally includes the fees for the surveyor appointed by the neighbour. (Provided done so in accordance with the Act.) However, the surveyors will make the final determination.
Common Law rights are restricted by this Act where the Act would take precedence on any matter for which it makes provision. Any other rights, easements or covenants for example, are not affected
The Act is not there to resolve such matters and the surveyors do not have any power to do so.
Practically speaking in the event that the boundary is not agreed the Act cannot be applied until the matter is resolved. This would not apply in the case of a section 6 notice, which only deals with an excavation within a certain distance of the adjoining owner’s building or structure, and in this case the position of the boundary is irrelevant
Herne Hill, SE24 9QL, Lambeth, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom