THE PARTY WALL etc. ACT 1996
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 protects you and your neighbour when works are undertaken to Party Walls. Under the Act, it is necessary for the Building Owner to obtain the Adjoining Owner’s consent; if that consent is not forthcoming the parties are deemed to be ‘in dispute’ under the Act and each Owner must appoint a surveyor so that a Party Wall Award can be agreed. The Act covers three distinct types of work and obligates the Building Owner to formally notify the Adjoining Owner if the building works include:
+ Work on an existing wall or structure shared with another property (section 2 of the Act)
+ Building a free standing wall or a wall of a building up to or astride the boundary with a neighbouring property (section 1 of the Act)
+ Excavating near a neighbouring building (section 6 of the Act)
The Party Wall Acts purpose is to mitigate against any loss or damage to the Adjoining Owners property, caused by the Building Owner’s actions. Damage or loss caused to an Adjoining Owner’s property, must be made good at the expense of the Building Owner. Before any damage is caused, it is prudent to create a detailed written and photographic Schedule of Condition of your property The Schedule of Condition is incorporated into the Party Wall Award, which is a legal document describing in detail the proposed works to be carried out, the working practices and the time periods within which the works are to be adhered to.
It is very exciting starting a new building project, you are happy with the plans, you have found a good builder and you have funds to go ahead to build your dream. The trouble is, many home owners do not realise that it is their responsibility, not the Local Authorities, to find out whether the work falls within the Party Wall Act and whether you need a party wall agreement, properly known as a "Party Wall Award". The good news is that the Party Wall Act is a facilitative law; it is intended to enable you to do the work required.
You can serve Notice on your neighbour, without employing a Party Wall Surveyor. It is very important that the Notices served upon your neighbour are valid. Land registry checks should be made on the adjoining property to ensure that the correct owners names are obtained for the Notices. Make sure that the correct notice is being served for the work proposed. Double and triple check that the notice is 100% correct, as a mistake may invalidate the notice that you serve and delay your building work!
I would always advise that you speak to your neighbour before serving the formal notice. Neighbours who feel they are being kept informed are far less likely to appoint a surveyor when a formal notice is served and often unnecessarily, run up a large bill for surveyor’s fees. If your neighbour consents in writing to your notice, you will be free to commence the work within the time frame agreed. It would be prudent to prepare a Schedule of Condition before the work commences and have that agreed by your neighbour; once the project is finished, check the Schedule of Condition with your neighbour, so that any damage caused can be easily identified.
I would look to save you time and money by advising on the correct procedure prior to the work commencing and on the best methods of construction to use; this latter area can often reduce the inconvenience to neighbours by opting for a less intrusive solution
If you are having difficulty understanding The Party Wall Act or you find that your hands are already full with managing your project, give me a call on 07799411110 or you can send me drawings on the contact form and I will call or email you back within 24 hours.
As the adjoining owner you are unlikely to directly benefit from your neighbour’s works; in fact, for a short period of time, you may experience some disruption to your daily life and it is possible that your home may suffer from damage as a result of the works. Therefore when you receive notice under the 1996 Act from the building owner, you should carefully consider how best to safeguard your home and your rights during the progress of the works.
You may only become aware of your neighbour’s plans, when a Party Wall Notice lands on your door mat. You have the option to either consent or dissent to a notice. If you do not agree in writing with the proposed building work, the Act provides for surveyors to be appointed, to ensure that works are undertaken correctly and will not cause damage to the your property. A document called a Party Wall Award is drawn up, stating the existing condition of the party wall or structure, the work to be carried out and who has financial responsibility for the works and any consequential damages that might be incurred.
You may not have received a Party Wall notice, but your next door neighbour’s builders have started work on or near your party wall. If you are concerned that they may cause damage to your property, I would recommend that you talk to them immediately; if work continues, you can either apply to the County Court to stop the works, or talk to me for advice and guidance.
I would look to save you time and money by checking that the notices served are valid and advising on the correct procedures and safest method of building prior to your neighbour's work commencing.
If you are having difficulty understanding The Party Wall Act or you find that your hands are already full with managing your project, give me a call on 07799 411110 or you can send me drawings on the contact form and I will aim to call or email you back within 24 hours.
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PARTY WALL SURVEYOR
Hello and welcome to my website.
I am a Party Wall Surveyor and a member of The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors: an independent organisation of specialist Party Wall surveyors. I have over 25 years experience in the London property market. During this time I have witnessed the problems property owners experience, juggling hectic work schedules and busy home lives with the demands of time consuming and often frustrating property issues.
I first came across the Party Wall Act early in my career, when a neighbour’s builder accidentally knocked a large hole in my client’s bathroom wall! From that instant I took a professional interest and since founding Party Wall Surveyor, I have acted for a diverse range of clients in owner occupation, rental investment and property development.
The majority of my business is via client referrals and personal recommendations and I have acted for many clients on numerous occasions. I also work with Landlords, Developers and Managing Agents providing Party Wall Surveying, property search and acquisition services. As a result I have a comprehensive knowledge of building pathology, defects and repairs and unusually for a Party Wall Surveyor, I recently built my house using my own bare hands
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