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We often get asked a lot of questions in regards to Party Wall agreements, so we thought we would list a few below in order to help you.

If you are the Building Owner, you can expect to cover the following costs in line with the Party Wall Act:

  • The appointment of your Surveyor.
  • The appointment of your neighbours’ Surveyor, should they wish to appoint one.
  • Potential Structural Engineers’ fees
  • The costs to rectify any damage caused to the neighbouring property as a result of your building works.

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Yes, if any of the following statements are true:

  • You are doing work to an existing party wall or shared structure, including your chimney
  • You intend to build on, or close to, the boundary line.
  • You intend to alter a party structure.
  • You are excavating within 3 meters of a building or structure (depending on the depth of the foundations you may need to obtain specialist advice).
  • You are building further away from a building or structure and excavation is required. In the scenarios above, the Party Wall etc Act 1996 is likely to be triggered. You should appoint a Chartered Surveyor experienced in Party Wall matters to assist in this regard.

If you are doing work which triggers the party wall act, it is strongly advised to provide the appropriate written notice to the adjoining owners / occupiers. This includes works affecting the floor or ceiling where you have someone living above or below your property (as applicable).

If you start work without your neighbours’ consent, your neighbours may take court action or seek other legal redress to stop the work. If you do not have a Party Wall Award and Schedule of Condition in place you may also be liable for claims for damages to your neighbour’s property which may not have been caused by the works to your property.

You should look to appoint a Party Wall Surveyor at least 3 months before starting the proposed building work. It can take less time than this to complete the administration of the Party Wall Agreement, however this will allow plenty of time to be confident that all Party Wall procedures have been completed before works commence.

If you start works before the Party Wall Agreement has been completed and your neighbour objects to this, they could take you to court and stop the works from going ahead. The result of this is often very expensive, especially if you have already contracted a builder.

The Building Owner will usually pay all costs associated with drawing up the Award. If the works are solely for the benefit of the Building Owner, this also includes the Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor fees.

However, there are certain circumstances where the work is necessary due to defect or repair where the Surveyor may decide who pays the fees for drawing up the Award. This will be based on the responsibility of the defect / repair.

A Party Wall Notice is valid for 12 months, therefore should not be served too far ahead of your planned start date. However, it is important to note that you must provide the Adjoining Owner with at least 2 months’ notice before any works start in most cases.

No, works involving a party wall can only commence once Notice of the works has been served, and written agreement from the Adjoining Owner has been received, meaning that a Party Wall Award cannot be applied retrospectively.

An Adjoining Owner is anyone that will be affected by the party wall works and has an interest greater than a 12 month (year-to-year) tenancy in the neighbouring property.

If the property is occupied by a long-term tenant or Leasehold owner, you will need to notify them as well as the Freehold owner.

You will need to provide a written Notice, which can be delivered either personally or by post at least 2 months prior to the planned start date of the works.

The Notice needs to clearly state that it is a Notice under the provisions of the Party Wall Ace, and has to include your name and address, we well as the address of the works if this is different.

You will also need to provide a detailed plan of the proposed works, together with a project schedule, indicating how the works will affect the neighbouring property. An informal discussion with the Adjoining Owner(s) prior to serving the formal Notice may help the process along, as this provides an opportunity for any potential issues to be discussed and resolved prior to giving consent.

Once the Party Wall Notice has been served, the Adjoining Owner should respond in writing within 14 days. If the Adjoining Owner fails to respond within 14 days, this is considered as a Party Wall dispute. Should the Adjoining Owner require any amendments to the works plans, they should provide you with a counter notice detailing their requested alterations.

If an Adjoining Owner does not consent to the works, they will need to appoint a Surveyor to act on their behalf to negotiate the terms for the Award. They may seek to appoint the same Surveyor as the Building Owner, known as the Agreed Surveyor. Alternatively, they may wish to appoint their own Surveyor, known as the Adjoining Owner Surveyor.

A Party Wall Award will state the works to be carried out, as well as the terms that have been agreed regarding how the work is conducted, e.g. hours of work, health and safety legislations, environmental protection laws.

The Party Wall Award will also include a Schedule of Condition report, documenting the condition of the high risk areas of the adjoining property prior to works commencing. This ensures that any damage caused by the works can be identified and made good once the works have completed.

According to the Party Wall etc Act 1996, the Party Wall award should resolve any dispute. However, if either party objects to its terms, they can raise an appeal within 14 days of the date of the Award at the County Court. It’s important to be aware that if the appeal is overturned, you may be liable for the Building Owner’s costs, as well as any costs resulting from delays to the work.

A Surveyor will help to protect your interests by preparing a Schedule of Condition. This records the condition of the areas likely to be affected by the works prior to works commencing, so that in the event of any damage being caused by the works, this can be made good without dispute. The Schedule of Condition protects both parties from unfair claims for remedial works.

The Surveyor will also negotiate the terms to be included within the Party Wall Award, such as working hours, access, safeguarding against damage, etc.

Yes. If you have not received consent from your Adjoining Owner(s) then your work should stop immediately. You could be penalised for any work already completed.

If the work has not yet been completed, do not commence work until the required consent has been received to cover the remaining work.

No, any work covered by the Party Wall Act cannot commence until the Party Wall Award has been finalised and served.

If both parties are happy to proceed without a Schedule of Condition, works can commence without this. However, if either party would like for a Schedule of Condition to be carried out, this can be completed prior to commencing works. A schedule of Condition is always recommended, as it protects both parties from potential unfair claims for remedial works.

Consent to the Notice

This option means that you agree to the proposed works without a Party Wall Award being required. You are still protected by the Party Wall etc Act 1996 should a dispute arise.
We always advise that if you Consent to the Notice, that you do so subject to a Schedule of Condition being undertaken, as this will record the condition of the potentially affected areas, prior to the work commencing.

Dissent to the Notice

This option means that you would like a Party Wall Award to be agreed prior to works commencing. A Surveyor will need to be appointed to act on your
behalf to agree the terms of the Party Wall Award. The Surveyor’s reasonable fees will normally be paid by the Building Owner.

If you dissent, you have two further options:

  • Use the same Surveyor as the Building Owner (Agreed Surveyor)
  • Appoint your own Surveyor (Adjoining Owner Surveyor)

Agreed Surveyor

If you choose to use the same Surveyor as the Building Owner, The Party Wall etc Act 1996 is devised in such a way that a Surveyor appointed by both parties is required to act impartially to administer the rights and duties of both owners.

Adjoining Owner Surveyor
You may prefer to appoint your own Surveyor to act of your behalf.

Dissenting to the Notice does not mean that you disagree with the proposed works, only that you would like a Party Wall Award to be agreed prior to works commencing. If you disagree with the proposed works, you should contact your Local Planning Authority. Not responding will not delay the proposed works.

Unfortunately, as an Adjoining Owner / Occupier, you are expected to tolerate “reasonable disturbance”, however the Building Owner also has a responsibility to conduct their works without causing unnecessary inconvenience. The works must be completed within the terms of the Party Wall Award as well as health and safety legislation, and environmental protection laws, pre-agreed working hours, machinery to be used etc.

If you suffer a quantifiable loss as a result of such works, you may be eligible for compensation, e.g. if the affected property is a business and customers can no longer enter.

The Building Owner will usually pay all costs associated with drawing up the Award. If the works are solely for the benefit of the Building Owner, this also includes the Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor fees.

However, there are certain circumstances where the work is necessary due to defect or repair where the Surveyor may decide who pays the fees for drawing up the Award. This will be based on the responsibility of the defect / repair.

Yes, under the Party Wall Act an Adjoining Owner cannot prevent the works by denying access.

If work works cannot be completed any other way, you are required to grant access. However, the Building Owner must provide appropriate notice (normally 14 days), unless it is an emergency e.g. a burst pipe.

Where major work is being undertaken that affects a party wall or adjoining structure, it is a legal requirement for the Building Owner to seek consent from the Adjoining Owner.

If Notice of the works has not been provided, you may wish to take action to stop the works. This involves applying for an injunction from the County Court. It is important to take legal advice before taking this step, as if the judge finds that the Building Owner is not acting unlawfully you may be liable for any costs incurred as a result of the injunction, including the Building Owner’s legal fees and any costs resulting from the delays to the work.

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Let Archway give you complete peace of mind by helping ensure your renovation or building project can move forward smoothly, neighbourly and without delay.

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