In simple terms a party wall sits astride a boundary to land belonging to 2 or more different owners and forms part of a building on one or both properties. A wall which sits astride the boundary but does not form part of a building is actually a Party Fence Wall for the purpose of the Act. The term Party Structure is also utilized in the Act. A floor structure separating flats is just one example of a Party Structure.
When does the Party Wall Act apply? The Act will apply when: Various works are completed for an existing Party Wall or Party Structure. New buildings or structures are erected as much as or sat astride the boundary line. Excavations are completed as much as 6 metres of any structure over a neighbouring property which have the potential to undermine the foundations of this structure.
So the Act pertains to my works, what exactly do I do now? If the Act applies you may be obliged to serve a Party Wall Notice on the neighbour, setting out information on the works on hand and providing key information like plans, proposed commencement dates etc. With regards to adjacent excavations you may have to provide specialist specifics of foundations. You will be obliged to offer your neighbours between 1 and 2 months notice of commencement of work depending on which area of the Act applies.
What will happen if my neighbour objects to my Party Wall Notice? The Act gives you the right to complete various focus on or across the boundary line so provided your works are protected by the Act your neighbour’s objection cannot stop you going ahead and definitely will mean that you will be obliged to follow the Dispute procedure lay out under Section 10 of the Act. This requires one to appoint a Party Wall Surveyor to do something on your behalf. Your neighbour has the right to appoint their own surveyor or they may agree inside the appointment of any single ‘Agreed’ surveyor. Where building surveyors maidstone are appointed they will likely agree on the appointment of the third surveyor to adjudicate/referee where the two surveyors cannot agree.
The surveyor prepares the Agreement/Award which sets out your rights and obligations of both parties and includes a Schedule of Condition of the neighbouring property to record its condition before works start. You’re probably interested in this article because you’re about to carry out a construction project, or perhaps your neighbour is. It might be a little extension or loft conversion, or something that is on a larger scale. The act doesn’t consider size it only works on principal. The initial aspect is of course to find out whether the act is relevant to start with.
Should you be in every doubt it is always wise to seek professional advice and in many instances the position is not really white and black. In crude terms however, a Party wall is a structure shared by two neighbours which would include boundary walls or fences and also the walls to a building. Perhaps in connection with this the title from the act is a bit misleading and over this, additionally, it can be applicable should you propose to create a wall or building on land where no wall or physical boundary currently exists.
In a modern environment where most properties will be in close proximity to one another it really is generally the case the act will end up applicable during any construction project which involves digging foundations near to your boundary line. Additionally, it can be applicable for loft conversions or building refurbishments where the party wall is not really being altered, but support is necessary from the wall for steel supports or suspended timber floors or ceilings etc. In conjunction, it could enter into play for work that you would feel is minor, including cutting into a wall to insert a weatherproof detail or flashing.
Because you will have deduced the act is far ranging and it is most of the time applicable once you execute construction work near to neighbouring buildings / land. My advice would be to consult a surveyor that has party wall experience if you are unsure. Most surveyors would be willing to give some free advice on the phone and if the project is local in their mind, you cexhhr often find that they will provide you with a free visit to assess your specific project in the hope that, in the event the act is relevant you may appoint them to undertake the role for you personally.
Certainly within my professional experience as a chartered building surveyor I give free advice on a regular basis with the hope it will lead to an instruction. You can find surveyors that will charge regardless but the key, as usual would be to agree a scope of service and any fee in advance in order to avoid confusion. You already know that you stand. What exactly is a Party Wall Agreement/Award? It is a written document prepared through the surveyor detailing the rights and obligations in the owners. The contents are agreed from the survey and upon completion the Agreement is served on the owners. It is a legally binding document which may be enforced through the County Court where necessary.