What is a Party Wall Award?
The process and requirements of a Party Wall Award are as set out in the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. A Party Wall Award is an arrangement made between a minimum of 2 neighbouring occupiers prior to the commencement of construction/building work which is to be undertaken to a party border or structure, or where works are being undertaken in close proximity to a party limit or structure. There are three main kinds of work which need a Party Wall Property surveyor to conduct a Party Wall Award and these are:
- Line of junction (building a new wall on or along with a limit).
- Party Structure Works (works to an existing party wall such as cutting into, reconstructing, thickening and so on).
- Surrounding Excavation (excavations to a lower level within either 3m or 6m of an existing building).
In London and across the UK, our knowledgeable commercial structure surveyors perform a series of professional surveying services including Party Wall Surveys (Party Wall Awards). At Commercial Structure Surveyors we conduct Party Wall Studies by skilled and professional Party Wall Surveyors throughout the UK.
Party Wall (WikiPedia)
A party wall (occasionally parti-wall or parting wall, also known as common wall or as a demising wall) is a dividing partition between two adjoining buildings that is shared by the occupants of each residence or business. Typically, the builder lays the wall along a property line dividing two terraced houses, so that one half of the wall’s thickness lies on each side. This type of wall is usually structural. Party walls can also be formed by two abutting walls built at different times. The term can be also used to describe a division between separate units within a multi-unit apartment complex. Very often the wall in this case is non-structural but designed to meet established criteria for sound and/or fire protection, i.e. a firewall.
Party Wall Act
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is a making it possible for Act, insofar as it gives the owner of a property the legal right to carry out particular works that might otherwise make up trespass or nuisance.
Nevertheless, it likewise looks for to secure the interests of adjoining owners from any possibly unfavorable impacts that such works might have by enforcing a requirement that all adjoining owners be offered prior notification of them.
In addition, the Act provides for an obligatory conflict resolution procedure moderated by a statutorily appointed property surveyor or surveyors if neighbouring owners have issues about the application of any proposition so informed.
Particularly, such notice must be served where the owner of a residential or commercial property (referred to as ‘the structure owner’) plans to undertake any building and construction work explained in Sections 1, 2 and 6 of the Act. Note that it is just those works that are covered by the Act and the scope is limited to the following:
- Area 1 applies where it is proposed to set up a new wall at a border that is not currently built on.
- Section 2 issues existing party structures, which include party floorings, walls and partitions (that different buildings or parts of structures), party fence walls (basically a boundary wall between lands in different ownership which is constructed astride a boundary) and, in some instances, a neighbour’s independent residential or commercial property.
- Area 6 can apply to excavations as much as 6 m away from a structure or structure on neighbouring land, subject to depth criteria which the Act sets out.
The information that Observes should offer in regard of works covered the above sections is various in each case. The requirements of Area 1 and Section 6 Notices are set out in those areas however the requirements of a Notification connecting to Area 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. It is necessary to note that the validity of any notification not offering all the relevant info or served in the inaccurate manner, could be available to challenge in Court.
There is no basic type of Notification although many individuals utilize those published by the RICS or versions appended to the explanatory booklet issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Nevertheless, provided all the details required by the pertinent area of the Act exists, an easy letter would be equally valid.
Depending on the situations of any given project there may be more than one adjoining owner on whom discover requirements to be served in respect of the very same work and, in the case of deep excavations, an Adjacent Owner may be aside from an immediate neighbour. It is constantly more effective to go over the desired deal with adjacent owners prior to serving them with official composed notice – a proposition well described might reduce concerns adequate to prevent a disagreement arising and prevent the requirement to appoint property surveyors.
There are 2 exceptions where the requirement to serve notice might be prevented:
- De minimis works: The government’s explanatory brochure says that some works on a party wall might be so minor that service of notice under the Act would be normally considered as not needed and give as examples works unlikely to affect the structural strength or assistance functions of a party structure or cause damage to the neighbours side of it, such as re-plastering, shallow chasing for electrical wiring or placing power sockets, and screws to support shelves, kitchen cupboards, and so forth.
- Works under Area 2 of the Act supplied that written authorization is gotten from all Adjoining Owners and Occupiers prior to work commences.
The 3 types of Notice are known, respectively as:
- Area 1: Line of Junction Notice
- Area 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notification
- Area 6: Notification of Adjacent Excavation
A party structure notice need to be served a minimum of two months before the date on which it is proposed to start that work. The other two notifications need to be served a minimum of one month prior to work beginning.
The obligatory details which Observes must contain are as follows:
- Line of Junction Notice:
- An indication of the structure owner’s desire to build a wall.
- A description of the wall.
- Party Structure Notice:
- The name and address of the building owner.
- The nature and details of the proposed work.
- The date on which the proposed work will start.
- Notification of Adjacent Excavation:
- An indicator of the building owner’s proposals.
- A declaration as to whether the building owner proposes to underpin or otherwise enhance or secure the structures of the structure or structure of the adjacent owner.
- Accompanying strategies and areas revealing: a) the website and depth of any excavation the structure owner proposes to make; b) if he proposes to put up a building or structure, its site.
Most of the pro-forma notices in use include the following information as a matter of course regardless of the type of notice:
- The date of the notification.
- If different), the name and addresses of both the structure and adjacent owners (and the addresses of the homes being worked on/affected.
- A statement regarding the commencement of works relative to the proper notification duration.
- An advisory note explaining what takes place if the recipient actively dissents from the works or stops working to react within 2 week.
Section 10 of the Act states that where an adjacent owner does not authorization in writing to works informed by the structure owner under Areas 3 and 6, both parties should either settle on the visit of a single property surveyor to act for both of them (called the Agreed Property Surveyor), or each select their own property surveyor, to identify by award matters in dispute between the parties.
Where a task is straightforward, this might only include consideration of the time and manner in which those works are to be performed. In more complex schemes, thought will have to be provided to a commensurately greater number of elements and undoubtedly appointed surveyors have the statutory jurisdiction to make an award in respect of any matter gotten in touch with any work to which the act relates.
The same procedure is used to fix any subsequent disputes between neighbouring owners that may develop in relation to the alerted works, including any loss or damage suffered by an adjacent owner as a result of their execution.
Inactiveness on the part of the adjoining owner does not stop the statutory process. A dispute can develop by an adjacent owner actively dissenting, that is, communicating to the building owner an objection in regard of some matter arising out of or incidental to the works – the ways of making that objection are not important, however if he remains quiet, neither dissenting nor consenting for a period of 14 days after having been served with a Notification under either Section 3 or Area 6, the Act deems a dissent to have actually occurred in any event.
There is no considered dissent provision in Section 1 of the Act. A legitimate dispute can still occur, and surveyors be selected in accordance with Section 10, in respect of works alerted under that area but only as regards actual dissent on specific grounds. An adjoining owner’s factors for disputing Area 2 and Area 6 works are rarely specified prior to the appointment of property surveyors and in most cases not even then.
Where dissent has actually arisen, whether real or considered, both owners are legally required to select a concurred property surveyor or, if they can not collectively settle on a single person, a surveyor each and if asked for to make such an appointment by the other party, need to do so within 10 days of the demand being served. Failure to comply, immediately provides the owner making the demand the statutory authority to appoint a surveyor on behalf of the recalcitrant party. This treatment is set out in section 10( 4) of the Act.
Where 2 property surveyors are selected, they are required to agree upon the choice, in composing, of a 3rd surveyor who might be called upon by either of the property surveyors or either of the parties to figure out the challenged matters and make the needed award. The third property surveyor is never ever designated by anybody but the Act offers the individual so selected the very same statutory powers as the two property surveyors.
3rd property surveyors are most commonly hired where the two property surveyors have actually reached an impasse in their deliberations over some specific point and often this can be in regard on the reasonableness of the charges of the surveyor selected by the adjacent owner. Hardly ever will a 3rd property surveyor be asked to draw up an award in respect of the whole works however might join with one or other of the two surveyors to do so if the need occurs.
There is no definition of who can be a surveyor, however it needs to not be the same person that will monitor the works.
The award will set out the works that can be carried out, who will pay the costs for the preparation of the award and assessment of the works to make sure that they abide by the works, and who will pay for the works. They will usually be required to pay the charges and the cost of the works if the work is solely for the benefit of the building owner.
If they disagree with the award, parties have 14 days to appeal to the county court.
The Act allows access to the adjacent residential or commercial property for the purposes of performing the works whether the adjacent owner gives permission or not, nevertheless they must be given 2 week notice.
NB: The introduction of The Party Wall and so on. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 suggests that from 6 April 2016, notifications and other documents can be served by electronic interactions.
The information that Notices must offer in regard of works covered the above areas is different in each case. The requirements of Section 1 and Area 6 Notices are set out in those areas however the requirements of a Notice relating to Section 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. A valid conflict can still emerge, and property surveyors be designated in accordance with Area 10, in regard of works alerted under that section however just as regards real dissent on particular grounds. An adjacent owner’s reasons for challenging Area 2 and Section 6 works are rarely defined prior to the appointment of property surveyors and in lots of cases not even then.
Where dissent has developed, whether real or deemed, both owners are legally required to designate an agreed surveyor or, if they can not jointly agree on a single individual, a property surveyor each and if requested to make such an appointment by the other party, should do so within 10 days of the request being served.
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