What is a Party Wall Award?
A Party Wall Award is an arrangement made between at least two neighbouring occupiers prior to the start of construction/building work which is to be undertaken to a party boundary or structure, or where works are being carried out in close distance to a party limit or structure. There are three main types of work which require a Party Wall Surveyor to carry out a Party Wall Award and these are:
- Line of junction (building a brand-new wall on or along with a boundary).
- Party Structure Works (works to an existing party wall such as cutting into, restoring, thickening etc.).
- Surrounding Excavation (excavations to a lower level within either 3m or 6m of an existing structure).
In London and throughout the UK, our skilled commercial structure property surveyors carry out a range of expert surveying services including Party Wall Studies (Party Wall Awards). At Commercial Structure Surveyors we perform Party Wall Studies by professional and skilled 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 an enabling Act, insofar as it gives the owner of a home the legal right to carry out specific works that might otherwise constitute trespass or problem.
It likewise looks for to secure the interests of adjacent owners from any possibly unfavorable results that such works might have by enforcing a requirement that all adjacent owners be provided prior notification of them.
In addition, the Act attends to a compulsory conflict resolution procedure moderated by a statutorily selected property surveyor or property surveyors if neighbouring owners have concerns about the execution of any proposal so alerted.
Particularly, such notification should be served where the owner of a property (known as ‘the building owner’) means to carry out any building and construction work described in Sections 1, 2 and 6 of the Act. Keep in mind that it is just those works that are covered by the Act and the scope is restricted to the following:
- Section 1 uses where it is proposed to set up a new wall at a limit that is not currently built on.
- Section 2 concerns existing party structures, that include party partitions, floors and walls (that separate structures or parts of structures), party fence walls (basically a boundary wall between lands in different ownership which is constructed astride a limit) and, in some circumstances, a neighbour’s independent home.
- Area 6 can apply to excavations as much as 6 m far from a building or structure on neighbouring land, subject to depth criteria which the Act sets out.
The details that Sees must provide in respect of works covered the above areas is different in each case. The requirements of Area 1 and Section 6 Notifications are set out in those areas but the requirements of a Notification relating to Area 2 works is set out in Section 3 of the Act. It is necessary to note that the credibility of any notice not providing all the pertinent details or served in the incorrect way, could be available to challenge in Court.
There is no standard form of Notification although many people use those released by the RICS or variations appended to the explanatory booklet provided by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Provided all the info required by the relevant area of the Act is present, an easy letter would be equally legitimate.
Depending on the scenarios of any given task there might be more than one adjoining owner on whom see requirements to be served in respect of the very same work and, when it comes to deep excavations, an Adjoining Owner may be aside from an immediate neighbour. It is always more suitable to talk about the designated deal with adjoining owners before serving them with official composed notice – a proposal well discussed may alleviate concerns enough to prevent a conflict arising and avoid the necessity to designate property surveyors.
There are 2 exceptions where the requirement to serve notice may be avoided:
- De minimis works: The federal government’s explanatory pamphlet says that some deal with a party wall may be so small that service of notification under the Act would be usually considered not necessary and give as examples works unlikely to impact the structural strength or support functions of a party structure or cause damage to the neighbours side of it, such as re-plastering, shallow chasing for electrical circuitry or inserting power sockets, and screws to support shelves, kitchen cabinets, and so on.
- Functions under Area 2 of the Act supplied that composed permission is acquired from all Adjacent Owners and Occupiers before work commences.
The 3 types of Notification are understood, respectively as:
- Area 1: Line of Junction Notification
- Section 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notice
- Section 6: Notice of Adjacent Excavation
A party structure notification should be served at least two months prior to the date on which it is proposed to begin that work. The other two notifications need to be served a minimum of one month prior to work starting.
The obligatory details which Observes must include are as follows:
- Line of Junction Notification:
- A sign of the structure owner’s desire to build a wall.
- A description of the wall.
- Party Structure Notification:
- The name and address of the building owner.
- The nature and details of the proposed work.
- The date on which the proposed work will begin.
- Notice of Adjacent Excavation:
- A sign of the building owner’s proposals.
- A declaration as to whether the structure owner proposes to underpin or otherwise strengthen or protect the foundations of the structure or structure of the adjoining owner.
- Accompanying strategies and sections revealing: a) the site and depth of any excavation the structure owner proposes to make; b) if he proposes to put up a structure or structure, its site.
The majority of the pro-forma notifications in use consist of the following info as a matter of course regardless of the type of notification:
- The date of the notice.
- The name and addresses of both the structure and adjacent owners (and the addresses of the homes being worked on/affected if different).
- A statement regarding the beginning of works relative to the proper notice duration.
- An advisory note discussing what occurs if the recipient actively dissents from the works or stops working to respond within 14 days.
Area 10 of the Act specifies that where an adjacent owner does not approval in writing to works notified by the building owner under Sections 3 and 6, both parties must either settle on the appointment of a single property surveyor to act for both of them (referred to as the Agreed Surveyor), or each designate their own property surveyor, to identify by award matters in dispute in between the celebrations.
Where a job is straightforward, this might just involve consideration of the time and manner in which those works are to be performed. In more complex schemes, believed will have to be offered to a commensurately greater number of elements and indeed selected property surveyors have the statutory jurisdiction to make an award in respect of any matter connected with any work to which the act relates.
The very same treatment is utilized to resolve any subsequent disputes in between neighbouring owners that may occur in relation to the alerted works, consisting of any loss or damage suffered by an adjoining owner as a result of their execution.
Inactiveness on the part of the adjoining owner does not stop the statutory process. A disagreement can arise by an adjacent owner actively dissenting, that is, communicating to the building owner an objection in regard of some matter emerging out of or incidental to the works – the methods of making that objection are not important, but if he stays 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 occurred in any event.
There is no deemed dissent arrangement in Section 1 of the Act. A legitimate conflict can still occur, and surveyors be selected in accordance with Section 10, in respect of works informed under that area however only as regards real dissent on specific premises. An adjacent owner’s reasons for disputing Section 2 and Area 6 works are seldom defined prior to the visit of property surveyors and in most cases not even then.
Where dissent has occurred, whether real or deemed, both owners are lawfully required to select a concurred surveyor or, if they can not collectively agree on a single person, a surveyor each and if requested to make such an appointment by the other party, should do so within 10 days of the demand being served. Failure to comply, automatically offers 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 appointed, they are obliged to agree upon the choice, in writing, of a third property surveyor who might be hired by either of the surveyors or either of the parties to determine the disputed matters and make the necessary award. The third surveyor is never ever appointed by anybody but the Act provides the person so chose the same statutory powers as the two property surveyors.
3rd surveyors are most frequently hired where the two surveyors have reached a deadlock in their considerations over some specific point and frequently this can be in regard on the reasonableness of the charges of the property surveyor selected by the adjoining owner. Hardly ever will a 3rd property surveyor be asked to prepare an award in regard of the entire works however might accompany one or other of the two property surveyors to do so if the requirement occurs.
There is no meaning of who can be a surveyor, however it needs to not be the same individual that will supervise the works.
The award will set out the works that can be performed, who will pay the costs for the preparation of the award and examination of the works to make sure that they adhere to the works, and who will pay for the works. They will normally be needed to pay the costs and the cost of the works if the work is entirely 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 adjoining home for the functions of carrying out the works whether the adjacent owner allows or not, nevertheless they need to be offered 14 days notification.
NB: The introduction of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 indicates that from 6 April 2016, notices and other documents can be served by electronic communications.
The details that Observes should offer in regard of works covered the above sections is different in each case. The requirements of Section 1 and Area 6 Notifications are set out in those sections but the requirements of a Notification relating to Area 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. A valid disagreement can still occur, and surveyors be appointed in accordance with Area 10, in regard of works informed under that area but just as regards actual dissent on particular premises. An adjoining owner’s reasons for contesting Section 2 and Section 6 works are hardly ever specified prior to the visit of property surveyors and in numerous cases not even then.
Where dissent has developed, whether real or considered, both owners are legally obliged to designate a concurred property surveyor or, if they can not jointly concur on a single person, a surveyor each and if asked for to make such a consultation by the other party, should do so within 10 days of the demand being served.
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