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Our property surveyors are controlled by the Professors of Party Wall Surveyors and carry professional indemnity insurance coverage to cover their work.
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.
The Party Wall Act 1996
as it impacts the garden
At first sight, it is easy to believe that the 1996 Party Wall Act does not affect garden building, however it does affect the construction of border walls even if not part of buildings and can likewise applies to deep excavations.
The Party Wall Act 1996 came into force in 1997, so it is now law and provides you rights and responsibilities whichever the side of the ‘wall’ you are on i.e. whether you are planning/doing deal with a relevant structure or if your neighbour is.
The Party Wall Act does not apply to boundary fences.
The Party Wall Act does not affect any requirement for Planning Authorization for any work carried out. Having Planning Authorization does not negate the requirements under the Party Wall Act.
The Party Wall Act comes into impact if someone is planning to do deal with a relevant structure, for the purposes of the Act ‘party wall’ does not simply mean the wall between 2 semi-detached properties, as far as garden enthusiasts are worried it covers:
- A garden wall, where the wall is astride the border line (or butts up against it) and is used to separate the properties but is not part of any structure.
- Excavation close to a neighbouring residential or commercial property.
For information of how the Party Wall Act affects building operate in general, have a look at this page.
Just like all work impacting neighbours, it is always better to reach a friendly agreement rather than resort to any law. Even where the work requires a notification to be served, it is much better to informally talk about the intended work, consider the neighbours comments, and amend your plans (if suitable) before serving the notification.
What garden work needs a notice and authorization.
The basic principle of the Party Wall Act is that all work which may have a result upon the structural strength or assistance function of the party wall or may trigger damage to the neighbouring side of the wall must be alerted. If in doubt, recommendations ought to be looked for from a local Structure Control Office or professional surveyor/architect.
Work in the garden covered by the Party Wall Act include:
- To rebuild/build a party and/or demolish boundary wall.
- To increase the height or thickness of a party limit wall.
- Excavations within 3 metres of a neighbouring structure where the excavation will go below the bottom of the foundations of the neighbouring building.
- Excavations within 6 metres of a neighbouring structure where the excavation will go below a line drawn 45 ° downwards from the bottom of the foundations of the neighbouring building.
A notice should be issued to all affected neighbouring celebrations if the prepared work on a limit wall falls under the Party Wall Act. The notice must consist of (see sample letters in Part 5 of the Party Wall leaflet):.
- The owners of the residential or commercial property undertaking the work.
- The address of the property.
- A complete description of the proposed work (this will generally be just a single sentence detailing the work).
- The proposed start date for the work.
- A clear statement that the notice is being served under The Party Wall etc Act 1996.
- The date the notice is being served.
- If the work includes excavations, a drawing revealing the depth, position etc
If the planned work is a new boundary wall approximately or astride the limit line the process of serving a notification under the Party Wall Act is as follows:.
- The person meaning to perform the work should serve a written notification at least one months prior to the intended start of the work to every neighbouring party offering details of the work to be carried out.
- Each neighbouring party must react in composing giving approval or registering dissent – if a neighbouring party not does anything within 14 days of getting the notice, the result is to put the notification into conflict. No formal agreement is needed for a wall up to the limit line, the neighbour simply needs not to object in writing.
- No work may begin on a wall astride the boundary line till all neighbouring parties have actually agreed in writing to the notification (or a revised notice).
See listed below concerning what occurs in case of a dispute/objection.
If the prepared work is an excavation within the distance/depth covered by the Party Wall Act, the notification needs to be served a minimum of one month prior to the prepared start day of the work. Neighbouring parties should provide written arrangement within 14 days or a conflict is considered to have taken place.
See listed below regarding what takes place in case of a dispute/objection.
If a disagreement arises, what happens.
If agreement can not be reached in between neighbouring parties, the process is as follows:.
- A Surveyor or Surveyors is/are selected to figure out a fair and unbiased Award, either:.
- A single ‘Agreed Property surveyor’ (somebody appropriate to all parties).
- Each party appoints their own Property surveyor to represent the private parties.
The person who is carrying out the work will normally have to pay all the expenses of the Surveyors, the only exception being if the neighbour calls out a Property surveyor unnecessarily – in the opinion of the Property surveyor. However it needs to be kept in mind that any Property surveyor should act within their statutory duties and propose a reasonable and objective Award.
- A single ‘Agreed Property surveyor’ (somebody appropriate to all parties).
- The Agreed Property surveyor, or the private Surveyors jointly, will produce an Award which needs to be neutral and reasonable to all parties.
- When an Award has been made, all parties have 14 days to interest a County Court against the Award.
As soon as you have arrangement.
Once you have arrangement, all work should abide by the notification. All the arrangements need to be retained to guarantee that a record of the granted permission is kept; a subsequent buyer of the home may want to establish that the work was performed in accordance with the Party Wall Act requirements.
Keep in mind:
- We have actually only provided a quick outline of the Party Wall Act here as it impacts garden work but take a look at the Communities and Local Government website for a more thorough explanatory pamphlet consisting of example letters for reactions and notices.
- Discussing designated deal with neighbours is free and can prevent misunderstanding which might develop if a notification arrives suddenly.
- Your regional Structure Control Office might be able to give free advice regarding the Party Wall Act and how it applies to particular scenarios.
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