What is a Party Wall Award?
A Party Wall Award is an agreement made in between at least two neighbouring occupiers prior to the beginning of construction/building work which is to be undertaken to a party border or structure, or where works are being carried out in close distance to a party limit or structure. There are three primary types of work which require a Party Wall Surveyor to perform a Party Wall Award and these are:
- Line of junction (developing a new wall on or alongside a border).
- Party Structure Functions (works to an existing party wall such as cutting into, reconstructing, 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 industrial building surveyors carry out a variety of expert surveying services including Party Wall Studies (Party Wall Awards). At Commercial Structure Surveyors we carry out Party Wall Studies by skilled and expert 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 approves the owner of a home the legal right to undertake particular works that might otherwise constitute trespass or problem.
It also seeks to safeguard the interests of adjoining owners from any potentially adverse results that such works might have by imposing a requirement that all adjacent owners be offered prior notice of them.
In addition, the Act provides for a mandatory disagreement resolution procedure mediated by a statutorily designated surveyor or property surveyors if neighbouring owners have concerns about the execution of any proposition so alerted.
Specifically, such notice should be served where the owner of a residential or commercial property (known as ‘the building owner’) plans to carry out any building and construction work explained in Sections 1, 2 and 6 of the Act. Note that it is only those works that are covered by the Act and the scope is restricted to the following:
- Section 1 applies where it is proposed to set up a brand-new wall at a limit that is not currently built on.
- Area 2 issues existing party structures, that include party walls, floors and partitions (that different structures or parts of buildings), party fence walls (essentially a border wall between lands in separate ownership which is constructed astride a border) and, in some instances, a neighbour’s independent residential or commercial property.
- Section 6 can apply to excavations up to 6 m far from a structure or structure on neighbouring land, based on depth criteria which the Act sets out.
The details that Sees must provide in respect of works covered the above sections is various in each case. The requirements of Section 1 and Section 6 Notices are set out in those sections but the requirements of a Notification associating with Section 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. It is necessary to note that the credibility of any notification not providing all the appropriate details or served in the incorrect way, could be open to challenge in Court.
There is no basic type of Notification although lots of people use those released by the RICS or versions added to the explanatory booklet provided by the Department for Communities and Local Government. However, provided all the details needed by the pertinent area of the Act is present, an easy letter would be similarly valid.
Depending upon the scenarios of any given project there might be more than one adjoining owner on whom see requirements to be served in regard of the same work and, in the case of deep excavations, an Adjoining Owner might be aside from an instant neighbour. It is always preferable to talk about the intended works with adjoining owners before serving them with formal composed notice – a proposal well described might minimize issues adequate to prevent a dispute emerging and avoid the necessity to designate property surveyors.
There are two exceptions where the need to serve notice might be avoided:
- De minimis works: The government’s explanatory booklet says that some deal with a party wall may be so small that service of notification under the Act would be typically considered as not necessary and give as examples works unlikely to impact the structural strength or assistance functions of a party structure or trigger damage to the neighbours side of it, such as re-plastering, shallow chasing for electrical wiring or placing power sockets, and screws to support racks, cooking area cupboards, and so forth.
- Works under Section 2 of the Act offered that composed permission is gotten 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 2 months before the date on which it is proposed to start that work. The other two notices need to be served a minimum of one month prior to work starting.
The compulsory information which Sees need to consist of are as follows:
- Line of Junction Notice:
- A sign of the structure owner’s desire to construct a wall.
- A description of the wall.
- Party Structure Notification:
- The name and address of the structure owner.
- The nature and particulars of the proposed work.
- The date on which the proposed work will begin.
- Notice of Adjacent Excavation:
- A sign of the structure owner’s propositions.
- A declaration as to whether the structure owner proposes to underpin or otherwise reinforce or secure the foundations of the structure or structure of the adjoining owner.
- Accompanying sections and strategies showing: a) the website and depth of any excavation the structure owner proposes to make; b) if he proposes to erect a building or structure, its site.
The majority of the pro-forma notifications in use include the following details as a matter of course despite the kind of notification:
- The date of the notice.
- If different), the name and addresses of both the building and adjoining owners (and the addresses of the residential or commercial properties being worked on/affected.
- A statement regarding the start of works relative to the proper notification period.
- An advisory note discussing what takes place if the recipient actively dissents from the works or fails to respond within 2 week.
Area 10 of the Act specifies that where an adjacent owner does not authorization in writing to works alerted by the structure owner under Sections 3 and 6, both parties must either agree on the consultation of a single property surveyor to act for both of them (called the Agreed Property Surveyor), or each select their own surveyor, to identify by award matters in dispute in between the parties.
Where a project is straightforward, this might only involve factor to consider of the time and way in which those works are to be performed. In more complex plans, believed will need to be offered to a commensurately greater number of aspects and undoubtedly appointed property 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 exact same treatment is utilized to fix any subsequent disagreements in between neighbouring owners that might develop in relation to the alerted works, including 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 procedure. A dispute can arise by an adjacent owner actively dissenting, that is, interacting to the building owner an objection in respect of some matter developing out of or incidental to the works – the means of making that objection are trivial, but if he remains silent, neither consenting nor dissenting for a period of 2 week after having actually been served with a Notification under either Area 3 or Area 6, the Act deems a dissent to have actually occurred in any event.
There is no deemed dissent arrangement in Section 1 of the Act. A legitimate conflict can still develop, and surveyors be designated in accordance with Section 10, in regard of works notified under that area however just as relates to real dissent on particular grounds. An adjoining owner’s factors for contesting Section 2 and Section 6 works are hardly ever defined prior to the appointment of property surveyors and in a lot of cases not even then.
Where dissent has arisen, whether real or deemed, both owners are lawfully obliged to appoint a concurred property surveyor or, if they can not jointly agree on a single person, a property surveyor each and if requested to make such a consultation by the other party, need to do so within 10 days of the request being served. Failure to comply, automatically gives the owner making the request the statutory authority to designate a property surveyor on behalf of the recalcitrant party. This procedure is set out in section 10( 4) of the Act.
Where two surveyors are selected, they are obliged to agree upon the selection, in writing, of a 3rd surveyor who may be hired by either of the surveyors or either of the celebrations to identify the disputed matters and make the required award. The 3rd surveyor is never selected by anyone however the Act gives the individual so picked the exact same statutory powers as the two property surveyors.
3rd property surveyors are most commonly called upon where the two surveyors have actually reached an impasse in their considerations over some particular point and frequently this can be in respect on the reasonableness of the costs of the property surveyor designated by the adjacent owner. Rarely will a 3rd surveyor be asked to draw up an award in regard of the entire works but may join with one or other of the two surveyors to do so if the requirement occurs.
There is no definition of who can be a property surveyor, but it must not be the same person that will supervise the works.
The award will set out the works that can be performed, who will pay the charges for the preparation of the award and evaluation of the works to make sure that they comply with the works, and who will pay for the works. If the work is exclusively for the advantage of the structure owner, then they will typically be needed to pay the fees and the expense of the works.
Celebrations have 14 days to appeal to the county court if they disagree with the award.
The Act permits access to the adjoining home for the purposes of performing the works whether the adjoining owner permits or not, nevertheless they must be given 2 week notification.
NB: The introduction of The Party Wall and so on. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 indicates that from 6 April 2016, notifications and other files can be served by electronic interactions.
The details that Discovers must provide in respect of works covered the above sections is different in each case. The requirements of Area 1 and Section 6 Notices are set out in those sections but the requirements of a Notice relating to Section 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. A legitimate disagreement can still occur, and property surveyors be appointed in accordance with Section 10, in respect of works notified under that section however only as regards actual dissent on particular grounds. An adjoining owner’s factors for challenging Section 2 and Area 6 works are seldom specified prior to the appointment of property surveyors and in many cases not even then.
Where dissent has actually developed, whether actual or deemed, both owners are legally required to designate an agreed property surveyor or, if they can not collectively agree on a single individual, 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.
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