What is a Party Wall Award?
A Party Wall Award is an arrangement made between at least two neighbouring occupiers prior to the commencement of construction/building work which is to be undertaken to a party boundary or structure, or where works are being undertaken in close proximity to a party limit or structure. There are 3 primary types of work which require a Party Wall Property surveyor to conduct a Party Wall Award and these are:
- Line of junction (developing a new wall on or alongside a limit).
- Party Structure Works (works to an existing party wall such as cutting into, rebuilding, thickening etc.).
- Nearby 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 surveyors carry out a range of expert surveying services consisting of Party Wall Surveys (Party Wall Awards). At Commercial Building Surveyors we carry out Party Wall Studies by experienced 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 and so on. Act 1996 is a making it possible for Act, insofar as it approves the owner of a residential or commercial property the legal right to undertake particular works that might otherwise make up trespass or nuisance.
Nevertheless, it also seeks to safeguard the interests of adjoining owners from any possibly adverse impacts that such works may have by imposing a requirement that all adjoining owners be given prior notification of them.
In addition, the Act attends to a compulsory conflict resolution procedure moderated by a statutorily designated property surveyor or property surveyors if neighbouring owners have issues about the execution of any proposition so informed.
Specifically, such notice must be served where the owner of a residential or commercial property (called ‘the structure owner’) means to undertake any 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 limited to the following:
- Section 1 applies where it is proposed to erect a brand-new wall at a border that is not already built on.
- Area 2 issues existing party structures, that include party floorings, partitions and walls (that separate buildings or parts of structures), party fence walls (basically a border wall between lands in different ownership which is built astride a border) and, in some instances, a neighbour’s independent property.
- Section 6 can apply to excavations approximately 6 m away from a structure or structure on neighbouring land, subject to depth requirements which the Act sets out.
The details that Sees must provide in regard of works covered the above sections is different in each case. The requirements of Section 1 and Section 6 Notifications are set out in those sections but the requirements of a Notification connecting to Section 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. It is essential to keep in mind that the validity of any notification not supplying all the appropriate information or served in the inaccurate way, could be open to challenge in Court.
There is no basic form of Notification although lots of people use those published by the RICS or versions added to the explanatory brochure issued by the Department for Communities and City Government. Nevertheless, provided all the details required by the appropriate area of the Act is present, a basic letter would be equally valid.
Depending upon the scenarios of any provided task there may be more than one adjacent owner on whom see needs to be served in regard of the same work and, in the case of deep excavations, an Adjoining Owner may be besides an instant neighbour. It is always more suitable to go over the desired deal with adjacent owners before serving them with official composed notice – a proposal well explained may minimize issues sufficient to prevent a dispute arising and prevent the necessity to appoint surveyors.
There are two exceptions where the requirement to serve notice might be prevented:
- De minimis works: The government’s explanatory pamphlet says that some works on a party wall might be so small that service of notice under the Act would be usually considered as not required and give as examples works unlikely to affect 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 shelves, kitchen cupboards, and so forth.
- Works under Area 2 of the Act offered that composed approval is gotten from all Adjoining Owners and Occupiers before work commences.
The three types of Notice are understood, respectively as:
- Area 1: Line of Junction Notice
- Section 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notice
- Area 6: Notice of Adjacent Excavation
A party structure notice must be served a minimum of two months prior to the date on which it is proposed to begin that work. The other two notifications need to be served at least one month prior to work starting.
The compulsory information which Observes should contain are as follows:
- Line of Junction Notification:
- An indication of the building owner’s desire to build a wall.
- A description of the wall.
- Party Structure Notification:
- The name and address of the structure owner.
- The nature and details of the proposed work.
- The date on which the proposed work will start.
- Notice of Adjacent Excavation:
- An indicator of the building owner’s proposals.
- A statement regarding whether or not the structure owner proposes to underpin or otherwise enhance or protect the foundations of the structure or structure of the adjoining owner.
- Accompanying areas and strategies 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 website.
The majority of the pro-forma notices in use include the following details as a matter of course despite the type of notice:
- The date of the notice.
- If different), the name and addresses of both the building and adjacent owners (and the addresses of the properties being worked on/affected.
- A statement as to the commencement of works relative to the suitable notice period.
- An advisory note describing what happens if the recipient actively dissents from the works or fails to react within 2 week.
Area 10 of the Act specifies that where an adjoining owner does not permission in writing to works notified by the structure owner under Sections 3 and 6, both parties should either agree on the appointment of a single surveyor to act for both of them (known as the Agreed Property Surveyor), or each select their own property surveyor, to determine by award matters in dispute in between the celebrations.
Where a job is straightforward, this may just include factor to consider of the time and way in which those works are to be carried out. In more complex schemes, believed will have to be offered to a commensurately greater number of elements and certainly appointed surveyors have the statutory jurisdiction to make an award in regard of any matter gotten in touch with any work to which the act relates.
The exact same procedure is utilized to fix any subsequent disagreements between neighbouring owners that might 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 halt the statutory procedure. A conflict can arise by an adjacent owner actively dissenting, that is, communicating to the structure owner an objection in respect of some matter emerging out of or incidental to the works – the means of making that objection are not important, but if he stays silent, neither dissenting nor consenting for a duration of 2 week after having actually been served with a Notification under either Area 3 or Section 6, the Act deems a dissent to have actually occurred in any event.
There is no deemed dissent provision in Section 1 of the Act. A legitimate conflict can still develop, and surveyors be appointed in accordance with Section 10, in regard of works informed under that section however only as relates to real dissent on specific grounds. An adjacent owner’s factors for disputing Area 2 and Area 6 works are seldom specified prior to the visit of property surveyors and in many cases not even then.
Where dissent has actually occurred, whether actual or considered, both owners are legally obliged to select a concurred surveyor or, if they can not jointly agree on a bachelor, a surveyor each and if requested to make such a consultation by the other party, should do so within 10 days of the demand being served. Failure to comply, instantly offers the owner making the request the statutory authority to select a property surveyor on behalf of the recalcitrant party. This procedure is set out in section 10( 4) of the Act.
Where two property surveyors are appointed, they are required to agree upon the choice, in writing, of a third property surveyor who might be hired by either of the property surveyors or either of the celebrations to determine the challenged matters and make the required award. The 3rd surveyor is never appointed by anyone but the Act provides the individual so selected the exact same statutory powers as the two surveyors.
3rd property surveyors are most commonly called upon where the two surveyors have reached a deadlock in their considerations over some specific point and typically this can be in regard on the reasonableness of the charges of the property surveyor selected by the adjacent owner. Rarely will a third surveyor be asked to draw up an award in respect of the entire works however may accompany one or other of the two property surveyors to do so if the need arises.
There is no meaning of who can be a surveyor, however it must not be the same person that will supervise the works.
The award will set out the works that can be carried out, who will pay the charges for the preparation of the award and evaluation of the works to ensure that they adhere to the works, and who will pay for the works. If the work is solely for the benefit of the structure owner, then they will usually be needed to pay the costs and the cost of the works.
Celebrations have 14 days to appeal to the county court if they disagree with the award.
The Act enables access to the adjacent residential or commercial property for the purposes of carrying out the works whether the adjoining owner permits or not, nevertheless they should be provided 14 days notification.
NB: The introduction of The Party Wall and so on. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 indicates that from 6 April 2016, notices and other documents can be served by electronic interactions.
The information that Sees should provide in regard of works covered the above sections is different in each case. The requirements of Section 1 and Section 6 Notifications are set out in those areas however the requirements of a Notice relating to Section 2 works is set out in Section 3 of the Act. A valid disagreement can still occur, and surveyors be selected in accordance with Section 10, in respect of works informed under that area but just as concerns actual dissent on specific premises. An adjoining owner’s factors for disputing Section 2 and Area 6 works are rarely specified prior to the appointment of property surveyors and in many cases not even then.
Where dissent has arisen, whether actual or considered, both owners are lawfully required to appoint an agreed property surveyor or, if they can not collectively agree on a single individual, a property surveyor each and if requested to make such a visit by the other party, must do so within 10 days of the demand being served.
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