Faulkners Surveyors is an independent company of structure surveyors that specialise in the
Party Wall and so on. Act 1996 acting for Structure Owners, Adjacent Owners and as the Agreed Property Surveyor throughout London and the Home Counties.
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 effects the garden
At first sight, it is easy to think that the 1996 Party Wall Act does not affect garden construction, however it does affect the building of limit walls even if not part of structures and can also applies to deep excavations.
The Party Wall Act 1996 entered force in 1997, so it is now law and offers you rights and responsibilities whichever the side of the ‘wall’ you are on i.e. whether you are planning/doing work on a pertinent 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 Preparation Permission does not negate the requirements under the Party Wall Act.
The Party Wall Act comes into effect if somebody is planning to do work on a relevant structure, for the functions of the Act ‘party wall’ does not simply suggest the wall between two semi-detached properties, as far as garden enthusiasts are worried it covers:
- A garden wall, where the wall is astride the limit line (or butts up against it) and is utilized to separate the residential or commercial 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 structure work in general, take a look at this page.
Just like all work impacting neighbours, it is constantly better to reach a friendly contract 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 modify your plans (if proper) before serving the notification.
What garden work needs a notice and permission.
The general concept of the Party Wall Act is that all work which might have an impact upon the structural strength or assistance function of the party wall or might cause damage to the neighbouring side of the wall must be informed. Recommendations should be sought from a local Building Control Office or professional surveyor/architect if in doubt.
Work in the garden covered by the Party Wall Act consist of:
- To rebuild/build a party and/or destroy border wall.
- To increase the height or thickness of a party limit wall.
- Excavations within 3 metres of a neighbouring building where the excavation will go listed below the bottom of the structures of the neighbouring building.
- Excavations within 6 metres of a neighbouring structure where the excavation will go listed below a line drawn 45 ° downwards from the bottom of the structures of the neighbouring building.
If the prepared deal with a boundary wall falls under the Party Wall Act, a notice needs to be released to all impacted neighbouring parties. The notice must include (see sample letters in Part 5 of the Party Wall brochure):.
- The owners of the property undertaking the work.
- The address of the residential or commercial property.
- A complete description of the proposed work (this will generally be just a single sentence outlining the work).
- The proposed start date for the work.
- A clear declaration that the notice is being served under The Party Wall etc Act 1996.
- The date the notice is being served.
- If the work involves excavations, a drawing revealing the depth, position and so on
If the prepared work is a new border wall approximately or astride the border line the procedure of serving a notification under the Party Wall Act is as follows:.
- The individual planning to carry out the work needs to serve a composed notification a minimum of one months before the desired start of the work to every neighbouring party offering details of the work to be performed.
- Each neighbouring party needs to respond in writing providing approval or registering dissent – if a neighbouring party not does anything within 14 days of receiving the notification, the impact is to put the notice into disagreement. No formal arrangement is required for a wall up to the boundary line, the neighbour simply needs not to object in composing.
- No work may begin on a wall astride the limit line till all neighbouring celebrations have actually agreed in writing to the notice (or a revised notification).
See below regarding what happens in the event of a dispute/objection.
If the prepared work is an excavation within the distance/depth covered by the Party Wall Act, the notice needs to be served at least one month prior to the planned start day of the work. Neighbouring parties should give written agreement within 14 days or a disagreement is deemed to have actually taken place.
See below regarding what takes place in case of a dispute/objection.
If a dispute emerges, what happens.
If agreement can not be reached in between neighbouring parties, the process is as follows:.
- A Property surveyor or Surveyors is/are selected to figure out a objective and reasonable Award, either:.
- A single ‘Agreed Surveyor’ (someone appropriate to all parties).
- Each party appoints their own Surveyor to represent the individual celebrations.
The person who is performing the work will generally have to pay all the expenses of the Surveyors, the only exception being if the neighbour calls out a Surveyor unnecessarily – in the viewpoint of the Property surveyor. Nevertheless it needs to be noted that any Property surveyor must act within their statutory responsibilities and propose a reasonable and neutral Award.
- A single ‘Agreed Surveyor’ (someone appropriate to all parties).
- The Agreed Property surveyor, or the private Surveyors collectively, will produce an Award which needs to be reasonable and unbiased to all celebrations.
- As soon as an Award has actually been made, all parties have 14 days to attract a County Court against the Award.
Once you have arrangement.
All work should comply with the notice as soon as you have contract. All the agreements should be kept to make sure that a record of the granted permission is kept; a subsequent buyer of the residential or commercial property may want to develop that the work was performed in accordance with the Party Wall Act requirements.
- We’ve only given a quick outline of the Party Wall Act here as it affects garden work however have a look at the Communities and Local Government website for a more comprehensive explanatory brochure consisting of example letters for notifications and responses.
- If a notice shows up unexpectedly, going over designated work with neighbours is complimentary and can avoid misunderstanding which may occur.
- Your regional Building Control Office might have the ability to give free guidance regarding the Party Wall Act and how it applies to particular situations.
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