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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 impact garden construction, however it does impact the building of limit walls even if not part of buildings and can also applies to deep excavations.
The Party Wall Act 1996 came into force in 1997, so it is now law and gives you rights and responsibilities whichever the side of the ‘wall’ you are on i.e. whether you are planning/doing deal with an appropriate structure or if your neighbour is.
The Party Wall Act does not apply to border fences.
The Party Wall Act does not affect any requirement for Planning Authorization for any work undertaken. Having Planning Consent does not negate the requirements under the Party Wall Act.
The Party Wall Act enters into effect if someone is planning to do work on an appropriate structure, for the purposes of the Act ‘party wall’ does not simply mean the wall between 2 semi-detached homes, as far as gardeners are worried it covers:
- A garden wall, where the wall is astride the boundary line (or butts up against it) and is utilized to separate the residential or commercial properties but is not part of any structure.
- Excavation near to a neighbouring property.
For information of how the Party Wall Act affects building operate in general, have a look at this page.
Similar to all work affecting neighbours, it is always better to reach a friendly arrangement rather than resort to any law. Even where the work requires a notice to be served, it is better to informally talk about the desired work, consider the neighbours comments, and amend your strategies (if suitable) prior to serving the notice.
What garden work requires a notice and approval.
The general principle of the Party Wall Act is that all work which may have an effect upon the structural strength or assistance function of the party wall or may cause damage to the neighbouring side of the wall must be notified. Guidance must be looked for from a regional Structure Control Workplace 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 demolish boundary wall.
- To increase the height or thickness of a party boundary wall.
- Excavations within 3 metres of a neighbouring building where the excavation will go listed below the bottom of the foundations of the neighbouring building.
- Excavations within 6 metres of a neighbouring building 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 work on a limit wall falls under the Party Wall Act, a notification must be provided to all impacted neighbouring celebrations. The notice must consist of (see sample letters in Part 5 of the Party Wall leaflet):.
- The owners of the home carrying out the work.
- The address of the residential or commercial property.
- A complete description of the proposed work (this will typically be simply a single sentence outlining the work).
- The proposed start date for the work.
- A clear declaration that the notification is being served under The Party Wall etc Act 1996.
- The date the notice is being served.
- If the work involves excavations, a drawing showing the depth, position etc
If the planned work is a new limit wall as much as or astride the boundary line the process of serving a notification under the Party Wall Act is as follows:.
- The individual planning to carry out the work must serve a written notification at least one months before the intended start of the work to every neighbouring party providing information of the work to be carried out.
- Each neighbouring party ought to respond in writing giving consent or signing up dissent – if a neighbouring party not does anything within 2 week of receiving the notice, the impact is to put the notification into dispute. Nevertheless no official agreement is required for a wall as much as the limit line, the neighbour simply requires not to object in writing.
- No work may commence on a wall astride the boundary line till all neighbouring parties have actually concurred in writing to the notice (or a revised notice).
See listed below concerning what happens in the event of a dispute/objection.
If the planned work is an excavation within the distance/depth covered by the Party Wall Act, the notification requires to be served at least one month prior to the prepared start day of the work. Neighbouring celebrations should provide written contract within 2 week or a disagreement is deemed to have happened.
See listed below regarding what occurs in case of a dispute/objection.
What occurs if a dispute develops.
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 neutral and fair Award, either:.
- A single ‘Agreed Property surveyor’ (someone acceptable to all parties).
- Each party selects their own Surveyor to represent the specific celebrations.
The person who is performing the work will generally need to pay all the expenses of the Surveyors, the only exception being if the neighbour calls out a Surveyor unnecessarily – in the opinion of the Property surveyor. However it should be kept in mind that any Surveyor needs to act within their statutory responsibilities and propose a impartial and reasonable Award.
- A single ‘Agreed Property surveyor’ (someone acceptable to all parties).
- The Agreed Surveyor, or the private Surveyors jointly, will produce an Award which needs to be reasonable and neutral to all celebrations.
- When an Award has actually been made, all parties have 2 week to appeal to a County Court against the Award.
When you have contract.
All work should comply with the notification once you have agreement. All the arrangements should be maintained to guarantee that a record of the granted permission is kept; a subsequent purchaser of the residential or commercial property may wish to develop that the work was carried out in accordance with the Party Wall Act requirements.
Keep in mind:
- We have actually only offered a short overview of the Party Wall Act here as it affects garden work but have a look at the Neighborhoods and Local Government site for a more thorough explanatory booklet consisting of example letters for reactions and notices.
- Discussing intended deal with neighbours is complimentary and can prevent misconception which might develop if a notification gets here all of a sudden.
- Your regional Structure Control Office may have the ability to give complimentary guidance relating to the Party Wall Act and how it applies to specific circumstances.
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