What is a Party Wall Award?
A Party Wall Award is an arrangement made in between at least two neighbouring occupiers prior to the start of construction/building work which is to be undertaken to a party border 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 Surveyor to carry out a Party Wall Award and these are:
- Line of junction (constructing a new wall on or together with a border).
- Party Structure Works (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 building).
In London and throughout the UK, our experienced industrial building surveyors carry out a variety of expert surveying services consisting of Party Wall Studies (Party Wall Awards). At Commercial Structure Surveyors we conduct Party Wall Surveys by knowledgeable and professional 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.
The Party Wall Act 1996
as it effects the garden
At first sight, it is simple to believe that the 1996 Party Wall Act does not affect garden construction, however it does affect the construction of limit walls even if not part of structures and can likewise applies to deep excavations.
The Party Wall Act 1996 came into force in 1997, so it is now law and gives you rights and duties whichever the side of the ‘wall’ you are on i.e. whether you are planning/doing work on 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 Preparation Consent for any work carried out. Also, having Planning Permission does not negate the requirements under the Party Wall Act.
The Party Wall Act enters into effect if somebody is preparing to do work on an appropriate structure, for the functions of the Act ‘party wall’ does not simply mean the wall between two semi-detached residential or commercial 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 used to separate the residential or commercial properties but is not part of any building.
- Excavation near to a neighbouring property.
For details of how the Party Wall Act impacts building work in basic, have a look at this page.
Just like all work impacting neighbours, it is always much better to reach a friendly contract rather than turn to any law. Even where the work requires a notice to be served, it is much better to informally go over the desired work, consider the neighbours comments, and modify your plans (if appropriate) prior to serving the notification.
What garden work needs a notification and approval.
The general concept of the Party Wall Act is that all work which may have a result upon the structural strength or support function of the party wall or may trigger damage to the neighbouring side of the wall need to be notified. Guidance should be sought from a regional Structure Control Workplace or expert surveyor/architect if in doubt.
Operate in the garden covered by the Party Wall Act include:
- To destroy and/or rebuild/build a party border wall.
- To increase the height or density of a party limit wall.
- Excavations within 3 metres of a neighbouring building where the excavation will go below the bottom of the structures 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 structure.
If the prepared work on a boundary wall falls under the Party Wall Act, a notification needs to be released to all affected neighbouring celebrations. The notice needs to consist of (see sample letters in Part 5 of the Party Wall leaflet):.
- The owners of the property carrying out the work.
- The address of the property.
- A complete description of the proposed work (this will generally be simply a single sentence describing 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 notification is being served.
- If the work includes excavations, a drawing showing the depth, position etc
If the prepared work is a brand-new limit wall as much as or astride the boundary line the procedure of serving a notice under the Party Wall Act is as follows:.
- The individual meaning to carry out the work should serve a written notification at least one months prior to the intended start of the work to every neighbouring party giving details of the work to be performed.
- Each neighbouring party needs to respond in composing giving approval or signing up dissent – if a neighbouring party not does anything within 2 week of receiving the notification, the result is to put the notification into disagreement. No official agreement is needed for a wall up to the border line, the neighbour just requires not to object in composing.
- No work may start on a wall astride the limit line until all neighbouring parties have concurred in writing to the notification (or a revised notification).
See below concerning what takes place 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 notification requires to be served at least one month before the planned start day of the work. Neighbouring parties should offer written contract within 14 days or a dispute is considered to have actually happened.
See listed below concerning what occurs in case of a dispute/objection.
If a conflict emerges, what happens.
If contract can not be reached in between neighbouring celebrations, the procedure is as follows:.
- A Property surveyor or Surveyors is/are designated to identify a reasonable and objective Award, either:.
- A single ‘Concurred Property surveyor’ (somebody acceptable to all celebrations).
- Each party appoints their own Surveyor to represent the individual celebrations.
The individual who is performing the work will typically have 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 Surveyor. It should be kept in mind that any Property surveyor should act within their statutory duties and propose a unbiased and reasonable Award.
- A single ‘Concurred Property surveyor’ (somebody acceptable to all celebrations).
- The Agreed Surveyor, or the specific Surveyors jointly, will produce an Award which must be fair and impartial to all celebrations.
- When an Award has been made, all celebrations have 14 days to interest a County Court versus the Award.
As soon as you have contract.
All work needs to comply with the notification when you have arrangement. All the agreements should be kept to ensure that a record of the granted permission is kept; a subsequent purchaser of the home might want to develop that the work was performed in accordance with the Party Wall Act requirements.
Keep in mind:
- We have actually only given a brief summary of the Party Wall Act here as it impacts garden work but take a look at the Neighborhoods and City government site for a more extensive explanatory brochure consisting of example letters for actions and notifications.
- Talking about desired work with neighbours is free and can prevent misconception which might develop if a notice arrives suddenly.
- Your regional Structure Control Office might be able to provide complimentary suggestions regarding the Party Wall Act and how it applies to specific situations.
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