Faulkners Surveyors is an independent firm of building property surveyors that specialise in the
Party Wall etc. Act 1996 acting for Building Owners, Adjacent Owners and as the Agreed Surveyor throughout London and the House 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.
Party Wall Act
The Party Wall and so on. Act 1996 is an enabling Act, insofar as it grants the owner of a home the legal right to carry out certain works that might otherwise constitute trespass or nuisance.
Nevertheless, it likewise seeks to safeguard the interests of adjoining owners from any potentially unfavorable effects that such works may have by imposing a requirement that all adjacent owners be offered prior notice of them.
In addition, the Act provides for an obligatory dispute resolution procedure moderated by a statutorily designated surveyor or surveyors if neighbouring owners have issues about the application of any proposal so notified.
Specifically, such notification should be served where the owner of a residential or commercial property (referred to as ‘the building owner’) means to carry out any building work described in Sections 1, 2 and 6 of the Act. Keep in mind that it is only those works that are covered by the Act and the scope is limited to the following:
- Area 1 applies where it is proposed to set up a new wall at a boundary that is not currently built on.
- Area 2 issues existing party structures, that include party partitions, walls and floorings (that separate buildings or parts of buildings), party fence walls (essentially a boundary wall between lands in separate ownership which is built astride a limit) and, in some instances, a neighbour’s independent residential or commercial property.
- Area 6 can apply to excavations as much as 6 m far from a building or structure on neighbouring land, subject to depth requirements which the Act sets out.
The details that Discovers should offer in respect of works covered the above areas is various in each case. The requirements of Section 1 and Area 6 Notifications are set out in those sections however the requirements of a Notification associating with Section 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. It is very important to keep in mind that the credibility of any notification not supplying all the pertinent information or served in the inaccurate way, could be open to challenge in Court.
There is no standard form of Notification although many individuals utilize those published by the RICS or versions added to the explanatory pamphlet released by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Nevertheless, provided all the info needed by the pertinent section of the Act exists, a basic letter would be similarly legitimate.
Depending upon the scenarios of any offered task there might be more than one adjacent owner on whom observe needs to be served in regard of the very same work and, when it comes to deep excavations, an Adjoining Owner might be aside from an immediate neighbour. It is always more effective to discuss the desired works with adjacent owners before serving them with official written notice – a proposition well described may reduce concerns sufficient to prevent a conflict occurring and prevent the requirement to select property surveyors.
There are two exceptions where the requirement to serve notice might be avoided:
- De minimis works: The government’s explanatory booklet states that some works on a party wall may be so small that service of notification under the Act would be typically regarded as not needed and give as examples works not likely to impact the structural strength or support functions of a party structure or cause damage to the neighbours side of it, such as re-plastering, shallow chasing for electrical circuitry or placing power sockets, and screws to support shelves, kitchen cupboards, and the like.
- Functions under Section 2 of the Act offered that written permission is acquired from all Adjacent Owners and Occupiers prior to work commences.
The 3 types of Notification are understood, respectively as:
- Area 1: Line of Junction Notice
- Area 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notice
- Section 6: Notification 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 start that work. The other two notices should be served a minimum of one month prior to work beginning.
The necessary info which Discovers must contain are as follows:
- Line of Junction Notification:
- An indicator of the building owner’s desire to build a wall.
- A description of the wall.
- Party Structure Notice:
- The name and address of the structure owner.
- The nature and details of the proposed work.
- The date on which the proposed work will begin.
- Notice of Adjacent Excavation:
- A sign of the building owner’s proposals.
- A declaration as to whether the structure owner proposes to underpin or otherwise reinforce or safeguard the structures of the building or structure of the adjoining owner.
- Accompanying plans and areas showing: a) the site and depth of any excavation the structure owner proposes to make; b) if he proposes to erect a building or structure, its website.
The majority of the pro-forma notifications in use consist of the following info as a matter of course despite the kind of notice:
- The date of the notice.
- The name and addresses of both the structure and adjacent owners (and the addresses of the homes being worked on/affected if various).
- A statement regarding the beginning of works relative to the suitable notice period.
- An advisory note describing what happens if the recipient actively dissents from the works or stops working to react within 14 days.
Area 10 of the Act specifies that where an adjacent owner does not consent in writing to works notified by the building owner under Sections 3 and 6, both celebrations should either settle on the consultation of a single property surveyor to act for both of them (referred to as the Agreed Property Surveyor), or each select their own surveyor, to figure out by award matters in dispute in between the celebrations.
Where a project is straightforward, this might just include consideration of the time and way in which those works are to be carried out. In more complex plans, thought will need to be offered to a commensurately greater number of elements and undoubtedly selected 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 very same treatment is used to deal with any subsequent disputes in between neighbouring owners that might emerge in relation to the alerted works, including any loss or damage suffered by an adjacent owner as a result of their execution.
Inactiveness on the part of the adjacent owner does not stop the statutory process. A dispute can emerge by an adjacent owner actively dissenting, that is, communicating to the building owner an objection in regard of some matter occurring out of or incidental to the works – the means of making that objection are not important, however if he stays quiet, neither dissenting nor consenting for a period of 2 week after having actually been served with a Notification under either Section 3 or Section 6, the Act considers a dissent to have actually occurred in any event.
There is no considered dissent arrangement in Section 1 of the Act. A valid dispute can still occur, and surveyors be designated in accordance with Section 10, in respect of works informed under that section but only as concerns real dissent on particular premises. An adjoining owner’s factors for disputing Area 2 and Area 6 works are rarely specified prior to the visit of property surveyors and in most cases not even then.
Where dissent has actually emerged, whether actual or deemed, both owners are legally required to appoint an agreed property surveyor or, if they can not jointly settle on a single person, a property 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, automatically gives the owner making the demand the statutory authority to select a surveyor on behalf of the recalcitrant party. This procedure is set out in section 10( 4) of the Act.
Where two property surveyors are designated, they are required to agree upon the choice, in writing, of a 3rd surveyor who may be called upon by either of the surveyors or either of the celebrations to identify the disputed matters and make the necessary award. The third surveyor is never ever selected by anyone but the Act gives the individual so chose the same statutory powers as the two surveyors.
Third surveyors are most commonly hired where the two property surveyors have actually reached an impasse in their deliberations over some particular point and typically this can be in regard on the reasonableness of the fees of the property surveyor designated by the adjacent owner. Seldom will a third surveyor be asked to draw up an award in respect of the entire works however may join with one or other of the two surveyors to do so if the requirement arises.
There is no meaning of who can be a property surveyor, but it needs to not be the same person that will monitor the works.
The award will set out the works that can be performed, who will pay the costs for the preparation of the award and examination of the works to ensure that they abide by the works, and who will spend for the works. They will typically be needed to pay the charges and the expense of the works if the work is solely for the advantage of the building owner.
Celebrations have 14 days to attract the county court if they disagree with the award.
The Act allows access to the adjacent home for the purposes of performing the works whether the adjacent owner allows or not, nevertheless they need to be given 2 week notice.
NB: The introduction of The Party Wall and so on. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 implies that from 6 April 2016, notifications and other files can be served by electronic interactions.
The details that Discovers need to offer in regard of works covered the above areas is different in each case. The requirements of Area 1 and Area 6 Notifications are set out in those sections but the requirements of a Notice relating to Section 2 works is set out in Section 3 of the Act. A valid dispute can still occur, and surveyors be selected in accordance with Section 10, in respect of works alerted under that area however only as concerns real dissent on specific grounds. An adjoining owner’s reasons for contesting Area 2 and Section 6 works are seldom specified prior to the visit of property surveyors and in lots of cases not even then.
Where dissent has arisen, whether real or deemed, both owners are lawfully obliged to appoint an agreed property surveyor or, if they can not jointly concur on a single individual, a property surveyor each and if requested to make such a consultation by the other party, should do so within 10 days of the request being served.
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