What is a Party Wall Award?
The procedure and requirements of a Party Wall Award are as set out in the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. A Party Wall Award is an arrangement made in between a minimum of two neighbouring occupiers prior to the commencement of construction/building work which is to be undertaken to a party limit or structure, or where works are being undertaken in close proximity to a party boundary or structure. There are three main types of work which require a Party Wall Property surveyor to carry out a Party Wall Award and these are:
- Line of junction (building a brand-new wall on or together with 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 building).
In London and across the UK, our skilled industrial building surveyors carry out a range of professional surveying services including Party Wall Studies (Party Wall Awards). At Commercial Building Surveyors we perform Party Wall Surveys by professional and experienced 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 etc. Act 1996 is a making it possible for Act, insofar as it approves the owner of a home the legal right to undertake specific works that may otherwise constitute trespass or nuisance.
However, it also looks for to secure the interests of adjacent owners from any possibly negative effects that such works may have by enforcing a requirement that all adjoining owners be provided prior notice of them.
In addition, the Act attends to an obligatory conflict resolution procedure moderated by a statutorily appointed surveyor or surveyors if neighbouring owners have concerns about the application of any proposition so notified.
Particularly, such notice must be served where the owner of a property (known as ‘the building owner’) plans to undertake any building and construction work explained in Areas 1, 2 and 6 of the Act. Note that it is just those works that are covered by the Act and the scope is restricted to the following:
- Section 1 uses where it is proposed to put up a brand-new wall at a boundary that is not already built on.
- Area 2 issues existing party structures, that include party walls, floors and partitions (that separate structures or parts of buildings), party fence walls (essentially a boundary wall in between lands in separate ownership which is built astride a boundary) and, in some instances, a neighbour’s independent property.
- Section 6 can apply to excavations as much as 6 m away from a structure or structure on neighbouring land, based on depth requirements which the Act sets out.
The information that Discovers need to offer in regard of works covered the above sections is different in each case. The requirements of Area 1 and Area 6 Notices are set out in those sections however the requirements of a Notification relating to Section 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. It is necessary to note that the credibility of any notification not supplying all the pertinent information or served in the incorrect way, could be available to challenge in Court.
There is no standard kind of Notice although many people utilize those released by the RICS or versions appended to the explanatory brochure released by the Department for Communities and City Government. Provided all the info required by the relevant area of the Act is present, an easy letter would be similarly legitimate.
Depending on the circumstances of any offered task there might be more than one adjoining owner on whom notice needs to be served in respect of the same work and, in the case of deep excavations, an Adjoining Owner may be aside from an instant neighbour. It is constantly preferable to go over the designated works with adjoining owners before serving them with official written notification – a proposal well described may minimize issues enough to prevent a disagreement arising and prevent the need to select surveyors.
There are two exceptions where the requirement to serve notice might be avoided:
- De minimis works: The government’s explanatory booklet says that some works on a party wall might be so minor that service of notice under the Act would be usually considered not necessary and give as examples works unlikely to impact the structural strength or support 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 racks, kitchen area cupboards, and so on.
- Works under Area 2 of the Act provided that written permission is obtained from all Adjacent Owners and Occupiers before work commences.
The three kinds of Notification are understood, respectively as:
- Area 1: Line of Junction Notification
- Section 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notification
- Area 6: Notice of Adjacent Excavation
A party structure notification need to be served a minimum of 2 months prior to the date on which it is proposed to start that work. The other 2 notifications should be served at least one month prior to work beginning.
The obligatory details which Notices must consist of 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 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 indication of the building owner’s propositions.
- A declaration as to whether the structure owner proposes to underpin or otherwise enhance or protect the foundations of the building or structure of the adjacent owner.
- Accompanying areas and plans revealing: a) the website and depth of any excavation the building owner proposes to make; b) if he proposes to erect a structure or structure, its site.
The majority of the pro-forma notifications in use include the following details as a matter of course regardless of the type of notification:
- The date of the notification.
- The name and addresses of both the building and adjacent owners (and the addresses of the residential or commercial properties being worked on/affected if different).
- A statement regarding the commencement of works relative to the appropriate notice duration.
- If the recipient actively dissents from the works or fails to react within 14 days, an advisory note explaining what occurs.
Section 10 of the Act stipulates that where an adjacent owner does not consent in writing to works alerted by the structure owner under Areas 3 and 6, both parties must either agree on the visit of a single property surveyor to act for both of them (known as the Agreed Surveyor), or each appoint their own surveyor, to figure out by award matters in dispute in between the celebrations.
Where a project is straightforward, this may just include factor to consider of the time and manner in which those works are to be performed. In more complex plans, believed will have to be offered to a commensurately greater number of aspects and indeed appointed surveyors have the statutory jurisdiction to make an award in respect of any matter connected with any work to which the act relates.
The exact same treatment is utilized to fix any subsequent disagreements in between neighbouring owners that might emerge in relation to the alerted works, consisting of any loss or damage suffered by an adjoining owner as a result of their execution.
Inaction on the part of the adjacent owner does not stop the statutory procedure. A conflict can occur by an adjacent owner actively dissenting, that is, interacting to the structure owner an objection in respect of some matter developing out of or incidental to the works – the means of making that objection are trivial, 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 occurred in any event.
There is no deemed dissent provision in Area 1 of the Act. A legitimate conflict can still occur, and property surveyors be selected in accordance with Section 10, in regard of works informed under that section however just as relates to actual dissent on particular premises. An adjacent owner’s factors for contesting Section 2 and Area 6 works are hardly ever specified prior to the appointment of surveyors and in many cases not even then.
Where dissent has actually emerged, whether actual or considered, both owners are legally obliged to designate an agreed surveyor or, if they can not jointly agree on a single person, a surveyor each and if asked for to make such a consultation by the other party, need to do so within 10 days of the request being served. Failure to comply, automatically gives the owner making the request the statutory authority to appoint a surveyor on behalf of the recalcitrant party. This treatment is set out in area 10( 4) of the Act.
Where 2 property surveyors are selected, they are obliged to agree upon the selection, in writing, of a 3rd property surveyor who may be called upon by either of the property surveyors or either of the parties to figure out the contested matters and make the needed award. The third surveyor is never ever designated by anybody however the Act gives the person so chose the exact same statutory powers as the two property surveyors.
3rd surveyors are most frequently hired where the two surveyors have reached an impasse in their considerations over some particular point and typically this can be in regard on the reasonableness of the fees of the property surveyor selected by the adjacent owner. Hardly ever will a third property surveyor be asked to draw up an award in regard of the whole works however may accompany one or other of the two property surveyors to do so if the requirement occurs.
There is no definition of who can be a surveyor, however it should not be the same individual that will supervise the works.
The award will set out the works that can be carried out, who will pay the fees for the preparation of the award and evaluation of the works to ensure that they adhere to the works, and who will spend for the works. If the work is exclusively for the benefit of the structure owner, then they will generally be required to pay the costs and the cost of the works.
Celebrations have 14 days to attract the county court if they disagree with the award.
The Act enables access to the adjoining home for the functions of carrying out the works whether the adjacent owner permits or not, however they need to be provided 14 days notification.
NB: The intro of The Party Wall and so on. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 suggests that from 6 April 2016, notifications and other files can be served by electronic communications.
The info that Observes need to provide in respect of works covered the above areas is various in each case. The requirements of Area 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 Area 3 of the Act. A valid conflict can still emerge, and property surveyors be appointed in accordance with Area 10, in respect of works alerted under that area however only as regards actual dissent on particular premises. An adjacent owner’s reasons for disputing Area 2 and Section 6 works are seldom specified prior to the appointment of property surveyors and in numerous cases not even then.
Where dissent has arisen, whether actual or considered, both owners are lawfully required to appoint an agreed surveyor or, if they can not jointly agree on a single person, a property surveyor each and if requested to make such a visit by the other party, need to do so within 10 days of the demand being served.
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