What is a Party Wall Award?
The process 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 between at least 2 neighbouring occupiers prior to the start 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 limit or structure. There are three main kinds 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 along with a boundary).
- Party Structure Functions (works to an existing party wall such as cutting into, restoring, thickening and so on).
- Surrounding Excavation (excavations to a lower level within either 3m or 6m of an existing structure).
In London and across the UK, our skilled business building surveyors perform a range of professional surveying services including Party Wall Studies (Party Wall Awards). At Commercial Structure Surveyors we carry out Party Wall Studies by knowledgeable and expert 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 grants the owner of a residential or commercial property the legal right to undertake certain works that might otherwise make up trespass or problem.
It also seeks to protect the interests of adjoining owners from any potentially adverse effects that such works might have by enforcing a requirement that all adjoining owners be offered prior notice of them.
In addition, the Act attends to a compulsory disagreement resolution treatment moderated by a statutorily selected property surveyor or surveyors if neighbouring owners have concerns about the implementation of any proposal so notified.
Specifically, such notification must be served where the owner of a home (referred to as ‘the structure owner’) intends to carry out any building and construction work explained in Areas 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 uses where it is proposed to set up a new wall at a border that is not currently built on.
- Area 2 concerns existing party structures, which include party walls, floors and partitions (that separate buildings or parts of buildings), party fence walls (basically a border wall in between lands in different ownership which is developed astride a boundary) and, in some instances, a neighbour’s independent residential or commercial property.
- Section 6 can apply to excavations as much as 6 m far from a structure or structure on neighbouring land, based on depth criteria which the Act sets out.
The details that Sees must provide in regard of works covered the above areas is various in each case. The requirements of Section 1 and Section 6 Notifications are set out in those sections but the requirements of a Notification relating to Area 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. It is important to keep in mind that the validity of any notice not providing all the appropriate information or served in the inaccurate manner, could be open up to challenge in Court.
There is no basic kind of Notice although lots of people utilize those published by the RICS or versions added to the explanatory pamphlet issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Supplied all the details needed by the relevant area of the Act is present, an easy letter would be equally valid.
Depending on the scenarios of any offered project there may be more than one adjacent owner on whom observe needs to be served in regard of the same work and, when it comes to deep excavations, an Adjacent Owner may be aside from an immediate neighbour. It is constantly more effective to go over the designated deal with adjacent owners prior to serving them with official composed notice – a proposition well discussed may reduce issues sufficient to prevent a dispute occurring and avoid the necessity to appoint property surveyors.
There are 2 exceptions where the need 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 minor that service of notification under the Act would be typically regarded as not essential and give as examples works unlikely to affect the structural strength or assistance 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 racks, cooking area cupboards, and the like.
- Works under Section 2 of the Act offered that composed permission is obtained from all Adjacent Owners and Occupiers prior to work commences.
The three kinds 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 notification should be served at least 2 months before the date on which it is proposed to start that work. The other 2 notifications must be served a minimum of one month prior to work starting.
The necessary information which Discovers need to contain are as follows:
- Line of Junction Notice:
- An indicator of the structure owner’s desire to construct a wall.
- A description of the wall.
- Party Structure Notice:
- The name and address of the structure owner.
- The nature and particulars of the proposed work.
- The date on which the proposed work will start.
- Notification of Adjacent Excavation:
- An indication of the building owner’s proposals.
- A statement regarding whether the building owner proposes to underpin or otherwise reinforce or protect the foundations of the building or structure of the adjoining owner.
- Accompanying strategies and sections showing: 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.
Most of the pro-forma notifications in use consist of 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 structure and adjoining owners (and the addresses of the residential or commercial properties being worked on/affected if different).
- A declaration as to the beginning of works relative to the suitable notification duration.
- An advisory note discussing what takes place if the recipient actively dissents from the works or fails to respond within 2 week.
Area 10 of the Act states that where an adjoining owner does not approval in writing to works informed by the structure owner under Sections 3 and 6, both parties need to either agree on the appointment of a single property surveyor to act for both of them (known as the Agreed Property Surveyor), or each appoint their own surveyor, to figure out by award matters in dispute between the parties.
Where a task is straightforward, this might only involve factor to consider of the time and manner in which those works are to be performed. In more complex plans, thought will have to be offered to a commensurately greater number of factors and indeed selected property 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 procedure is used to solve any subsequent conflicts in between neighbouring owners that may arise 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 adjoining owner does not stop the statutory process. A conflict can emerge by an adjoining owner actively dissenting, that is, communicating to the building owner an objection in respect of some matter occurring out of or incidental to the works – the ways of making that objection are not important, but if he stays quiet, neither consenting nor dissenting for a duration of 14 days after having been served with a Notice under either Area 3 or Area 6, the Act considers a dissent to have occurred in any event.
There is no considered dissent arrangement in Section 1 of the Act. A valid dispute can still emerge, and property surveyors be designated in accordance with Section 10, in regard of works notified under that area however only as regards actual dissent on particular premises. An adjacent owner’s factors for disputing Section 2 and Section 6 works are hardly ever defined prior to the visit of surveyors and in many cases not even then.
Where dissent has occurred, whether actual or deemed, both owners are lawfully obliged to designate an agreed surveyor or, if they can not jointly agree on a single person, a property surveyor each and if asked for to make such a visit by the other party, should do so within 10 days of the demand being served. Failure to comply, immediately offers the owner making the demand the statutory authority to designate a property surveyor on behalf of the recalcitrant party. This treatment is set out in area 10( 4) of the Act.
Where two surveyors are selected, they are obliged to agree upon the selection, in writing, of a 3rd surveyor who might be called upon by either of the surveyors or either of the parties to determine the contested matters and make the required award. The third property surveyor is never designated by anyone however the Act offers the individual so selected the same statutory powers as the two property surveyors.
Third surveyors are most commonly hired where the two property surveyors have reached a deadlock in their deliberations over some particular point and frequently this can be in regard on the reasonableness of the fees of the property surveyor selected by the adjacent owner. Rarely will a 3rd surveyor be asked to draw up an award in respect of the entire works but might accompany one or other of the two property surveyors to do so if the requirement arises.
There is no definition of who can be a surveyor, however it ought 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 fees for the preparation of the award and examination of the works to make sure that they abide by the works, and who will spend for the works. If the work is exclusively for the benefit of the building owner, then they will usually be required to pay the fees and the expense of the works.
If they disagree with the award, parties have 14 days to appeal to the county court.
The Act allows access to the adjacent residential or commercial property for the functions of performing the works whether the adjoining owner permits or not, nevertheless they should be offered 2 week notification.
NB: The introduction of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 implies that from 6 April 2016, notifications and other documents can be served by electronic interactions.
The info that Sees need to supply in regard of works covered the above areas is various in each case. The requirements of Section 1 and Section 6 Notifications are set out in those areas but the requirements of a Notification relating to Section 2 works is set out in Section 3 of the Act. A valid conflict can still arise, and property surveyors be appointed in accordance with Area 10, in respect of works alerted under that section but only as concerns real dissent on particular premises. An adjoining owner’s reasons for disputing Section 2 and Section 6 works are rarely specified prior to the visit of property surveyors and in numerous cases not even then.
Where dissent has emerged, whether real or deemed, both owners are lawfully required to appoint an agreed property surveyor or, if they can not collectively agree on a single individual, a property surveyor each and if requested to make such an appointment by the other party, need to do so within 10 days of the demand being served.
Around the Web