What is a Party Wall Award?
A Party Wall Award is a contract made between at least 2 neighbouring occupiers prior to the commencement of construction/building work which is to be undertaken to a party boundary or structure, or where works are being carried out in close proximity to a party boundary or structure. There are 3 primary types of work which require a Party Wall Property surveyor to carry out a Party Wall Award and these are:
- Line of junction (constructing a brand-new wall on or together with a limit).
- Party Structure Works (works to an existing party wall such as cutting into, reconstructing, thickening and so on).
- Adjacent Excavation (excavations to a lower level within either 3m or 6m of an existing structure).
In London and throughout the UK, our skilled business structure property surveyors carry out a range of expert surveying services consisting of Party Wall Surveys (Party Wall Awards). At Commercial Structure Surveyors we perform Party Wall Surveys by professional and experienced Party Wall Surveyors throughout the UK.
Party Wall (WikiPedia)
Party Wall Act
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is an enabling Act, insofar as it grants the owner of a property the legal right to undertake particular works that may otherwise constitute trespass or annoyance.
It also looks for to secure the interests of adjoining owners from any potentially negative effects that such works may have by imposing a requirement that all adjoining owners be given prior notification of them.
In addition, the Act provides for an obligatory disagreement resolution procedure moderated by a statutorily selected property surveyor or surveyors if neighbouring owners have issues about the implementation of any proposal so informed.
Particularly, such notice should be served where the owner of a home (called ‘the building owner’) plans to carry out any construction work described 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 restricted to the following:
- Section 1 applies where it is proposed to set up a new wall at a border that is not currently built on.
- Section 2 concerns existing party structures, that include party floorings, walls and partitions (that separate structures or parts of buildings), party fence walls (essentially a boundary wall between lands in separate ownership which is constructed astride a boundary) and, in some circumstances, a neighbour’s independent home.
- Section 6 can apply to excavations approximately 6 m away from a building or structure on neighbouring land, subject to depth requirements which the Act sets out.
The details that Discovers should provide in respect of works covered the above areas is different in each case. The requirements of Area 1 and Section 6 Notices are set out in those areas but the requirements of a Notice connecting to Area 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. It is important to note that the validity of any notification not providing all the relevant info or served in the inaccurate way, could be available to challenge in Court.
There is no standard kind of Notification although many people utilize those published by the RICS or variations added to the explanatory booklet provided by the Department for Communities and Local Government. However, supplied all the details needed by the appropriate area of the Act is present, a simple letter would be equally legitimate.
Depending upon the circumstances of any provided task there might 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 Adjoining Owner may be other than an instant neighbour. It is always more suitable to talk about the designated works with adjacent owners prior to serving them with formal composed notification – a proposition well described might reduce issues sufficient to prevent a dispute developing and avoid the requirement to select property surveyors.
There are two exceptions where the requirement to serve notice might be prevented:
- De minimis works: The federal government’s explanatory booklet states that some deal with a party wall may be so minor that service of notice under the Act would be normally considered as not needed and give as examples works not likely to affect 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 circuitry or inserting power sockets, and screws to support shelves, kitchen cabinets, and the like.
- Works under Section 2 of the Act provided that written approval is gotten from all Adjacent Owners and Occupiers prior to work commences.
The 3 types of Notice are understood, respectively as:
- Area 1: Line of Junction Notification
- Section 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notice
- Area 6: Notification of Adjacent Excavation
A party structure notice should be served a minimum of 2 months before the date on which it is proposed to begin that work. The other two notices must be served a minimum of one month prior to work commencing.
The compulsory information which Sees need to include are as follows:
- Line of Junction Notification:
- An indication of the building owner’s desire to construct 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 indicator of the building owner’s propositions.
- A declaration regarding whether the structure owner proposes to underpin or otherwise reinforce or secure the structures of the building or structure of the adjoining owner.
- Accompanying areas and plans revealing: 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.
Most of the pro-forma notifications in use include the following info as a matter of course no matter the kind of notice:
- The date of the notification.
- The name and addresses of both the structure and adjacent owners (and the addresses of the residential or commercial properties being worked on/affected if different).
- A statement regarding the start of works relative to the proper notice duration.
- An advisory note discussing what takes place if the recipient actively dissents from the works or fails to respond within 2 week.
Section 10 of the Act specifies that where an adjacent owner does not consent in writing to works informed by the structure owner under Areas 3 and 6, both parties should either agree on the visit of a single surveyor to act for both of them (called the Agreed Property Surveyor), or each select their own surveyor, to identify 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 carried out. In more complex plans, thought will have to be given to a commensurately greater number of aspects and undoubtedly selected property surveyors have the statutory jurisdiction to make an award in respect of any matter connected with any work to which the act relates.
The same treatment is utilized to fix any subsequent disagreements in between neighbouring owners that may arise in relation to the informed 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 develop by an adjoining owner actively dissenting, that is, communicating to the structure owner an objection in respect of some matter emerging out of or incidental to the works – the ways of making that objection are trivial, but if he stays quiet, neither dissenting nor consenting for a duration of 2 week after having actually been served with a Notice under either Section 3 or Section 6, the Act deems a dissent to have actually arisen in any event.
There is no considered dissent provision in Area 1 of the Act. A legitimate dispute can still occur, and surveyors be designated in accordance with Area 10, in respect of works informed under that section however just as concerns actual dissent on particular grounds. An adjoining owner’s factors for disputing Section 2 and Section 6 works are rarely defined prior to the consultation of surveyors and in most cases not even then.
Where dissent has actually arisen, whether actual or deemed, both owners are lawfully required to appoint an agreed property surveyor or, if they can not collectively settle on a single person, a surveyor each and if asked for to make such a visit by the other party, should do so within 10 days of the request being served. Failure to comply, immediately offers the owner making the request the statutory authority to designate a property surveyor on behalf of the recalcitrant party. This procedure is set out in section 10( 4) of the Act.
Where two property surveyors are selected, they are obliged to agree upon the selection, in writing, of a 3rd property surveyor who may be hired by either of the surveyors or either of the celebrations to figure out the contested matters and make the needed award. The third property surveyor is never appointed by anybody however the Act provides the individual so picked the exact same statutory powers as the two surveyors.
Third surveyors are most typically called upon where the two property surveyors have reached an impasse in their considerations over some particular point and frequently this can be in respect on the reasonableness of the costs of the property surveyor appointed by the adjacent owner. Rarely will a 3rd surveyor be asked to draw up an award in regard of the whole works however might join with one or other of the two surveyors to do so if the need arises.
There is no definition of who can be a surveyor, however it needs to not be the same person that will monitor the works.
The award will set out the works that can be carried out, who will pay the costs for the preparation of the award and inspection of the works to guarantee 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 usually be needed to pay the charges and the expense of the works.
Celebrations have 14 days to interest the county court if they disagree with the award.
The Act permits access to the adjoining home for the purposes of performing the works whether the adjoining owner gives permission or not, nevertheless they should be offered 14 days notice.
NB: The intro of The Party Wall and so on. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 means that from 6 April 2016, notifications and other documents can be served by electronic interactions.
The info that Observes need to supply in respect of works covered the above areas is different in each case. The requirements of Section 1 and Section 6 Notices are set out in those sections but the requirements of a Notice relating to Area 2 works is set out in Section 3 of the Act. A legitimate dispute can still occur, and surveyors be designated in accordance with Area 10, in respect of works informed under that section but only as relates to real dissent on particular premises. An adjacent owner’s factors for disputing Section 2 and Section 6 works are seldom specified prior to the appointment of property surveyors and in lots of cases not even then.
Where dissent has arisen, whether real or considered, both owners are legally required to select an agreed surveyor or, if they can not collectively concur on a single individual, a surveyor each and if requested to make such an appointment by the other party, must do so within 10 days of the demand being served.
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