What is a Party Wall Award?
A Party Wall Award is an agreement made between at least two neighbouring occupiers prior to the beginning of construction/building work which is to be undertaken to a party border or structure, or where works are being carried out in close proximity to a party boundary or structure. There are three main types of work which require a Party Wall Surveyor to conduct a Party Wall Award and these are:
- Line of junction (developing a brand-new wall on or alongside a border).
- Party Structure Works (works to an existing party wall such as cutting into, reconstructing, thickening and so on).
- Nearby Excavation (excavations to a lower level within either 3m or 6m of an existing structure).
In London and across the UK, our skilled industrial structure surveyors perform a series of professional surveying services consisting of Party Wall Studies (Party Wall Awards). At Commercial Structure Surveyors we perform Party Wall Surveys by expert and skilled 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 an allowing Act, insofar as it gives the owner of a property the legal right to carry out particular works that might otherwise constitute trespass or problem.
It also looks for to safeguard the interests of adjoining owners from any possibly negative results that such works may have by imposing a requirement that all adjacent owners be provided prior notification of them.
In addition, the Act offers a necessary conflict resolution procedure moderated by a statutorily designated surveyor or property surveyors if neighbouring owners have issues about the implementation of any proposition so informed.
Particularly, such notification needs to be served where the owner of a residential or commercial property (called ‘the structure owner’) means to carry out any building work explained in Areas 1, 2 and 6 of the Act. Keep in mind that it is just those works that are covered by the Act and the scope is limited to the following:
- Area 1 applies where it is proposed to erect a brand-new wall at a border that is not already built on.
- Area 2 concerns existing party structures, that include party walls, partitions and floorings (that different buildings or parts of structures), party fence walls (essentially a limit wall in between lands in different ownership which is built astride a limit) and, in some instances, a neighbour’s independent property.
- Section 6 can apply to excavations approximately 6 m away from a structure or structure on neighbouring land, subject to depth criteria which the Act sets out.
The details that Notices need to provide in respect of works covered the above sections is various in each case. The requirements of Area 1 and Section 6 Notices are set out in those areas but the requirements of a Notice relating to Area 2 works is set out in Section 3 of the Act. It is essential to keep in mind that the validity of any notice not providing all the pertinent info or served in the inaccurate manner, could be open to challenge in Court.
There is no standard type of Notice although many people use those published by the RICS or versions appended to the explanatory booklet released by the Department for Communities and City Government. Provided all the information needed by the appropriate section of the Act is present, an easy letter would be equally legitimate.
Depending on the situations of any offered task there may be more than one adjoining owner on whom observe requirements to be served in respect of the exact same work and, when it comes to deep excavations, an Adjacent Owner may be other than an immediate neighbour. It is constantly more effective to go over the designated deal with adjacent owners prior to serving them with official written notice – a proposition well discussed may minimize concerns enough to prevent a conflict emerging and prevent the necessity to select property surveyors.
There are 2 exceptions where the need to serve notice may be prevented:
- De minimis works: The federal government’s explanatory booklet states that some works on a party wall may be so minor that service of notice under the Act would be generally regarded as not essential and give as examples works not likely 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 circuitry or inserting power sockets, and screws to support racks, kitchen cupboards, and so forth.
- Functions under Area 2 of the Act offered that composed authorization is gotten from all Adjoining Owners and Occupiers prior to work commences.
The three kinds of Notice are understood, respectively as:
- Area 1: Line of Junction Notification
- Section 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notification
- Section 6: Notice of Adjacent Excavation
A party structure notice should be served a minimum of 2 months before the date on which it is proposed to start that work. The other two notifications need to be served a minimum of one month prior to work starting.
The obligatory information which Discovers should include are as follows:
- Line of Junction Notice:
- An indicator of the structure owner’s desire to build a wall.
- A description of the wall.
- Party Structure Notification:
- The name and address of the building owner.
- The nature and particulars of the proposed work.
- The date on which the proposed work will start.
- Notification of Adjacent Excavation:
- A sign of the structure owner’s proposals.
- A declaration as to whether the structure owner proposes to underpin or otherwise enhance or safeguard the structures of the structure or structure of the adjacent owner.
- Accompanying plans and sections revealing: a) the site and depth of any excavation the building owner proposes to make; b) if he proposes to set up a building or structure, its site.
Most of the pro-forma notifications in use include the following details as a matter of course regardless of 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 properties being worked on/affected if various).
- A statement as to the beginning of works relative to the proper notification duration.
- An advisory note describing what happens if the recipient actively dissents from the works or stops working to react within 2 week.
Area 10 of the Act specifies that where an adjacent owner does not consent in writing to works alerted by the building owner under Areas 3 and 6, both celebrations need to either agree on the consultation of a single surveyor to act for both of them (known as the Agreed Property Surveyor), or each select their own property surveyor, to determine by award matters in dispute between the parties.
Where a job is straightforward, this may only include consideration of the time and way in which those works are to be carried out. In more complex schemes, thought will need to be offered to a commensurately greater number of factors and certainly appointed surveyors have the statutory jurisdiction to make an award in regard of any matter gotten in touch with any work to which the act relates.
The very same treatment is used to solve any subsequent disputes in between neighbouring owners that may occur in relation to the alerted works, including any loss or damage suffered by an adjoining owner as a result of their execution.
Inactiveness on the part of the adjoining owner does not stop the statutory procedure. A dispute can arise by an adjoining owner actively dissenting, that is, interacting to the building owner an objection in regard of some matter arising out of or incidental to the works – the methods of making that objection are trivial, but if he remains silent, neither dissenting nor consenting for a duration of 2 week after having actually been served with a Notification under either Section 3 or Area 6, the Act deems a dissent to have actually developed in any event.
There is no deemed dissent provision in Area 1 of the Act. A legitimate disagreement can still occur, and property surveyors be appointed in accordance with Area 10, in respect of works informed under that section but just as concerns actual dissent on particular grounds. An adjoining owner’s factors for contesting Section 2 and Section 6 works are hardly ever defined prior to the visit of surveyors and in most cases not even then.
Where dissent has occurred, whether real or deemed, both owners are legally obliged to select 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 consultation by the other party, must 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 2 property surveyors are appointed, they are required to agree upon the choice, in writing, of a 3rd surveyor who may be hired by either of the property surveyors or either of the celebrations to figure out the disputed matters and make the necessary award. The 3rd property surveyor is never selected by anyone but the Act offers the person so picked the very same statutory powers as the two property surveyors.
Third property surveyors are most typically called upon where the two surveyors have actually reached a deadlock in their deliberations over some specific point and frequently this can be in respect on the reasonableness of the fees of the surveyor selected by the adjacent owner. Rarely will a third surveyor be asked to prepare an award in respect of the entire works but might join with one or other of the two surveyors to do so if the need emerges.
There is no meaning 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 performed, who will pay the costs for the preparation of the award and evaluation of the works to ensure that they comply with the works, and who will spend for the works. If the work is exclusively for the benefit of the structure owner, then they will normally be required to pay the charges and the expense of the works.
Parties have 2 week to interest the county court if they disagree with the award.
The Act enables access to the adjoining home for the purposes of carrying out the works whether the adjacent owner allows or not, nevertheless they should be given 2 week notice.
NB: The intro of The Party Wall and so on. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 means that from 6 April 2016, notices and other files can be served by electronic interactions.
The info that Discovers must 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 areas but the requirements of a Notice relating to Section 2 works is set out in Section 3 of the Act. A legitimate dispute can still develop, and surveyors be selected in accordance with Area 10, in regard of works alerted under that section however only as concerns real dissent on particular grounds. An adjacent owner’s factors for contesting 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 emerged, whether real or deemed, both owners are legally obliged to select a concurred property surveyor or, if they can not collectively concur on a single person, a property surveyor each and if asked for to make such an appointment by the other party, need to do so within 10 days of the demand being served.
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