What is a Party Wall Award?
A Party Wall Award is a contract made in between at least 2 neighbouring occupiers prior to the commencement of construction/building work which is to be undertaken to a party border or structure, or where works are being undertaken in close proximity to a party border or structure. There are 3 primary types of work which need a Party Wall Surveyor to perform a Party Wall Award and these are:
- Line of junction (constructing a brand-new wall on or alongside a boundary).
- Party Structure Works (works to an existing party wall such as cutting into, rebuilding, 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 knowledgeable business building property surveyors carry out a range of expert surveying services consisting of Party Wall Studies (Party Wall Awards). At Commercial Structure Surveyors we carry out Party Wall Studies by knowledgeable and professional 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.
The Party Wall Act 1996
as it impacts the garden
At first sight, it is easy to think that the 1996 Party Wall Act does not impact garden building, however it does impact the building and construction of border walls even if not part of structures and can also applies to deep excavations.
The Party Wall Act 1996 entered force in 1997, so it is now law and offers you rights and duties whichever the side of the ‘wall’ you are on i.e. whether you are planning/doing work on a relevant structure or if your neighbour is.
The Party Wall Act does not apply to limit fences.
The Party Wall Act does not affect any requirement for Planning Approval for any work carried out. Having Planning Authorization does not negate the requirements under the Party Wall Act.
The Party Wall Act enters effect if someone is planning to do work on a pertinent structure, for the purposes of the Act ‘party wall’ does not just mean the wall in between two semi-detached residential or commercial properties, as far as garden enthusiasts are worried it covers:
- A garden wall, where the wall is astride the limit line (or butts up against it) and is used to separate the homes however is not part of any building.
- Excavation close to a neighbouring residential or commercial property.
For information of how the Party Wall Act impacts structure operate in general, have a look at this page.
Similar to all work impacting neighbours, it is always better to reach a friendly agreement rather than resort to any law. Even where the work needs a notice to be served, it is better to informally go over the intended work, think about the neighbours comments, and amend your strategies (if appropriate) prior to serving the notification.
What garden work requires a notification and approval.
The general concept of the Party Wall Act is that all work which may have a result upon the structural strength or assistance function of the party wall or may trigger damage to the neighbouring side of the wall need to be alerted. Advice must be looked for from a regional Building Control Office or professional surveyor/architect if in doubt.
Operate in the garden covered by the Party Wall Act include:
- To rebuild/build a party and/or destroy boundary wall.
- To increase the height or density of a party boundary wall.
- Excavations within 3 metres of a neighbouring building where the excavation will go listed below the bottom of the foundations of the neighbouring structure.
- Excavations within 6 metres of a neighbouring building where the excavation will go below a line drawn 45 ° downwards from the bottom of the foundations of the neighbouring building.
A notice needs to be issued to all affected neighbouring parties if the planned work on a limit wall falls under the Party Wall Act. The notification needs to consist of (see sample letters in Part 5 of the Party Wall leaflet):.
- The owners of the residential or commercial property undertaking the work.
- The address of the residential or commercial property.
- A complete description of the proposed work (this will typically be just a single sentence outlining the work).
- The proposed start date for the work.
- A clear declaration that the notice is being served under The Party Wall etc Act 1996.
- The date the notification is being served.
- If the work involves excavations, a drawing revealing the depth, position and so on
If the planned work is a new limit wall as much as or astride the boundary line the procedure of serving a notification under the Party Wall Act is as follows:.
- The person intending to perform the work needs to serve a written notice at least one months prior to the desired start of the work to every neighbouring party offering information of the work to be performed.
- Each neighbouring party should react in writing giving consent or signing up dissent – if a neighbouring party not does anything within 2 week of receiving the notification, the result is to put the notification into conflict. However no formal arrangement is required for a wall up to the boundary line, the neighbour just needs not to object in composing.
- No work may commence on a wall astride the limit line till all neighbouring parties have agreed in writing to the notification (or a modified notice).
See listed below concerning what takes place in case of a dispute/objection.
If the prepared work is an excavation within the distance/depth covered by the Party Wall Act, the notification needs to be served a minimum of one month prior to the planned start day of the work. Neighbouring parties should provide written contract within 14 days or a dispute is considered to have actually happened.
See below concerning what takes place in case of a dispute/objection.
What occurs if a disagreement occurs.
If arrangement can not be reached between neighbouring parties, the procedure is as follows:.
- A Surveyor or Surveyors is/are selected to figure out a impartial and fair Award, either:.
- A single ‘Agreed Surveyor’ (someone appropriate to all parties).
- Each party designates their own Property surveyor to represent the specific celebrations.
The person who is carrying out the work will typically need to pay all the expenses of the Surveyors, the only exception being if the neighbour calls out a Property surveyor needlessly – in the viewpoint of the Property surveyor. However it should be noted that any Property surveyor needs to act within their statutory responsibilities and propose a impartial and reasonable Award.
- A single ‘Agreed Surveyor’ (someone appropriate to all parties).
- The Agreed Surveyor, or the private Surveyors collectively, will produce an Award which must be impartial and fair to all celebrations.
- Once an Award has been made, all parties have 14 days to interest a County Court against the Award.
When you have agreement.
All work should comply with the notice when you have arrangement. All the arrangements need to be kept to guarantee that a record of the granted permission is kept; a subsequent buyer of the residential or commercial property might want to establish that the work was performed in accordance with the Party Wall Act requirements.
Keep in mind:
- We have actually just offered a brief overview of the Party Wall Act here as it impacts garden work however take a look at the Communities and Local Government site for a more comprehensive explanatory brochure including example letters for responses and notifications.
- Discussing intended work with neighbours is totally free and can avoid misconception which might develop if a notice gets here all of a sudden.
- Your local Structure Control Workplace may have the ability to offer complimentary advice relating to the Party Wall Act and how it applies to specific circumstances.
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