What is a Party Wall Award?
A Party Wall Award is an arrangement made in between at least two neighbouring occupiers prior to the start of construction/building work which is to be carried out to a party limit or structure, or where works are being undertaken in close proximity to a party border or structure. There are three primary types of work which need a Party Wall Property surveyor to conduct a Party Wall Award and these are:
- Line of junction (constructing a new wall on or along with a limit).
- Party Structure Functions (works to an existing party wall such as cutting into, rebuilding, 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 knowledgeable commercial building surveyors perform a variety of professional surveying services including Party Wall Studies (Party Wall Awards). At Commercial Structure Surveyors we perform Party Wall Surveys by professional 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 a making it possible for Act, insofar as it gives the owner of a residential or commercial property the legal right to undertake certain works that may otherwise constitute trespass or problem.
Nevertheless, it also seeks to safeguard the interests of adjacent owners from any potentially negative effects that such works may have by imposing a requirement that all adjacent owners be offered prior notice of them.
In addition, the Act offers a mandatory disagreement resolution procedure moderated by a statutorily designated surveyor or property surveyors if neighbouring owners have concerns about the application of any proposal so informed.
Particularly, such notification should be served where the owner of a property (known as ‘the building owner’) means to carry out any building work explained in Sections 1, 2 and 6 of the Act. Note that it is just those works that are covered by the Act and the scope is limited to the following:
- Section 1 applies where it is proposed to erect a brand-new wall at a limit that is not currently built on.
- Section 2 issues existing party structures, that include party walls, floorings and partitions (that separate buildings or parts of buildings), party fence walls (basically a border wall between lands in separate ownership which is developed astride a border) and, in some circumstances, a neighbour’s independent home.
- Section 6 can apply to excavations up to 6 m away from a structure or structure on neighbouring land, subject to depth requirements which the Act sets out.
The information that Notices must provide in respect of works covered the above areas is various in each case. The requirements of Area 1 and Area 6 Notices are set out in those sections however the requirements of a Notice connecting 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 notification not providing all the relevant information or served in the incorrect way, could be open to challenge in Court.
There is no standard form of Notification although many individuals utilize those released by the RICS or variations appended to the explanatory brochure issued by the Department for Communities and City Government. Nevertheless, offered all the details required by the appropriate area of the Act is present, a simple letter would be equally valid.
Depending upon the circumstances of any offered task there might be more than one adjoining owner on whom discover 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 instant neighbour. It is always more effective to go over the desired deal with adjoining owners prior to serving them with official written notice – a proposition well described may alleviate issues enough to prevent a disagreement arising and prevent the necessity to appoint surveyors.
There are 2 exceptions where the requirement to serve notice might be avoided:
- De minimis works: The government’s explanatory pamphlet states that some works on a party wall may be so small that service of notice under the Act would be typically considered not needed and give as examples works unlikely to affect the structural strength or support functions of a party structure or cause damage to the neighbours side of it, such as re-plastering, shallow chasing for electrical wiring or placing power sockets, and screws to support shelves, cooking area cabinets, and so on.
- Functions under Section 2 of the Act supplied that composed consent is obtained from all Adjacent Owners and Occupiers before work commences.
The 3 types of Notice are known, respectively as:
- Area 1: Line of Junction Notification
- Area 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notice
- Section 6: Notification of Adjacent Excavation
A party structure notice need to be served at least 2 months prior to the date on which it is proposed to begin that work. The other two notifications must be served at least one month prior to work starting.
The obligatory info which Observes must contain are as follows:
- Line of Junction Notification:
- A sign 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 details of the proposed work.
- The date on which the proposed work will begin.
- Notification of Adjacent Excavation:
- A sign of the building owner’s proposals.
- A statement as to whether the building owner proposes to underpin or otherwise strengthen or safeguard the foundations of the structure or structure of the adjoining owner.
- Accompanying plans and areas revealing: a) the website and depth of any excavation the structure owner proposes to make; b) if he proposes to put up a building or structure, its website.
Most of the pro-forma notifications in use consist of the following info as a matter of course regardless of the kind of notice:
- The date of the notice.
- If various), the name and addresses of both the building and adjoining owners (and the addresses of the residential or commercial properties being worked on/affected.
- A declaration as to the beginning of works relative to the suitable notice period.
- If the recipient actively dissents from the works or stops working to respond within 14 days, an advisory note explaining what occurs.
Area 10 of the Act states that where an adjacent owner does not authorization in writing to works alerted by the structure owner under Sections 3 and 6, both celebrations need to either agree on the visit of a single surveyor to act for both of them (called the Agreed Property Surveyor), or each appoint their own surveyor, to determine by award matters in dispute between the parties.
Where a job is straightforward, this might only include consideration of the time and way in which those works are to be performed. In more complex schemes, thought will have to be provided to a commensurately greater number of aspects and indeed selected 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 exact same procedure is utilized to deal with any subsequent disagreements between neighbouring owners that might emerge in relation to the alerted 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 halt the statutory process. A dispute can develop by an adjoining owner actively dissenting, that is, interacting to the structure owner an objection in respect of some matter occurring out of or incidental to the works – the ways of making that objection are trivial, however if he remains silent, neither consenting nor dissenting for a duration of 2 week after having been served with a Notice under either Section 3 or Area 6, the Act deems 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 arise, and property surveyors be designated in accordance with Section 10, in regard of works informed under that area however just as concerns actual dissent on particular grounds. An adjacent owner’s reasons for contesting Section 2 and Section 6 works are rarely defined prior to the visit of surveyors and oftentimes not even then.
Where dissent has actually arisen, whether real or considered, both owners are lawfully required to select a concurred property 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, should do so within 10 days of the request being served. Failure to comply, automatically provides the owner making the request the statutory authority to select a property surveyor on behalf of the recalcitrant party. This treatment is set out in section 10( 4) of the Act.
Where two property surveyors are selected, they are required to agree upon the selection, in writing, of a third property surveyor who might be hired by either of the surveyors or either of the celebrations to identify the challenged matters and make the essential award. The third surveyor is never designated by anyone but the Act offers the person so selected the very same statutory powers as the two property surveyors.
3rd surveyors are most frequently hired where the two surveyors have actually reached a deadlock in their deliberations over some particular point and typically this can be in respect on the reasonableness of the fees of the surveyor selected by the adjoining owner. Rarely will a third surveyor be asked to prepare an award in regard of the whole works but may join with one or other of the two property surveyors to do so if the need emerges.
There is no definition of who can be a property surveyor, however it needs to 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 fees for the preparation of the award and inspection of the works to guarantee 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 normally be needed to pay the fees 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 adjacent property for the purposes of performing the works whether the adjoining owner permits or not, however they should be provided 14 days notice.
NB: The introduction of The Party Wall and so on. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 indicates that from 6 April 2016, notices and other documents can be served by electronic communications.
The details that Notices should offer in regard of works covered the above areas is different in each case. The requirements of Section 1 and Area 6 Notifications are set out in those areas however the requirements of a Notification relating to Area 2 works is set out in Section 3 of the Act. A valid dispute can still develop, and property surveyors be appointed in accordance with Area 10, in respect of works notified under that area however just as regards real dissent on particular grounds. An adjoining owner’s factors for challenging Area 2 and Section 6 works are seldom specified prior to the visit of property surveyors and in lots of cases not even then.
Where dissent has actually emerged, whether real or deemed, both owners are lawfully obliged to designate an agreed property surveyor or, if they can not collectively concur on a single individual, a surveyor each and if asked for to make such a consultation by the other party, should do so within 10 days of the demand being served.
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