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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.
How The Party Wall etc.
Act 1996 Works In simplified terms, the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 can be split into 2 stages; firstly the Notifying Phase and secondly, if needed, the Disputed Phase. The first stage is where the Building Owners have a legal obligation to serve an official Notice detailing the proposed works upon the Adjacent Owners. If the Adjacent Owners are pleased that the Structure Owners’ proposed works will be of no inconvenience or, pose no risk of damage to their home, the Adjoining Owners only need to verify, in composing, that they consent to the works and the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 might end there. The 2nd stage would only be triggered if the Adjoining Owners had any concerns associating with the Building Owners’ proposals or chose to disregard the Notice served by the Structure Owners.
A conflict would then be deemed to have actually occurred and, the structure provided by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 allows a resolution so that the Structure Owners might carry out works whilst offering security to both parties. At the point of a “disagreement” having actually arisen, both the Structure Owners and the Adjoining Owners have to select a Party Wall Surveyor to proceed with resolving the disagreement. This could be via different property surveyor appointments or, by agreeing to a single surveyor, called the Agreed Property surveyor.
Prior to any dispute emerging, Building Owners and Adjacent Owners do not necessarily require the services of a Party Wall Surveyor. The Party Wall Company are often commissioned to provide advice on the Act and to serve the appropriate Party Wall Notices, guaranteeing they are legally valid.
What is a Party Wall Notice?
Structure Owners preparing to perform any of the works specified within the Party Wall and so on. Act 1996 have a legal commitment to serve written Notification on any Adjoining Owner who may be impacted by the Structure Owners proposed works. There is no main design template for a Notice. Enough information of the proposed works, legal names of all Owners, and when the proposed works will commence are all critical to ensure the validity of the Notification.
The case of Lehmann vs Herman (1993) shows the importance of serving a legitimate Notification. Mr and Mrs Lehmann and Mr and Mrs Herman owned adjoining properties. Mr Herman wanted to fix the Party Fence Wall that divided the two gardens and served a Notice on Mr and Mrs Lehmann. However, as Mr Herman just served the Notification in his name, Mr and Mrs Lehmann refused to accept the Notice as being valid and argued that as both Mr and Mrs Herman would be regarded as Building Owners under the Act, Mrs Herman must also be consisted of on the Notification. The conflict ended up in court and the judge agreed with the Lehmanns that the Notification was void.
What is a Party Wall Award?
A Party Wall Award is a lawfully binding document in between Building Owners and Adjoining Owners, which has been agreed by the selected property surveyor( s), authorising the execution of building operate in accordance with the Act. An Award will also mention information of: how the works are to be undertaken; working times and days; steps required to safeguard the Adjoining Owners home from damage and unnecessary trouble; and make provisions for making great or the payment of payment must damage be caused. An Arrange of Condition survey of the Adjoining Owners home, although not a specific requirement of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, is traditional and forms a referral document within the Award. The purpose of an Arrange of Condition survey is to provide a composed and photographic record of the condition of the building prior to any works commencing. The schedule is then referred to needs to any damage emerged during or after completion of the works
I Already Have Preparation Permission And/ Or Structure Control Approval. Do I Still Required To Follow The Party Wall Act?
If your prepared works would be deemed notifiable under the Party Wall Act then yes, you would have to follow the treatments set out within the Act. No Regional Authority consent or approval would get rid of the legal responsibility to serve a Party Wall Notification upon your neighbour( s).
Does The Party Wall Act Cover Garden Fences?
The Act does cover “Party Fence Walls” which are considered to be a wall of solid structure that sits astride a limit and not becoming part of a building. Therefore, any works to such walls that would be deemed notifiable under the Party Wall Act would also apply to Party Fence Walls. Wood fencing, precast concrete posts with infill panel fencing, etc would not be deemed to be a Party Fence Wall, whether astride a limit or not.
If the Adjoining Owners are satisfied that the Structure Owners’ proposed works will be of no inconvenience or, posture no risk of damage to their home, the Adjoining Owners only need to validate, in composing, that they consent to the works and the Party Wall etc. At the point of a “dispute” having arisen, both the Building Owners and the Adjacent Owners have to appoint a Party Wall Surveyor to continue with dealing with the dispute. The Party Wall Business are often commissioned to provide guidance on the Act and to serve the appropriate Party Wall Notices, guaranteeing they are legally legitimate. A Party Wall Award is a legally binding file in between Building Owners and Adjoining Owners, which has been concurred by the appointed surveyor( s), authorising the execution of building work in accordance with the Act. Any works to such walls that would be considered notifiable under the Party Wall Act would also apply to Party Fence Walls.
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