What is a Party Wall Award?
The process and requirements of a Party Wall Award are as set out in the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. A Party Wall Award is an arrangement made in between at least 2 neighbouring occupiers prior to the start 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 border or structure. There are three primary kinds of work which require a Party Wall Property surveyor to conduct a Party Wall Award and these are:
- Line of junction (building a brand-new wall on or alongside a border).
- Party Structure Functions (works to an existing party wall such as cutting into, restoring, thickening etc.).
- Nearby Excavation (excavations to a lower level within either 3m or 6m of an existing building).
In London and throughout the UK, our experienced business building property surveyors carry out a series of professional surveying services consisting of Party Wall Studies (Party Wall Awards). At Commercial Building 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 and so on. Act 1996 is an allowing Act, insofar as it grants the owner of a property the legal right to carry out certain works that might otherwise make up trespass or nuisance.
It likewise looks for to protect the interests of adjacent owners from any possibly negative effects that such works may have by enforcing a requirement that all adjacent owners be given prior notice of them.
In addition, the Act attends to an obligatory conflict resolution procedure mediated by a statutorily selected property surveyor or property surveyors if neighbouring owners have issues about the implementation of any proposal so notified.
Specifically, such notification must be served where the owner of a home (called ‘the structure owner’) plans to carry out any construction work described in Areas 1, 2 and 6 of the Act. Note that it is only those works that are covered by the Act and the scope is limited to the following:
- Section 1 uses where it is proposed to put up a brand-new wall at a border that is not currently built on.
- Section 2 concerns existing party structures, that include party walls, partitions and floors (that different structures or parts of buildings), party fence walls (essentially a limit wall between lands in different ownership which is developed astride a border) and, in some circumstances, a neighbour’s independent property.
- Area 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 information that Discovers need to provide in respect of works covered the above areas is various in each case. The requirements of Section 1 and Section 6 Notices are set out in those sections but the requirements of a Notice connecting to Area 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. It is necessary to note that the validity of any notification not offering all the appropriate details or served in the inaccurate manner, could be open up to challenge in Court.
There is no standard type of Notice although lots of people use those released by the RICS or variations appended to the explanatory pamphlet provided by the Department for Communities and City Government. Nevertheless, provided all the information needed by the pertinent area of the Act is present, an easy letter would be similarly legitimate.
Depending upon the circumstances of any offered job there might be more than one adjacent owner on whom discover needs to be served in respect of the exact same work and, when it comes to deep excavations, an Adjacent Owner might be aside from an immediate neighbour. It is always preferable to discuss the designated works with adjacent owners before serving them with formal composed notice – a proposition well discussed might ease issues enough to prevent a conflict developing and avoid the requirement to appoint surveyors.
There are two exceptions where the need to serve notice might be avoided:
- De minimis works: The government’s explanatory pamphlet states that some works on a party wall might be so small that service of notification under the Act would be generally 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 circuitry or inserting power sockets, and screws to support shelves, kitchen cupboards, and so forth.
- Works under Section 2 of the Act provided that composed permission is gotten from all Adjacent Owners and Occupiers before work commences.
The 3 types of Notice are known, respectively as:
- Area 1: Line of Junction Notice
- Section 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notice
- Area 6: Notification of Adjacent Excavation
A party structure notification should be served at least two months before the date on which it is proposed to start that work. The other two notices need to be served at least one month prior to work starting.
The necessary info which Discovers should 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 Notification:
- The name and address of the structure owner.
- The nature and particulars of the proposed work.
- The date on which the proposed work will begin.
- Notice of Adjacent Excavation:
- A sign of the building owner’s proposals.
- A statement as to whether or not the building owner proposes to underpin or otherwise enhance or secure the structures of the building or structure of the adjacent owner.
- Accompanying strategies and areas showing: a) the website and depth of any excavation the building owner proposes to make; b) if he proposes to set up a structure or structure, its website.
Most of the pro-forma notifications in use consist of the following info as a matter of course no matter the kind of notification:
- The date of the notification.
- The name and addresses of both the building and adjacent owners (and the addresses of the properties being worked on/affected if various).
- A statement regarding the beginning of works relative to the suitable notice duration.
- An advisory note describing what takes place if the recipient actively dissents from the works or stops working to react within 14 days.
Area 10 of the Act specifies that where an adjoining owner does not authorization in writing to works alerted by the building owner under Sections 3 and 6, both celebrations must either agree on the visit of a single property surveyor to act for both of them (referred to as the Agreed Surveyor), or each appoint their own surveyor, to determine by award matters in dispute between the parties.
Where a project is straightforward, this might only include factor to consider of the time and way in which those works are to be performed. In more complex plans, believed will need to be given to a commensurately greater number of aspects and certainly 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 very same procedure is utilized to solve any subsequent conflicts 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.
Inaction on the part of the adjoining owner does not stop the statutory procedure. A disagreement can emerge by an adjacent owner actively dissenting, that is, communicating to the structure owner an objection in respect of some matter developing out of or incidental to the works – the means of making that objection are not important, however if he stays quiet, neither consenting nor dissenting for a period of 2 week after having been served with a Notification under either Section 3 or Area 6, the Act considers a dissent to have arisen in any event.
There is no considered dissent arrangement in Section 1 of the Act. A valid dispute can still occur, and surveyors be designated in accordance with Section 10, in regard of works notified under that section however only as relates to actual dissent on specific grounds. An adjoining owner’s reasons for disputing Section 2 and Section 6 works are rarely specified prior to the visit of property surveyors and in a lot of cases not even then.
Where dissent has arisen, whether real or considered, both owners are lawfully required to appoint a concurred surveyor or, if they can not jointly settle on a bachelor, a surveyor each and if requested to make such a visit by the other party, should do so within 10 days of the demand being served. Failure to comply, automatically provides the owner making the demand the statutory authority to select a property surveyor on behalf of the recalcitrant party. This procedure is set out in section 10( 4) of the Act.
Where two surveyors are appointed, they are obliged to agree upon the choice, in composing, of a third surveyor who may be called upon by either of the surveyors or either of the parties to identify the challenged matters and make the needed award. The 3rd surveyor is never designated by anybody however the Act offers the individual so selected the very same statutory powers as the two surveyors.
Third surveyors are most commonly hired where the two surveyors have actually reached an impasse in their considerations over some particular point and typically this can be in regard on the reasonableness of the fees of the surveyor appointed by the adjoining owner. Hardly ever will a third property surveyor be asked to prepare an award in respect of the entire works but might accompany one or other of the two property surveyors to do so if the need occurs.
There is no definition of who can be a 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 examination of the works to ensure that they adhere to the works, and who will pay for the works. They will usually be needed to pay the fees and the expense of the works if the work is entirely for the advantage of the structure owner.
If they disagree with the award, parties have 14 days to appeal to the county court.
The Act allows access to the adjacent property for the functions of performing the works whether the adjacent owner allows or not, nevertheless they must be offered 14 days notice.
NB: The introduction 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 communications.
The information that Observes need to provide in respect of works covered the above areas is various in each case. The requirements of Section 1 and Section 6 Notifications are set out in those sections but the requirements of a Notification relating to Area 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. A valid disagreement can still arise, and surveyors be selected in accordance with Area 10, in regard of works informed under that section but only as concerns real dissent on particular premises. An adjoining owner’s reasons for disputing Area 2 and Section 6 works are rarely specified prior to the visit of surveyors and in lots of cases not even then.
Where dissent has actually occurred, whether actual or considered, both owners are legally obliged to designate a concurred surveyor or, if they can not collectively agree on a single person, a surveyor each and if requested to make such a consultation by the other party, must do so within 10 days of the request being served.
Around the Web