What is a Party Wall Award?
A Party Wall Award is an agreement made in between at least 2 neighbouring occupiers prior to the beginning of construction/building work which is to be carried out to a party limit or structure, or where works are being carried out in close proximity to a party limit or structure. There are 3 primary types of work which require a Party Wall Property surveyor to carry out a Party Wall Award and these are:
- Line of junction (developing a new wall on or alongside a boundary).
- Party Structure Functions (works to an existing party wall such as cutting into, reconstructing, thickening and so on).
- Adjacent Excavation (excavations to a lower level within either 3m or 6m of an existing building).
In London and throughout the UK, our skilled industrial structure property surveyors carry out a series of expert surveying services consisting of Party Wall Surveys (Party Wall Awards). At Commercial Structure Surveyors we conduct 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 enabling Act, insofar as it grants the owner of a home the legal right to carry out specific works that might otherwise make up trespass or nuisance.
However, it also looks for to safeguard the interests of adjoining owners from any potentially negative effects that such works might have by enforcing a requirement that all adjoining owners be provided prior notice of them.
In addition, the Act provides for a necessary dispute resolution procedure moderated by a statutorily appointed property surveyor or property surveyors if neighbouring owners have concerns about the implementation of any proposition so alerted.
Specifically, such notice should be served where the owner of a home (called ‘the building owner’) plans to carry out any building and construction work described 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 uses where it is proposed to put up a new wall at a limit that is not currently built on.
- Area 2 concerns existing party structures, that include party partitions, floorings and walls (that separate buildings or parts of buildings), party fence walls (essentially a limit wall between lands in different ownership which is built astride a border) and, in some instances, a neighbour’s independent property.
- Area 6 can apply to excavations as much as 6 m away from a building or structure on neighbouring land, based on depth requirements which the Act sets out.
The information that Discovers should provide in regard of works covered the above sections is various in each case. The requirements of Area 1 and Area 6 Notices are set out in those areas but the requirements of a Notification connecting to Section 2 works is set out in Section 3 of the Act. It is essential to note that the credibility of any notice not providing all the pertinent info or served in the incorrect manner, could be open to challenge in Court.
There is no basic type of Notice although lots of people use those published by the RICS or variations added to the explanatory booklet issued by the Department for Communities and City Government. Offered all the details required by the relevant section of the Act is present, an easy letter would be equally legitimate.
Depending on the circumstances of any offered project there may be more than one adjacent owner on whom see needs to be served in respect of the same work and, in the case of deep excavations, an Adjacent Owner may be aside from an immediate neighbour. It is always preferable to go over the intended deal with adjoining owners before serving them with formal composed notification – a proposal well discussed might alleviate issues enough to prevent a disagreement developing and prevent the requirement to designate surveyors.
There are 2 exceptions where the requirement to serve notice may be avoided:
- De minimis works: The federal government’s explanatory pamphlet says that some deal with a party wall might be so small that service of notice under the Act would be generally considered not essential and give as examples works not likely to impact the structural strength or assistance functions of a party structure or cause damage to the neighbours side of it, such as re-plastering, shallow chasing for electrical circuitry or placing power sockets, and screws to support shelves, kitchen cupboards, and the like.
- Works under Area 2 of the Act supplied that composed authorization is obtained from all Adjacent Owners and Occupiers prior to work commences.
The 3 types of Notice are known, respectively as:
- Area 1: Line of Junction Notice
- Area 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notice
- Area 6: Notification of Adjacent Excavation
A party structure notice should be served at least two months before the date on which it is proposed to begin that work. The other two notices should be served a minimum of one month prior to work beginning.
The compulsory information which Sees need to consist of are as follows:
- Line of Junction Notification:
- A sign 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:
- An indication of the structure owner’s propositions.
- A declaration regarding whether or not the structure owner proposes to underpin or otherwise strengthen or protect the foundations of the structure or structure of the adjoining owner.
- Accompanying plans and areas revealing: a) the site and depth of any excavation the building owner proposes to make; b) if he proposes to put up a building or structure, its site.
Most of the pro-forma notifications in use include the following info as a matter of course regardless of the type of notification:
- The date of the notice.
- If various), the name and addresses of both the structure and adjoining owners (and the addresses of the properties being worked on/affected.
- A statement regarding the beginning of works relative to the proper notification duration.
- If the recipient actively dissents from the works or fails to respond within 14 days, an advisory note explaining what happens.
Section 10 of the Act stipulates that where an adjacent owner does not approval in writing to works alerted by the structure owner under Sections 3 and 6, both celebrations need to either settle on the visit of a single property surveyor to act for both of them (known as the Agreed Surveyor), or each select their own property surveyor, to identify by award matters in dispute between the parties.
Where a job is straightforward, this may only include factor to consider of the time and way in which those works are to be carried out. In more complex schemes, thought will have to be provided to a commensurately greater number of elements and certainly appointed property 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 same treatment is utilized to solve any subsequent disputes in between neighbouring owners that might occur in relation to the informed works, consisting of any loss or damage suffered by an adjacent 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 adjoining owner actively dissenting, that is, interacting to the building owner an objection in regard of some matter emerging out of or incidental to the works – the ways of making that objection are not important, however if he stays quiet, neither dissenting nor consenting for a duration of 14 days after having been served with a Notice under either Section 3 or Section 6, the Act deems a dissent to have occurred in any event.
There is no considered dissent arrangement in Area 1 of the Act. A valid conflict can still occur, and property surveyors be selected in accordance with Section 10, in regard of works alerted under that area however just as relates to real dissent on particular grounds. An adjoining owner’s factors for challenging Section 2 and Section 6 works are rarely specified prior to the consultation of property surveyors and in a lot of cases not even then.
Where dissent has occurred, whether real or considered, both owners are lawfully required to select a concurred surveyor or, if they can not collectively settle on a bachelor, a property 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. Failure to comply, instantly provides the owner making the demand the statutory authority to designate a surveyor on behalf of the recalcitrant party. This treatment is set out in section 10( 4) of the Act.
Where two property surveyors are designated, they are obliged to agree upon the selection, in writing, of a 3rd surveyor who may be called upon by either of the property surveyors or either of the parties to determine the disputed matters and make the necessary award. The third surveyor is never ever designated by anyone however the Act offers the individual so selected the very same statutory powers as the two property surveyors.
3rd surveyors are most typically hired where the two surveyors have 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 appointed by the adjacent owner. Hardly ever will a 3rd property surveyor be asked to draw up an award in regard of the entire works however might accompany one or other of the two surveyors to do so if the need emerges.
There is no definition of who can be a surveyor, but it ought to not be the same individual that will monitor the works.
The award will set out the works that can be carried out, 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 spend for the works. If the work is solely for the advantage of the building owner, then they will normally be needed to pay the fees and the expense of the works.
If they disagree with the award, celebrations have 14 days to appeal to the county court.
The Act enables access to the adjacent property for the purposes of performing the works whether the adjoining owner gives permission or not, nevertheless they must be offered 2 week notification.
NB: The introduction of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 suggests that from 6 April 2016, notices and other files can be served by electronic interactions.
The information that Sees must offer in respect of works covered the above areas is various in each case. The requirements of Area 1 and Area 6 Notifications are set out in those areas however the requirements of a Notice relating to Area 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. A legitimate conflict can still occur, and property surveyors be designated in accordance with Section 10, in regard of works notified under that area but only as concerns real dissent on specific grounds. An adjacent owner’s factors for disputing Area 2 and Section 6 works are hardly ever specified prior to the consultation of surveyors and in many cases not even then.
Where dissent has actually developed, whether real or considered, both owners are legally obliged to appoint an agreed surveyor or, if they can not collectively concur on a single individual, a property surveyor each and if requested to make such a visit by the other party, need to do so within 10 days of the demand being served.
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