Faulkners Surveyors As certified and experienced Party Wall Surveyors we specialise in all Party Wall matters.
We cover every aspect essential to recommend upon and solve Party Wall problems, such as:
- Preparing and serving valid Party Wall Notices
- Acting as the Structure Owners Party Wall Property Surveyor
- Acting as the Adjoining Owners Party Wall Surveyor
- Acting as the Agreed Party Wall Property Surveyor
- Carrying out and preparing Schedules of Condition
- Preparation and negotiation of Party Wall Awards
All our Party Wall Surveyors are specialists and work in accordance with the guidelines set down by the Professors of Party Wall Surveyors.
The Party Wall Act etc. 1996 is law, failure to adhere to this legislation may result in works being illegal.
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 an enabling Act, insofar as it approves the owner of a property the legal right to undertake particular works that might otherwise make up trespass or problem.
It also looks for to safeguard the interests of adjoining owners from any possibly unfavorable effects that such works might have by enforcing a requirement that all adjacent owners be given prior notice of them.
In addition, the Act attends to a necessary disagreement resolution procedure moderated by a statutorily appointed surveyor or surveyors if neighbouring owners have concerns about the implementation of any proposal so informed.
Specifically, such notice should be served where the owner of a residential or commercial property (called ‘the structure owner’) means to carry out any building and construction work described 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 uses where it is proposed to set up a brand-new wall at a boundary that is not currently built on.
- Section 2 concerns existing party structures, which include party partitions, floors and walls (that separate structures or parts of structures), party fence walls (basically a limit wall in between lands in different ownership which is constructed astride a boundary) and, in some instances, a neighbour’s independent home.
- Area 6 can apply to excavations up to 6 m away from a building or structure on neighbouring land, subject to depth criteria which the Act sets out.
The details that Notices must offer 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 however the requirements of a Notice associating with Area 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. It is very important to note that the credibility of any notification not supplying all the relevant information or served in the inaccurate way, could be available to challenge in Court.
There is no standard kind of Notification although lots of people use those released by the RICS or versions appended to the explanatory booklet provided by the Department for Communities and City Government. However, provided all the information required by the appropriate area of the Act exists, an easy letter would be similarly valid.
Depending on the circumstances of any provided job there may be more than one adjoining owner on whom discover requirements to be served in respect of the same work and, in the case of deep excavations, an Adjacent Owner may be besides an immediate neighbour. It is always more effective to go over the intended deal with adjacent owners before serving them with official composed notice – a proposition well discussed may ease concerns sufficient to prevent a disagreement emerging and prevent the necessity to designate surveyors.
There are 2 exceptions where the requirement to serve notice may be avoided:
- De minimis works: The government’s explanatory booklet states that some deal with a party wall may be so minor that service of notice under the Act would be normally regarded as not necessary and give as examples works unlikely to impact 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 placing power sockets, and screws to support racks, kitchen area cupboards, and so forth.
- Works under Area 2 of the Act offered that written permission is obtained from all Adjoining Owners and Occupiers before work commences.
The 3 kinds of Notice are understood, respectively as:
- Section 1: Line of Junction Notification
- Area 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notification
- Area 6: Notification of Adjacent Excavation
A party structure notification must be served at least two months prior to the date on which it is proposed to start that work. The other 2 notices must be served a minimum of one month prior to work starting.
The compulsory info which Notices need to consist of are as follows:
- Line of Junction Notice:
- A sign of the structure owner’s desire to build a wall.
- A description of the wall.
- Party Structure Notice:
- 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:
- A sign of the structure owner’s proposals.
- A declaration regarding whether or not the structure owner proposes to underpin or otherwise enhance or secure the structures of the structure or structure of the adjoining owner.
- Accompanying areas and strategies revealing: a) the website and depth of any excavation the structure owner proposes to make; b) if he proposes to erect a building or structure, its website.
Most of the pro-forma notices in use consist of the following details as a matter of course despite the kind of notice:
- The date of the notification.
- The name and addresses of both the structure and adjoining owners (and the addresses of the homes being worked on/affected if different).
- A declaration as to the beginning of works relative to the suitable notification period.
- An advisory note explaining what happens if the recipient actively dissents from the works or fails to react within 2 week.
Section 10 of the Act stipulates that where an adjoining owner does not permission in writing to works notified by the building owner under Areas 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 select their own property surveyor, to determine by award matters in dispute in between the celebrations.
Where a job is straightforward, this might only include factor to consider of the time and manner in which those works are to be carried out. In more complex plans, believed will need to be given to a commensurately greater number of elements 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 very same treatment is utilized to resolve any subsequent disagreements in between neighbouring owners that may arise in relation to the informed works, including any loss or damage suffered by an adjoining owner as a result of their execution.
Inaction on the part of the adjacent owner does not stop the statutory procedure. A dispute can occur by an adjoining owner actively dissenting, that is, interacting to the building owner an objection in regard of some matter occurring out of or incidental to the works – the ways of making that objection are not important, but if he remains quiet, neither consenting nor dissenting for a duration of 14 days after having actually been served with a Notice under either Area 3 or Area 6, the Act considers a dissent to have emerged in any event.
There is no considered dissent arrangement in Section 1 of the Act. A valid disagreement can still develop, and surveyors be appointed in accordance with Section 10, in regard of works notified under that area however only as regards actual dissent on specific premises. An adjoining owner’s reasons for disputing Area 2 and Area 6 works are hardly ever defined prior to the consultation of property surveyors and oftentimes not even then.
Where dissent has actually developed, whether real or deemed, both owners are legally required to select an agreed property surveyor or, if they can not collectively settle on a bachelor, a surveyor each and if asked for to make such an appointment by the other party, need to do so within 10 days of the request being served. Failure to comply, immediately offers the owner making the demand the statutory authority to designate a 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 selection, in writing, of a 3rd property surveyor who may be hired by either of the property surveyors or either of the parties to determine the disputed matters and make the essential award. The 3rd surveyor is never appointed by anybody but the Act provides the person so selected the very same statutory powers as the two surveyors.
Third property surveyors are most frequently hired where the two property surveyors have actually reached an impasse in their considerations over some specific point and often this can be in regard on the reasonableness of the costs of the property surveyor designated by the adjacent owner. Hardly ever will a 3rd property surveyor be asked to draw up an award in regard of the whole works but might join with one or other of the two surveyors to do so if the need develops.
There is no meaning of who can be a property surveyor, but it should not be the same person that will monitor the works.
The award will set out the works that can be performed, who will pay the costs for the preparation of the award and assessment of the works to guarantee that they comply with the works, and who will spend for the works. If the work is exclusively for the benefit of the structure owner, then they will generally be needed to pay the charges and the expense of the works.
If they disagree with the award, parties have 14 days to appeal to the county court.
The Act permits access to the adjacent property for the purposes of performing the works whether the adjoining owner allows or not, however they should be given 14 days notice.
NB: The introduction of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 suggests that from 6 April 2016, notifications and other documents can be served by electronic interactions.
The information that Notices should provide in regard of works covered the above sections 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 Section 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. A legitimate conflict can still emerge, and surveyors be designated in accordance with Section 10, in respect of works informed under that area however only as regards actual dissent on specific grounds. An adjoining owner’s reasons for contesting Area 2 and Area 6 works are hardly ever defined prior to the visit of property surveyors and in many cases not even then.
Where dissent has developed, whether real or deemed, both owners are lawfully required to select a concurred surveyor or, if they can not jointly concur on a single individual, a surveyor each and if asked for to make such a consultation by the other party, need to do so within 10 days of the request being served.
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