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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.
The Party Wall Act 1996
as it effects the garden
At first sight, it is easy to believe that the 1996 Party Wall Act does not impact garden construction, however it does affect the building of border walls even if not part of structures and can likewise applies to deep excavations.
The Party Wall Act 1996 entered into force in 1997, so it is now law and offers you rights and duties whichever the side of the ‘wall’ you are on i.e. whether you are planning/doing work on a pertinent structure or if your neighbour is.
The Party Wall Act does not apply to limit fences.
The Party Wall Act does not impact any requirement for Planning Consent for any work undertaken. Having Preparation Consent does not negate the requirements under the Party Wall Act.
The Party Wall Act enters into effect if somebody is planning to do deal with an appropriate structure, for the purposes of the Act ‘party wall’ does not simply mean the wall in between two semi-detached properties, as far as garden enthusiasts are concerned it covers:
- A garden wall, where the wall is astride the limit line (or butts up against it) and is used to separate the homes however is not part of any structure.
- Excavation near to a neighbouring property.
For details of how the Party Wall Act impacts building operate in general, take a look at this page.
Just like all work impacting neighbours, it is always much better to reach a friendly agreement rather than resort to any law. Even where the work needs a notice to be served, it is much better to informally go over the desired work, consider the neighbours remarks, and amend your strategies (if proper) before serving the notice.
What garden work needs a notification and consent.
The basic principle of the Party Wall Act is that all work which may have an effect upon the structural strength or support function of the party wall or might cause damage to the neighbouring side of the wall must be informed. If in doubt, guidance needs to be sought from a local Structure Control Workplace or expert surveyor/architect.
Operate in the garden covered by the Party Wall Act include:
- To destroy and/or rebuild/build a party boundary wall.
- To increase the height or density of a party boundary wall.
- Excavations within 3 metres of a neighbouring building where the excavation will go listed below the bottom of the structures of the neighbouring structure.
- Excavations within 6 metres of a neighbouring building where the excavation will go below a line drawn 45 ° downwards from the bottom of the structures of the neighbouring structure.
A notice should be released to all impacted neighbouring parties if the planned work on a boundary wall falls under the Party Wall Act. The notice must include (see sample letters in Part 5 of the Party Wall brochure):.
- The owners of the property carrying out the work.
- The address of the property.
- A full description of the proposed work (this will generally be just a single sentence laying out the work).
- The proposed start date for the work.
- A clear declaration that the notification is being served under The Party Wall etc Act 1996.
- The date the notice is being served.
- If the work includes excavations, a drawing revealing the depth, position etc
If the prepared work is a brand-new border wall approximately or astride the boundary line the procedure of serving a notification under the Party Wall Act is as follows:.
- The person planning to carry out the work needs to serve a written notification a minimum of one months prior to the desired start of the work to every neighbouring party giving information of the work to be carried out.
- Each neighbouring party needs to respond in composing offering consent or registering dissent – if a neighbouring party not does anything within 2 week of getting the notification, the result is to put the notice into conflict. No official arrangement is required for a wall up to the border line, the neighbour just requires not to object in composing.
- No work might start on a wall astride the limit line till all neighbouring parties have actually concurred in writing to the notice (or a modified notification).
See below concerning what takes place in case of a dispute/objection.
If the planned work is an excavation within the distance/depth covered by the Party Wall Act, the notice requires to be served a minimum of one month prior to the planned start day of the work. Neighbouring celebrations must give written arrangement within 2 week or a conflict is considered to have happened.
See listed below regarding what takes place in the event of a dispute/objection.
If a disagreement arises, what occurs.
If arrangement can not be reached between neighbouring celebrations, the process is as follows:.
- A Surveyor or Surveyors is/are appointed to determine a reasonable and impartial Award, either:.
- A single ‘Agreed Surveyor’ (somebody acceptable to all celebrations).
- Each party designates their own Surveyor to represent the individual parties.
The person who is carrying out the work will generally have to pay all the costs of the Surveyors, the only exception being if the neighbour calls out a Surveyor needlessly – in the viewpoint of the Surveyor. It should be kept in mind that any Surveyor needs to act within their statutory responsibilities and propose a objective and reasonable Award.
- A single ‘Agreed Surveyor’ (somebody acceptable to all celebrations).
- The Agreed Surveyor, or the specific Surveyors jointly, will produce an Award which needs to be reasonable and objective to all parties.
- When an Award has been made, all celebrations have 14 days to interest a County Court against the Award.
Once you have agreement.
All work should comply with the notice once you have arrangement. All the agreements should be retained to ensure that a record of the granted permission is kept; a subsequent buyer of the property may want to establish that the work was carried out in accordance with the Party Wall Act requirements.
- We’ve just offered a brief overview of the Party Wall Act here as it impacts garden work but have a look at the Neighborhoods and City government site for a more comprehensive explanatory pamphlet including example letters for notifications and actions.
- If a notice arrives suddenly, going over designated work with neighbours is complimentary and can avoid misunderstanding which might occur.
- Your regional Structure Control Office may have the ability to give totally free recommendations concerning the Party Wall Act and how it applies to particular scenarios.
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