Faulkners Surveyors is an independent company of building surveyors that specialise in the
Party Wall etc. Act 1996 acting for Structure Owners, Adjoining Owners and as the Agreed Surveyor throughout London and the House Counties.
Party Wall (WikiPedia)
Party Wall Act
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is an enabling Act, insofar as it gives the owner of a property the legal right to undertake certain works that might otherwise constitute trespass or nuisance.
It likewise seeks to secure the interests of adjacent owners from any potentially adverse effects that such works might have by enforcing a requirement that all adjacent owners be offered prior notification of them.
In addition, the Act provides for an obligatory conflict resolution treatment mediated by a statutorily appointed property surveyor or property surveyors if neighbouring owners have concerns about the execution of any proposal so informed.
Specifically, such notice needs to be served where the owner of a home (known as ‘the structure owner’) plans to undertake any construction work described in Sections 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 applies where it is proposed to put up a brand-new wall at a limit that is not currently built on.
- Area 2 concerns existing party structures, which include party floors, partitions and walls (that different buildings or parts of buildings), party fence walls (essentially a border wall between lands in different ownership which is constructed astride a limit) and, in some circumstances, a neighbour’s independent residential or commercial property.
- Area 6 can apply to excavations up to 6 m away from a structure or structure on neighbouring land, subject to depth criteria which the Act sets out.
The info that Notices should provide in respect of works covered the above areas is various in each case. The requirements of Area 1 and Section 6 Notices are set out in those areas but the requirements of a Notification relating 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 supplying all the appropriate details or served in the incorrect way, could be open to challenge in Court.
There is no standard type of Notice although many people utilize those published by the RICS or versions appended to the explanatory brochure issued by the Department for Communities and City Government. Supplied all the info required by the appropriate section of the Act is present, a simple letter would be similarly legitimate.
Depending upon the circumstances of any given job there might be more than one adjoining owner on whom discover needs to be served in respect of the very same work and, when it comes to deep excavations, an Adjacent Owner might be other than an immediate neighbour. It is constantly more suitable to discuss the desired deal with adjacent owners prior to serving them with formal written notice – a proposition well discussed may relieve concerns enough to prevent a conflict developing and avoid the need to select surveyors.
There are two exceptions where the requirement to serve notice might be prevented:
- De minimis works: The federal government’s explanatory booklet says that some works on a party wall might be so small that service of notification under the Act would be typically considered not necessary and give as examples works unlikely to impact the structural strength or support functions of a party structure or trigger 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, cooking area cupboards, and so on.
- Functions under Section 2 of the Act supplied that written consent is gotten from all Adjacent Owners and Occupiers prior to work commences.
The three types of Notice are understood, respectively as:
- Area 1: Line of Junction Notice
- Section 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notice
- Area 6: Notice of Adjacent Excavation
A party structure notification need to be served a minimum of 2 months prior to the date on which it is proposed to start that work. The other 2 notifications must be served a minimum of one month prior to work starting.
The mandatory details which Notices need to contain are as follows:
- Line of Junction Notice:
- A sign of the building 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 details of the proposed work.
- The date on which the proposed work will start.
- Notification of Adjacent Excavation:
- An indication of the building owner’s proposals.
- A declaration as to whether the structure owner proposes to underpin or otherwise enhance or secure the structures of the building or structure of the adjacent owner.
- Accompanying plans and areas showing: a) the website and depth of any excavation the building owner proposes to make; b) if he proposes to erect a building or structure, its site.
Most of the pro-forma notifications in use include the following information as a matter of course no matter the kind of notification:
- The date of the notice.
- If various), the name and addresses of both the structure and adjacent owners (and the addresses of the residential or commercial properties being worked on/affected.
- A statement regarding the beginning of works relative to the suitable notification period.
- An advisory note describing what occurs if the recipient actively dissents from the works or fails to react within 14 days.
Section 10 of the Act states that where an adjacent owner does not authorization in writing to works informed by the building owner under Areas 3 and 6, both celebrations should either agree on the appointment of a single surveyor to act for both of them (referred to as the Agreed Surveyor), or each appoint their own surveyor, to identify by award matters in dispute between the celebrations.
Where a job is straightforward, this may just include factor to consider of the time and way in which those works are to be carried out. In more complex schemes, believed will have to be provided to a commensurately greater number of elements and undoubtedly designated property surveyors have the statutory jurisdiction to make an award in regard of any matter connected with any work to which the act relates.
The same procedure is utilized to deal with any subsequent disputes between neighbouring owners that may emerge in relation to the informed works, including 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 halt the statutory procedure. A dispute can develop by an adjoining owner actively dissenting, that is, interacting to the building owner an objection in respect of some matter occurring out of or incidental to the works – the ways of making that objection are not important, however if he remains silent, neither dissenting nor consenting for a period of 2 week after having been served with a Notification under either Section 3 or Section 6, the Act considers a dissent to have occurred in any event.
There is no considered dissent provision in Area 1 of the Act. A valid conflict can still occur, and surveyors be designated in accordance with Section 10, in regard of works alerted under that section however just as regards actual dissent on particular premises. An adjacent owner’s reasons for contesting Area 2 and Section 6 works are rarely specified prior to the appointment of property surveyors and in a lot of cases not even then.
Where dissent has actually emerged, whether real or deemed, both owners are legally obliged to designate an agreed surveyor or, if they can not jointly agree on a single person, a property surveyor each and if requested to make such a consultation 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 select a property surveyor on behalf of the recalcitrant party. This procedure is set out in area 10( 4) of the Act.
Where 2 surveyors are appointed, they are required to agree upon the choice, in composing, of a third surveyor who might be called upon by either of the surveyors or either of the celebrations to figure out the challenged matters and make the required award. The third surveyor is never appointed by anybody but the Act offers the individual so chose the very same statutory powers as the two surveyors.
3rd surveyors are most frequently called upon where the two surveyors have reached an impasse in their deliberations over some specific point and typically this can be in respect on the reasonableness of the charges of the property surveyor designated by the adjoining owner. Rarely will a 3rd surveyor be asked to draw up an award in respect of the whole works but may accompany one or other of the two surveyors to do so if the requirement develops.
There is no meaning of who can be a surveyor, however it must not be the same individual that will supervise the works.
The award will set out the works that can be carried out, who will pay the charges for the preparation of the award and examination of the works to make sure that they comply with the works, and who will spend for the works. They will usually be required to pay the costs and the cost of the works if the work is solely for the benefit of the structure owner.
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 functions of carrying out the works whether the adjacent owner permits or not, nevertheless they need to be given 14 days notice.
NB: The introduction of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 indicates that from 6 April 2016, notifications and other files can be served by electronic communications.
The details that Sees should supply in respect of works covered the above areas is different in each case. The requirements of Section 1 and Section 6 Notices 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 valid conflict can still arise, and property surveyors be appointed in accordance with Section 10, in regard of works informed under that area but only as relates to real dissent on specific premises. An adjacent owner’s factors for disputing Section 2 and Area 6 works are hardly ever specified prior to the appointment of property surveyors and in lots of cases not even then.
Where dissent has developed, whether real or deemed, both owners are lawfully required to designate an agreed surveyor or, if they can not collectively concur on a single individual, 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 demand being served.
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