What is a Party Wall Award?
A Party Wall Award is an arrangement made between at least two neighbouring occupiers prior to the beginning of construction/building work which is to be undertaken to a party boundary or structure, or where works are being carried out in close proximity to a party boundary or structure. There are 3 primary types of work which need a Party Wall Property surveyor to conduct a Party Wall Award and these are:
- Line of junction (developing a brand-new wall on or along with a border).
- Party Structure Functions (works to an existing party wall such as cutting into, reconstructing, thickening and so on).
- Surrounding Excavation (excavations to a lower level within either 3m or 6m of an existing structure).
In London and across the UK, our knowledgeable business structure surveyors carry out a variety of expert surveying services including Party Wall Studies (Party Wall Awards). At Commercial Structure Surveyors we conduct Party Wall Studies by knowledgeable and professional 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 gives the owner of a property the legal right to undertake certain works that may otherwise constitute trespass or annoyance.
It also seeks to safeguard the interests of adjacent owners from any potentially unfavorable effects that such works might have by enforcing a requirement that all adjacent owners be provided prior notification of them.
In addition, the Act attends to a necessary conflict resolution treatment moderated by a statutorily selected property surveyor or surveyors if neighbouring owners have concerns about the application of any proposition so informed.
Specifically, such notification must be served where the owner of a residential or commercial property (called ‘the building owner’) means to undertake any construction work described in Sections 1, 2 and 6 of the Act. Keep in mind that it is only those works that are covered by the Act and the scope is restricted to the following:
- Section 1 uses where it is proposed to put up a brand-new wall at a boundary that is not currently built on.
- Area 2 issues existing party structures, that include party walls, floorings and partitions (that different structures or parts of structures), party fence walls (essentially a limit wall between lands in different ownership which is developed astride a limit) and, in some instances, a neighbour’s independent property.
- Section 6 can apply to excavations up to 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 regard of works covered the above areas is various in each case. The requirements of Area 1 and Area 6 Notices are set out in those sections however the requirements of a Notice relating to Area 2 works is set out in Section 3 of the Act. It is important to keep in mind that the credibility of any notice not providing all the pertinent information or served in the inaccurate manner, could be open up to challenge in Court.
There is no standard form of Notification although lots of people use those published by the RICS or variations appended to the explanatory brochure issued by the Department for Communities and City Government. Nevertheless, offered all the information required by the pertinent section of the Act is present, a basic letter would be similarly legitimate.
Depending on the situations of any provided task there might be more than one adjoining owner on whom observe requirements to be served in respect of the exact same work and, when it comes to deep excavations, an Adjoining Owner may be aside from an instant neighbour. It is constantly preferable to go over the desired deal with adjacent owners before serving them with official written notice – a proposal well described may ease concerns adequate to prevent a disagreement occurring and avoid the requirement to designate surveyors.
There are 2 exceptions where the requirement to serve notice may be avoided:
- De minimis works: The government’s explanatory booklet says that some works on a party wall may be so minor that service of notice under the Act would be typically considered not needed 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 inserting power sockets, and screws to support shelves, cooking area cabinets, and the like.
- Functions under Area 2 of the Act supplied that written consent is obtained from all Adjoining Owners and Occupiers prior to work commences.
The 3 types of Notice are understood, respectively as:
- Section 1: Line of Junction Notification
- Area 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notice
- Section 6: Notice of Adjacent Excavation
A party structure notice should be served at least 2 months prior to the date on which it is proposed to begin that work. The other 2 notices need to be served at least one month prior to work commencing.
The compulsory information which Discovers need to consist of are as follows:
- Line of Junction Notification:
- An indicator of the structure owner’s desire to build a wall.
- A description of the wall.
- Party Structure Notification:
- The name and address of the structure owner.
- The nature and details of the proposed work.
- The date on which the proposed work will start.
- Notification of Adjacent Excavation:
- A sign of the building owner’s propositions.
- A declaration as to whether the building owner proposes to underpin or otherwise strengthen or protect the structures of the structure or structure of the adjacent owner.
- Accompanying strategies and areas revealing: 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 consist of the following information as a matter of course regardless of the type of notification:
- The date of the notice.
- The name and addresses of both the structure and adjoining owners (and the addresses of the properties being worked on/affected if various).
- A statement as to the beginning of works relative to the appropriate notice period.
- If the recipient actively dissents from the works or fails to respond within 14 days, an advisory note describing what takes place.
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 must either agree on the consultation of a single surveyor to act for both of them (referred to as the Agreed Surveyor), or each designate their own surveyor, to figure out by award matters in dispute in between the celebrations.
Where a project is straightforward, this may just involve factor to consider of the time and manner in which those works are to be performed. In more complex schemes, believed will have to be provided to a commensurately greater number of aspects and certainly appointed 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 treatment is used to solve any subsequent conflicts in between neighbouring owners that might emerge in relation to the notified works, including any loss or damage suffered by an adjacent owner as a result of their execution.
Inactiveness on the part of the adjacent owner does not halt the statutory process. A conflict can develop by an adjoining owner actively dissenting, that is, interacting to the structure owner an objection in regard of some matter developing out of or incidental to the works – the means of making that objection are trivial, but if he remains quiet, neither consenting nor dissenting for a duration of 2 week after having actually been served with a Notice under either Section 3 or Area 6, the Act considers a dissent to have arisen in any event.
There is no deemed dissent provision in Area 1 of the Act. A legitimate disagreement can still arise, and property surveyors be designated in accordance with Area 10, in regard of works informed under that section but only as regards actual dissent on specific grounds. An adjoining owner’s reasons for contesting Area 2 and Section 6 works are hardly ever defined prior to the visit of property surveyors and in most cases not even then.
Where dissent has arisen, whether actual or considered, both owners are legally obliged to appoint an agreed surveyor or, if they can not collectively settle on a single person, a surveyor each and if requested to make such a consultation by the other party, need to do so within 10 days of the demand being served. Failure to comply, automatically offers the owner making the request the statutory authority to select a surveyor on behalf of the recalcitrant party. This treatment is set out in area 10( 4) of the Act.
Where 2 surveyors are selected, they are required to agree upon the selection, in composing, of a 3rd surveyor who may be hired by either of the property surveyors or either of the parties to figure out the challenged matters and make the needed award. The 3rd surveyor is never ever appointed by anybody but the Act offers the person so picked the same statutory powers as the two property surveyors.
Third property surveyors are most frequently called upon where the two surveyors have actually reached an impasse in their considerations over some specific point and typically this can be in respect on the reasonableness of the costs of the surveyor appointed by the adjoining owner. Seldom will a 3rd property surveyor be asked to prepare an award in respect of the entire works but might join with one or other of the two surveyors to do so if the need develops.
There is no definition of who can be a property surveyor, however it ought 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 evaluation of the works to ensure that they adhere to the works, and who will pay for the works. If the work is exclusively for the advantage of the building owner, then they will normally 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 residential or commercial property for the functions of performing the works whether the adjoining owner gives permission or not, however they must be offered 14 days notice.
NB: The introduction of The Party Wall and so on. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 implies that from 6 April 2016, notifications and other files can be served by electronic interactions.
The information that Discovers must offer in regard 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 sections however the requirements of a Notice relating to Section 2 works is set out in Section 3 of the Act. A legitimate disagreement can still develop, and surveyors be appointed in accordance with Area 10, in respect of works alerted under that area but only as concerns real dissent on specific premises. An adjoining owner’s factors for contesting Area 2 and Area 6 works are rarely specified prior to the appointment of surveyors and in lots of cases not even then.
Where dissent has emerged, whether real or considered, both owners are legally required to appoint an agreed property surveyor or, if they can not jointly agree on a single person, a property surveyor each and if requested 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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