Faulkners Surveyors is a professional and reputable firm of party wall surveyors in Birkenhead, specialising in all party wall matters in Birkenhead and the Home Counties. The business was founded in 2010 with the coming together of three independent knowledgeable Surveyors who specialise in this niché area of surveying.
What is a party wall in Birkenhead?
A party wall is a wall that sits straight on the limit of land between two (and often more) different owners. Good examples consist of the walls that separate semi-detached or terraced homes– or walls that comprise the limit between two gardens (party fence walls).
The Party Wall Act
The Party Wall Act 1996 applies to houses in England and Wales and was created to prevent building work that might compromise the structural stability of any shared wall (party wall) or adjoining properties. The Party Wall Act can be used to stop disputes in between neighbours and to assist solve them if they ought to emerge.
The Party Wall Act 1996 does not apply to Scotland and Northern Ireland where common law is used to settle party wall concerns.
Do I need a party wall agreement?
A party wall agreement is needed if you intend on carrying out any structure work near or on a party wall. You must inform your neighbours, provide them with a Party Wall Notice and develop a Party Wall Agreement in writing. If you utilize an architect or a home builder then they should be able to recommend you on this, although they will not serve the notice for you.
The following works require you to acquire a Party Wall Agreement:
- Any work to shared walls (party walls) between semi-detached and terraced homes.
- Work including shared ‘party structures’, such as floorings in between flats.
- Work to garden boundary walls.
- Excavation works– or underpinning– to, or close by (within 3-6m), the party wall.
- Loft conversions that indicate cutting into a party wall.
- Inserting a wet proof course into a party wall.
- Making party walls thicker or greater.
- Developing a second-storey extension above a shared wall.
- Developing a brand-new wall as much as or off the party wall.
Which jobs do not need a party wall agreement?
Not all work to party walls requires a party wall agreement. These consist of minor works such as drilling into the wall internally to fit cooking area systems or shelving. Having the wall plastered or adding or changing electrical circuitry or sockets will not need an agreement either.
What is a party wall notice?
A Party Wall Notice need to be given to your neighbours to provide them with notice of the works you plan to perform to the party wall in question, between 2 months and a year in advance of the work beginning.
Preparation permission is not needed to serve a party wall notice and, due to the fact that you will have up to a year to begin work once the notice has been served, it is a great idea to do this as soon as possible in order to avoid hold-ups. You need to speak with your neighbours personally initially before serving composed notice in order to assure them that you are taking the correct route and safety measures. This should help you prevent conflicts or misconceptions, and enable a quick contract to be written up.
You could likewise give your neighbour details of the Party Wall Act to help them comprehend the process– point them in the direction of the Party Wall info area on the Government’s site.
In order to officially serve notice, you should write to your affected neighbour( s), including your contact details, extensive details of the work that you have planned, the date that work will begin, as well as any gain access to requirements over their property (maybe to get materials or devices onto website). When it comes to adjacent leasehold properties, you need to serve notice to the structure’s owners along with to the tenant( s) living there.
A convenient guide, along with Party Wall Notice design templates can be found on the Federal government’s site here. It is a good idea to confine a reply letter and envelope for the neighbours to return and sign– which, if you have talked to them prior to sending out, need to not come as a surprise.
What takes place as soon as my neighbour gets my Party Wall Notice?
They have a number of options:
- Offer authorization in composing.
- Decline consent– starting the ‘dispute resolution process’.
- Provide a counter notification, asking for that extra works be performed at the same time (something they will be required to pay for if they will be benefiting from the work, such as repair work to the shared wall).
You must await an action– your neighbour must let you know, in writing, within 14 days if they consent. The best case scenario is that they accept all the works, in writing, implying you will not need a party wall agreement, which minimizes charges.
A counter notice needs to be issued within a month of your notification. If your neighbours don’t react within the above timescales then the disagreement resolution procedure starts.
What takes place if I don’t serve a Party Wall Notice?
Whilst failing to get a Party Wall Agreement is not really a legal offence, not only will you be breaching a ‘statutory task’ however you likewise risk needing to spend for damage that wasn’t your fault. Your neighbour might declare their property has actually been harmed by your work and without any information or proof of the previous state of the residential or commercial property (which a party wall notice would have provided you) there is very little you can do.
The courts tend to take a bad view of failure to serve a party wall notice and you might be ordered to pay for repairs which, in reality, might not be your obligation. In addition, your neighbours could take civil action against you and have actually an injunction issued to prevent any further work up until a party wall agreement is arranged. This will delay the project and could increase costs.
My neighbour declined to give consent to my party wall agreement – what happens next?
If, after serving notice, your neighbour either refuses permission or fails to respond, you are considered to be ‘in dispute.’
You have a couple of options here. Firstly, you might contact your neighbour, listen to their issues and attempt to come to an arrangement you are both pleased with. This is the perfect.
They may write to you with a counter notice. These notifications typically request changes to the work defined, or extra works, or sometimes conditions such as limited working hours. You ought to put them in composing and continue if you can both concur on these modified terms. Your neighbour might need to fulfill a share of the costs of any additional work that they request which will benefit them.
If an agreement is out of the concern then you will need to appoint a party wall surveyor. You might appoint a surveyor to work for both of you, or each select your own. The surveyor will arrange a Party Wall Award, setting out information of the work.
The Party Wall Award is a legal file setting out what, how and when work can be performed and who will pay for it (including surveyor’s fees). If you are not pleased with the award, you can appeal versus it at a county court, submitting an ‘appellant’s notice’ to explain why you are introducing an appeal.
Do I require a party wall surveyor?
In most cases individuals find they do not require the services of a party wall surveyor. There is usually no need to appoint a surveyor if your neighbour responds to your notification offering approval in writing that works can commence.
Either way, you are still responsible for making sure any damage triggered during the works is fixed. Examine the wall with your neighbour prior to work starts and take and share images of the wall in order to avoid later on disagreements– for instance existing cracks. Some individuals decide to ask a property surveyor to carry out a condition survey at this phase in order to reduce the threat of disagreements.
If your neighbour does not give permission, you will require a Party Wall Award and, for that reason, a party wall surveyor. Typically you and your neighbour will use simply one surveyor (a good idea as it means only one set of fees).
Charges differ, however typically, a Party Wall Award costs around ₤ 1,000 in overall.
A party wall agreement is needed if you plan on carrying out any structure work near or on a party wall. You should tell your neighbours, supply them with a Party Wall Notice and come up with a Party Wall Agreement in writing. Not all work to party walls requires a party wall agreement. Planning authorization is not required to serve a party wall notice and, since you will have up to a year to begin work once the notification has actually been served, it is a great concept to do this as soon as possible in order to prevent delays. Examine the wall with your neighbour before work starts and take and share images of the wall in order to prevent later conflicts– for example existing fractures.
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