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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 think that the 1996 Party Wall Act does not impact garden building and construction, however it does affect the building of boundary walls even if not part of structures and can likewise applies to deep excavations.
The Party Wall Act 1996 came into force in 1997, so it is now law and provides you rights and obligations 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 affect any requirement for Preparation Approval for any work undertaken. Having Preparation Authorization does not negate the requirements under the Party Wall Act.
The Party Wall Act comes into result if somebody is planning to do work on a relevant structure, for the functions of the Act ‘party wall’ does not just indicate the wall between 2 semi-detached properties, as far as gardeners are concerned it covers:
- A garden wall, where the wall is astride the boundary line (or butts up against it) and is used to separate the homes but is not part of any structure.
- Excavation near to a neighbouring residential or commercial property.
For details of how the Party Wall Act impacts building work in general, have a look at this page.
Just like all work impacting neighbours, it is always better to reach a friendly arrangement instead of resort to any law. Even where the work needs a notice to be served, it is better to informally discuss the intended work, think about the neighbours remarks, and change your plans (if suitable) before serving the notice.
What garden work requires a notification and authorization.
The general principle of the Party Wall Act is that all work which might have an impact upon the structural strength or assistance function of the party wall or might trigger damage to the neighbouring side of the wall need to be informed. Advice must be sought from a local Building Control Office or expert surveyor/architect if in doubt.
Work in the garden covered by the Party Wall Act consist of:
- To destroy and/or rebuild/build a party limit wall.
- To increase the height or density of a party limit 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 foundations of the neighbouring structure.
If the planned work on a boundary wall falls under the Party Wall Act, a notification must be provided to all impacted neighbouring celebrations. The notification needs to 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 home.
- A full description of the proposed work (this will typically be simply a single sentence describing the work).
- The proposed start date for the work.
- A clear statement that the notice is being served under The Party Wall etc Act 1996.
- The date the notice is being served.
- If the work involves excavations, a drawing showing the depth, position etc
If the planned work is a brand-new boundary wall up to or astride the boundary line the procedure of serving a notification under the Party Wall Act is as follows:.
- The person intending to carry out the work needs to serve a composed notice at least one months prior to the designated start of the work to every neighbouring party giving information of the work to be performed.
- Each neighbouring party should respond in writing giving permission or registering dissent – if a neighbouring party does nothing within 14 days of receiving the notice, the result is to put the notification into dispute. Nevertheless no formal contract is needed for a wall up to the limit line, the neighbour just needs not to object in composing.
- No work may begin on a wall astride the boundary line up until all neighbouring parties have concurred in writing to the notice (or a revised notice).
See below regarding what takes place in the event of a dispute/objection.
If the planned work is an excavation within the distance/depth covered by the Party Wall Act, the notification requires to be served a minimum of one month before the planned start day of the work. Neighbouring parties must give written arrangement within 2 week or a dispute is considered to have taken place.
See below regarding what occurs in case of a dispute/objection.
What takes place if a disagreement develops.
If agreement can not be reached in between neighbouring parties, the process is as follows:.
- A Property surveyor or Surveyors is/are selected to determine a fair and impartial Award, either:.
- A single ‘Agreed Surveyor’ (somebody appropriate to all parties).
- Each party appoints their own Property surveyor to represent the individual parties.
The individual who is performing the work will typically have to pay all the costs of the Surveyors, the only exception being if the neighbour calls out a Property surveyor needlessly – in the opinion of the Surveyor. Nevertheless it needs to be noted that any Surveyor should act within their statutory responsibilities and propose a reasonable and impartial Award.
- A single ‘Agreed Surveyor’ (somebody appropriate to all parties).
- The Agreed Property surveyor, or the specific Surveyors jointly, will produce an Award which needs to be objective and reasonable to all celebrations.
- Once an Award has actually been made, all celebrations have 14 days to attract a County Court against the Award.
As soon as you have agreement.
All work should comply with the notice as soon as you have arrangement. All the contracts ought to be maintained to ensure that a record of the granted permission is kept; a subsequent buyer of the home might wish to develop that the work was performed in accordance with the Party Wall Act requirements.
- We have actually just given a brief outline of the Party Wall Act here as it impacts garden work but take a look at the Neighborhoods and Local Government website for a more detailed explanatory booklet consisting of example letters for notifications and actions.
- Talking about desired deal with neighbours is totally free and can prevent misunderstanding which may arise if a notice arrives all of a sudden.
- Your local Structure Control Office might have the ability to offer totally free recommendations regarding the Party Wall Act and how it applies to specific scenarios.
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