What is a Party Wall Award?
A Party Wall Award is a contract made in between at least 2 neighbouring occupiers prior to the commencement of construction/building work which is to be carried out to a party boundary or structure, or where works are being undertaken in close proximity to a party boundary or structure. There are three main types of work which require a Party Wall Property surveyor to perform a Party Wall Award and these are:
- Line of junction (constructing a new wall on or along with a border).
- Party Structure Functions (works to an existing party wall such as cutting into, restoring, thickening etc.).
- Surrounding Excavation (excavations to a lower level within either 3m or 6m of an existing structure).
In London and throughout the UK, our knowledgeable business building property surveyors perform a series of professional surveying services consisting of Party Wall Studies (Party Wall Awards). At Commercial Building Surveyors we conduct Party Wall Surveys by skilled and expert 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 etc. Act 1996 is a making it possible for Act, insofar as it grants the owner of a residential or commercial property the legal right to undertake particular works that might otherwise make up trespass or annoyance.
It likewise seeks to protect the interests of adjacent owners from any potentially unfavorable results that such works may have by enforcing a requirement that all adjacent owners be provided prior notification of them.
In addition, the Act offers a compulsory dispute resolution procedure moderated by a statutorily appointed property surveyor or property surveyors if neighbouring owners have concerns about the execution of any proposal so alerted.
Specifically, such notice must be served where the owner of a property (referred to 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:
- Section 1 applies where it is proposed to put up a new wall at a boundary that is not currently built on.
- Area 2 concerns existing party structures, that include party floors, walls and partitions (that different structures or parts of structures), party fence walls (essentially a border wall between lands in separate ownership which is developed astride a boundary) and, in some circumstances, a neighbour’s independent property.
- Section 6 can apply to excavations approximately 6 m far from a structure or structure on neighbouring land, subject to depth criteria which the Act sets out.
The details that Sees should offer in respect of works covered the above sections is different in each case. The requirements of Area 1 and Area 6 Notifications are set out in those sections however the requirements of a Notice connecting to Area 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. It is essential to note that the credibility of any notification not offering all the appropriate details or served in the incorrect manner, could be available to challenge in Court.
There is no basic form of Notification although many individuals utilize those released by the RICS or variations appended to the explanatory booklet released by the Department for Communities and Local Government. However, provided all the information required by the appropriate area of the Act exists, an easy letter would be equally valid.
Depending upon the circumstances of any offered task there might be more than one adjacent owner on whom notice requirements to be served in regard of the exact same work and, in the case of deep excavations, an Adjoining Owner may be aside from an immediate neighbour. It is always preferable to discuss the designated works with adjacent owners before serving them with formal written notification – a proposition well discussed may reduce issues sufficient to prevent a disagreement emerging and prevent the requirement to appoint surveyors.
There are two exceptions where the need to serve notice might be avoided:
- De minimis works: The federal government’s explanatory pamphlet says that some works on a party wall might be so minor that service of notice under the Act would be typically considered not necessary and give as examples works unlikely to affect the structural strength or assistance functions of a party structure or trigger 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, kitchen cabinets, and so forth.
- Functions under Section 2 of the Act offered that written permission is gotten from all Adjoining Owners and Occupiers prior to work commences.
The three kinds of Notice are understood, respectively as:
- Section 1: Line of Junction Notification
- Area 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notification
- Area 6: Notification of Adjacent Excavation
A party structure notification must be served a minimum of 2 months prior to the date on which it is proposed to begin that work. The other 2 notices must be served at least one month prior to work beginning.
The necessary details which Notices should contain are as follows:
- Line of Junction Notification:
- An indicator of the structure owner’s desire to construct a wall.
- A description of the wall.
- Party Structure Notification:
- The name and address of the building owner.
- The nature and particulars 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 foundations of the building or structure of the adjoining owner.
- Accompanying strategies and sections showing: a) the site and depth of any excavation the structure owner proposes to make; b) if he proposes to erect a structure or structure, its website.
The majority of the pro-forma notifications in use include the following info 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 building and adjoining owners (and the addresses of the homes being worked on/affected.
- A declaration regarding the beginning of works relative to the appropriate notice period.
- If the recipient actively dissents from the works or stops working to react within 14 days, an advisory note discussing what takes place.
Area 10 of the Act stipulates that where an adjacent owner does not permission in writing to works notified by the building owner under Sections 3 and 6, both celebrations should either settle on the consultation of a single property surveyor to act for both of them (called the Agreed Property Surveyor), or each appoint their own property surveyor, to identify by award matters in dispute between the parties.
Where a job is straightforward, this might only include consideration of the time and manner in which those works are to be performed. In more complex plans, believed will need to be provided to a commensurately greater number of elements and certainly selected 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 procedure is utilized to resolve any subsequent disputes between neighbouring owners that may occur in relation to the alerted works, consisting of any loss or damage suffered by an adjoining owner as a result of their execution.
Inaction on the part of the adjoining owner does not halt the statutory process. A disagreement can occur by an adjacent owner actively dissenting, that is, interacting to the structure owner an objection in respect of some matter occurring out of or incidental to the works – the means of making that objection are trivial, however if he remains quiet, neither consenting nor dissenting for a period of 14 days after having actually been served with a Notification under either Area 3 or Area 6, the Act considers a dissent to have actually arisen in any event.
There is no deemed dissent arrangement in Area 1 of the Act. A valid dispute can still emerge, and surveyors be appointed in accordance with Section 10, in regard of works notified under that area but just as relates to real dissent on specific grounds. An adjacent owner’s reasons for disputing Section 2 and Area 6 works are hardly ever specified prior to the appointment of surveyors and in most cases not even then.
Where dissent has actually developed, whether real or considered, both owners are legally required to designate a concurred property surveyor or, if they can not jointly agree on a bachelor, 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. Failure to comply, instantly offers the owner making the request the statutory authority to appoint a property surveyor on behalf of the recalcitrant party. This treatment is set out in area 10( 4) of the Act.
Where two property surveyors are selected, they are required to agree upon the selection, in writing, of a 3rd property surveyor who might be hired by either of the property surveyors or either of the parties to determine the disputed matters and make the needed award. The 3rd property surveyor is never appointed by anybody however the Act provides the person so picked the exact same statutory powers as the two surveyors.
Third surveyors are most commonly hired where the two surveyors have reached an impasse in their considerations over some particular point and often this can be in respect on the reasonableness of the charges of the surveyor selected by the adjacent owner. Seldom will a third property surveyor be asked to draw up an award in respect of the whole works however may accompany one or other of the two surveyors to do so if the requirement arises.
There is no meaning of who can be a property surveyor, however it needs to not be the same person that will supervise the works.
The award will set out the works that can be performed, who will pay the charges for the preparation of the award and inspection of the works to ensure that they adhere to the works, and who will spend for the works. If the work is exclusively for the advantage of the structure owner, then they will generally 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 allows access to the adjacent residential or commercial property for the functions of carrying out the works whether the adjacent owner allows or not, however they must be given 14 days notice.
NB: The intro of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 means that from 6 April 2016, notices and other documents can be served by electronic communications.
The details that Observes should provide in regard of works covered the above sections 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 Area 3 of the Act. A legitimate conflict can still emerge, and surveyors be selected in accordance with Section 10, in respect of works alerted under that section but just as relates to real dissent on particular premises. An adjacent owner’s factors for challenging Area 2 and Section 6 works are seldom defined prior to the consultation of property surveyors and in numerous cases not even then.
Where dissent has emerged, whether actual or considered, both owners are lawfully obliged to select an agreed property surveyor or, if they can not jointly concur 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 request being served.
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