What is a Party Wall Award?
The process and requirements of a Party Wall Award are as set out in the Party Wall and so on. Act 1996. A Party Wall Award is a contract made between at least two neighbouring occupiers prior to the commencement of construction/building work which is to be undertaken to a party border or structure, or where works are being carried out in close proximity to a party limit or structure. There are 3 main kinds of work which require a Party Wall Surveyor to perform a Party Wall Award and these are:
- Line of junction (building a brand-new wall on or along with a limit).
- Party Structure Works (works to an existing party wall such as cutting into, reconstructing, thickening and so on).
- Nearby Excavation (excavations to a lower level within either 3m or 6m of an existing building).
In London and across the UK, our experienced industrial building property surveyors carry out a range of expert surveying services including Party Wall Studies (Party Wall Awards). At Commercial Building Surveyors we perform Party Wall Studies by experienced and expert Party Wall Surveyors throughout the UK.
Party Wall (WikiPedia)
Party Wall Act
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is an allowing Act, insofar as it grants the owner of a home the legal right to undertake certain works that may otherwise constitute trespass or nuisance.
It also looks for to protect the interests of adjacent owners from any possibly adverse impacts that such works might have by enforcing a requirement that all adjacent owners be provided prior notice of them.
In addition, the Act offers a mandatory disagreement resolution procedure moderated by a statutorily appointed property surveyor or property surveyors if neighbouring owners have issues about the application of any proposal so notified.
Specifically, such notification must be served where the owner of a residential or commercial property (known as ‘the structure owner’) plans to carry out any building work described in Areas 1, 2 and 6 of the Act. Note that it is only those works that are covered by the Act and the scope is restricted to the following:
- Area 1 uses where it is proposed to set up a brand-new wall at a limit that is not already built on.
- Area 2 concerns existing party structures, that include party walls, partitions and floorings (that different structures or parts of structures), party fence walls (essentially a boundary wall in between lands in separate ownership which is built astride a boundary) and, in some circumstances, a neighbour’s independent home.
- Section 6 can apply to excavations approximately 6 m far from a structure or structure on neighbouring land, based on depth requirements which the Act sets out.
The information that Sees must provide in respect of works covered the above areas is different in each case. The requirements of Section 1 and Area 6 Notices are set out in those sections but the requirements of a Notification connecting to Section 2 works is set out in Section 3 of the Act. It is very important to keep in mind that the credibility of any notice not offering all the pertinent information or served in the inaccurate way, could be open to challenge in Court.
There is no standard kind of Notice although many individuals utilize those released by the RICS or variations added to the explanatory pamphlet provided by the Department for Communities and City Government. However, supplied all the information required by the pertinent section of the Act is present, a simple letter would be similarly legitimate.
Depending on the situations of any offered project there might be more than one adjoining owner on whom discover requirements to be served in regard of the exact same work and, when it comes to deep excavations, an Adjacent Owner might be aside from an instant neighbour. It is always preferable to discuss the desired deal with adjacent owners before serving them with formal composed notification – a proposal well described may relieve concerns sufficient to prevent a dispute occurring and avoid the necessity to appoint surveyors.
There are 2 exceptions where the need to serve notice may be avoided:
- De minimis works: The government’s explanatory pamphlet says that some works on a party wall might be so small that service of notice under the Act would be normally considered as not needed and give as examples works unlikely to affect the structural strength or assistance 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 racks, cooking area cabinets, and so on.
- Functions under Section 2 of the Act offered that composed approval is obtained from all Adjoining Owners and Occupiers before work commences.
The three kinds of Notification are understood, respectively as:
- Section 1: Line of Junction Notice
- Area 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notification
- Section 6: Notification of Adjacent Excavation
A party structure notice must be served at least 2 months prior to the date on which it is proposed to begin that work. The other two notifications should be served at least one month prior to work starting.
The compulsory information which Sees need to consist of are as follows:
- Line of Junction Notice:
- An indication of the building owner’s desire to construct a wall.
- A description of the wall.
- Party Structure Notice:
- 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:
- A sign of the building owner’s proposals.
- A statement regarding whether or not the building owner proposes to underpin or otherwise enhance or safeguard the foundations of the building or structure of the adjacent owner.
- Accompanying areas and plans revealing: a) the site and depth of any excavation the structure owner proposes to make; b) if he proposes to put up a structure or structure, its site.
Most of the pro-forma notices in use include the following information as a matter of course regardless of the type of notification:
- The date of the notice.
- If different), the name and addresses of both the building and adjacent owners (and the addresses of the homes being worked on/affected.
- A declaration regarding the start of works relative to the suitable notification period.
- If the recipient actively dissents from the works or fails to react within 14 days, an advisory note describing what takes place.
Area 10 of the Act specifies that where an adjacent owner does not approval in writing to works notified by the building owner under Areas 3 and 6, both celebrations must either agree on the appointment of a single surveyor to act for both of them (known as the Agreed Surveyor), or each appoint their own surveyor, to determine by award matters in dispute between the celebrations.
Where a job 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, thought will have to be provided to a commensurately greater number of factors and undoubtedly 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 same procedure is utilized to solve any subsequent disagreements between neighbouring owners that might emerge in relation to the informed works, consisting of any loss or damage suffered by an adjoining owner as a result of their execution.
Inactiveness on the part of the adjacent owner does not halt the statutory process. A dispute can emerge by an adjoining owner actively dissenting, that is, communicating to the building 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 dissenting nor consenting for a period of 2 week after having been served with a Notification under either Area 3 or Section 6, the Act considers a dissent to have actually emerged in any event.
There is no considered dissent provision in Area 1 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 however just as concerns real dissent on particular premises. An adjoining owner’s reasons for challenging Area 2 and Area 6 works are seldom specified prior to the visit of surveyors and in most cases not even then.
Where dissent has actually arisen, whether actual or deemed, both owners are lawfully required to appoint a concurred property surveyor or, if they can not collectively settle on a single person, a property surveyor each and if asked for to make such an appointment by the other party, should do so within 10 days of the demand being served. Failure to comply, instantly provides the owner making the demand the statutory authority to designate a property surveyor on behalf of the recalcitrant party. This treatment is set out in area 10( 4) of the Act.
Where 2 property surveyors are selected, they are required to agree upon the choice, in writing, of a third surveyor who may be hired by either of the surveyors or either of the celebrations to identify the contested matters and make the essential award. The 3rd surveyor is never selected by anybody but the Act offers the person so chose the same statutory powers as the two surveyors.
3rd surveyors are most frequently called upon where the two property surveyors have actually reached an impasse in their considerations over some particular point and typically this can be in regard on the reasonableness of the fees of the property surveyor selected 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, but it should not be the same individual that will monitor the works.
The award will set out the works that can be performed, who will pay the costs for the preparation of the award and evaluation of the works to make sure that they adhere to the works, and who will pay for the works. If the work is solely for the advantage of the structure owner, then they will typically be required to pay the costs and the cost of the works.
Parties have 2 week to attract the county court if they disagree with the award.
The Act allows access to the adjacent property for the functions of performing the works whether the adjacent owner gives permission or not, however they must be offered 2 week notification.
NB: The introduction of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 implies that from 6 April 2016, notices and other documents can be served by electronic communications.
The information that Sees need to offer in respect of works covered the above sections 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 Notice relating to Section 2 works is set out in Section 3 of the Act. A valid conflict can still arise, and property surveyors be designated in accordance with Area 10, in regard of works alerted under that section but just as relates to real dissent on particular premises. An adjoining owner’s factors for challenging Section 2 and Section 6 works are rarely defined prior to the visit of surveyors and in many cases not even then.
Where dissent has occurred, whether real or deemed, both owners are legally required to select an agreed surveyor or, if they can not collectively concur on a single individual, a property surveyor each and if asked for to make such a visit by the other party, must do so within 10 days of the request being served.
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