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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 believe that the 1996 Party Wall Act does not affect garden building and construction, however it does affect the construction of border walls even if not part of buildings and can likewise applies to deep excavations.
The Party Wall Act 1996 entered into force in 1997, so it is now law and provides you rights and responsibilities whichever the side of the ‘wall’ you are on i.e. whether you are planning/doing work on an appropriate structure or if your neighbour is.
The Party Wall Act does not apply to boundary fences.
The Party Wall Act does not affect any requirement for Planning Approval for any work undertaken. Having Preparation Authorization does not negate the requirements under the Party Wall Act.
The Party Wall Act comes into impact if someone is planning to do work on a relevant structure, for the purposes of the Act ‘party wall’ does not just indicate the wall in between 2 semi-detached residential or commercial properties, as far as gardeners are worried it covers:
- A garden wall, where the wall is astride the border line (or butts up against it) and is utilized to separate the homes however is not part of any building.
- Excavation close to a neighbouring property.
For information of how the Party Wall Act affects structure work in general, have a look at this page.
Just like all work affecting neighbours, it is constantly better to reach a friendly contract instead of resort to any law. Even where the work needs a notification to be served, it is much better to informally discuss the designated work, consider the neighbours comments, and modify your strategies (if appropriate) before serving the notification.
What garden work requires a notification and permission.
The general concept of the Party Wall Act is that all work which might have an effect upon the structural strength or support function of the party wall or might cause damage to the neighbouring side of the wall must be notified. Advice should be sought from a regional Building Control Office or expert surveyor/architect if in doubt.
Work in the garden covered by the Party Wall Act consist of:
- To demolish and/or rebuild/build a party limit wall.
- To increase the height or thickness of a party border wall.
- Excavations within 3 metres of a neighbouring building where the excavation will go below the bottom of the foundations of the neighbouring building.
- Excavations within 6 metres of a neighbouring building where the excavation will go below a line drawn 45 ° downwards from the bottom of the structures of the neighbouring structure.
A notice should be provided to all affected neighbouring celebrations if the planned work on a border wall falls under the Party Wall Act. The notice needs to include (see sample letters in Part 5 of the Party Wall brochure):.
- The owners of the property undertaking the work.
- The address of the home.
- A full description of the proposed work (this will usually be simply a single sentence laying out the work).
- The proposed start date for the work.
- A clear statement that the notification is being served under The Party Wall etc Act 1996.
- The date the notice is being served.
- If the work involves excavations, a drawing revealing the depth, position etc
If the prepared work is a new limit wall as much as or astride the boundary line the process of serving a notice under the Party Wall Act is as follows:.
- The individual planning to perform the work must serve a written notification a minimum of one months prior to the intended start of the work to every neighbouring party offering information of the work to be carried out.
- Each neighbouring party ought to respond in composing giving authorization or registering dissent – if a neighbouring party not does anything within 2 week of receiving the notice, the result is to put the notification into conflict. Nevertheless no formal contract is needed for a wall as much as the limit line, the neighbour simply requires not to object in composing.
- No work might commence on a wall astride the limit line until all neighbouring parties have agreed in writing to the notification (or a revised notification).
See below concerning what takes place in case of a dispute/objection.
If the planned work is an excavation within the distance/depth covered by the Party Wall Act, the notice needs to be served at least one month before the prepared start day of the work. Neighbouring celebrations should provide written agreement within 14 days or a conflict is deemed to have occurred.
See below regarding what takes place in the event of a dispute/objection.
If a conflict develops, what happens.
If agreement can not be reached between neighbouring celebrations, the procedure is as follows:.
- A Property surveyor or Surveyors is/are designated to determine a reasonable and unbiased Award, either:.
- A single ‘Agreed Surveyor’ (someone acceptable to all parties).
- Each party selects their own Surveyor to represent the private parties.
The individual who is carrying out the work will normally have to pay all the costs of the Surveyors, the only exception being if the neighbour calls out a Property surveyor needlessly – in the viewpoint of the Property surveyor. However it needs to be kept in mind that any Property surveyor should act within their statutory obligations and propose a reasonable and neutral Award.
- A single ‘Agreed Surveyor’ (someone acceptable to all parties).
- The Agreed Surveyor, or the individual Surveyors collectively, will produce an Award which needs to be fair and unbiased to all parties.
- As soon as an Award has actually been made, all celebrations have 2 week to appeal to a County Court versus the Award.
Once you have arrangement.
All work should comply with the notification when you have contract. All the agreements ought to be kept to guarantee that a record of the granted permission is kept; a subsequent purchaser of the home might want to establish that the work was carried out in accordance with the Party Wall Act requirements.
- We have actually just provided a brief overview of the Party Wall Act here as it affects garden work but have a look at the Communities and City government site for a more extensive explanatory brochure consisting of example letters for actions and notices.
- Going over desired deal with neighbours is totally free and can avoid misunderstanding which might occur if a notification arrives suddenly.
- Your regional Structure Control Office may be able to give free suggestions regarding the Party Wall Act and how it applies to specific situations.
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