Faulkners Surveyors is an independent company of structure property surveyors that specialise in the
Party Wall etc. Act 1996 acting for Structure Owners, Adjacent Owners and as the Agreed Surveyor throughout London and the Home Counties.
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 and so on. Act 1996 is an enabling Act, insofar as it grants the owner of a home the legal right to carry out particular works that might otherwise constitute trespass or annoyance.
It also looks for to safeguard the interests of adjoining owners from any potentially adverse effects that such works might have by imposing a requirement that all adjacent owners be offered prior notice of them.
In addition, the Act offers an obligatory disagreement resolution procedure mediated by a statutorily designated surveyor or surveyors if neighbouring owners have issues about the implementation of any proposition so informed.
Specifically, such notice needs to be served where the owner of a residential or commercial property (called ‘the building owner’) means to carry out any construction work described in Areas 1, 2 and 6 of the Act. Keep in mind 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 erect a brand-new wall at a border that is not already built on.
- Area 2 issues existing party structures, which include party partitions, walls and floors (that separate structures or parts of structures), party fence walls (essentially a border wall between lands in different ownership which is built astride a boundary) and, in some instances, a neighbour’s independent home.
- Area 6 can apply to excavations up to 6 m away from a building or structure on neighbouring land, based on depth criteria which the Act sets out.
The information that Sees should supply in respect of works covered the above areas is different in each case. The requirements of Area 1 and Section 6 Notifications 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. It is necessary to keep in mind that the credibility of any notice not offering all the relevant details or served in the incorrect manner, could be open up to challenge in Court.
There is no basic kind of Notice although lots of people use those released by the RICS or variations appended to the explanatory pamphlet issued by the Department for Communities and City Government. Provided all the details required by the relevant area of the Act is present, an easy letter would be equally legitimate.
Depending upon the scenarios of any provided job there may be more than one adjoining owner on whom observe requirements to be served in regard of the very same work and, in the case of deep excavations, an Adjoining Owner might be other than an immediate neighbour. It is constantly preferable to discuss the desired works with adjoining owners prior to serving them with formal composed notification – a proposal well discussed may reduce issues sufficient to prevent a dispute emerging and avoid the necessity to select surveyors.
There are 2 exceptions where the need to serve notice might be prevented:
- De minimis works: The federal government’s explanatory pamphlet states that some works on a party wall may be so minor that service of notification under the Act would be usually regarded as not necessary and give as examples works unlikely to affect the structural strength or support functions of a party structure or trigger damage to the neighbours side of it, such as re-plastering, shallow chasing for electrical wiring or placing power sockets, and screws to support racks, cooking area cupboards, and so on.
- Works under Area 2 of the Act offered that composed consent is gotten from all Adjoining Owners and Occupiers prior to work commences.
The three kinds of Notification are understood, respectively as:
- Section 1: Line of Junction Notification
- Section 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notice
- Area 6: Notice of Adjacent Excavation
A party structure notification must be served at least 2 months before the date on which it is proposed to start that work. The other two notifications must be served a minimum of one month prior to work beginning.
The mandatory information which Sees must consist of are as follows:
- Line of Junction Notification:
- A sign of the structure 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 details of the proposed work.
- The date on which the proposed work will start.
- Notice of Adjacent Excavation:
- An indication of the structure owner’s propositions.
- A statement regarding whether or not the structure owner proposes to underpin or otherwise strengthen or safeguard the structures of the building or structure of the adjoining owner.
- Accompanying strategies and sections showing: a) the site and depth of any excavation the building owner proposes to make; b) if he proposes to erect a building or structure, its website.
Most of the pro-forma notifications in use consist of the following details as a matter of course despite the type of notice:
- The date of the notice.
- The name and addresses of both the structure and adjoining owners (and the addresses of the residential or commercial properties being worked on/affected if various).
- A declaration regarding the commencement of works relative to the appropriate notification period.
- An advisory note discussing what occurs if the recipient actively dissents from the works or fails to respond within 14 days.
Area 10 of the Act specifies that where an adjacent owner does not consent in writing to works informed by the structure owner under Sections 3 and 6, both celebrations need to either settle on the visit of a single surveyor to act for both of them (referred to as the Agreed Property Surveyor), or each appoint their own property surveyor, to determine by award matters in dispute in between the parties.
Where a task is straightforward, this may just include consideration of the time and way in which those works are to be performed. In more complex plans, thought will need to be given to a commensurately greater number of aspects and certainly designated property surveyors have the statutory jurisdiction to make an award in regard of any matter connected with any work to which the act relates.
The same procedure is used to deal with any subsequent disagreements in between neighbouring owners that may develop in relation to the notified works, consisting of any loss or damage suffered by an adjoining owner as a result of their execution.
Inactiveness on the part of the adjoining owner does not stop the statutory procedure. A dispute can develop by an adjacent owner actively dissenting, that is, interacting to the structure owner an objection in regard of some matter developing out of or incidental to the works – the means of making that objection are trivial, however if he stays quiet, neither dissenting nor consenting for a period of 2 week after having been served with a Notification under either Section 3 or Area 6, the Act considers a dissent to have arisen in any event.
There is no considered dissent provision in Section 1 of the Act. A valid dispute can still arise, and property surveyors be appointed in accordance with Section 10, in regard of works alerted under that area but only as concerns actual dissent on specific premises. An adjacent owner’s factors for contesting Section 2 and Area 6 works are rarely specified prior to the visit of surveyors and oftentimes not even then.
Where dissent has actually emerged, whether actual or considered, both owners are lawfully required to select an agreed surveyor or, if they can not collectively agree on a single person, a property surveyor each and if asked for to make such an appointment by the other party, must do so within 10 days of the request being served. Failure to comply, immediately 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 section 10( 4) of the Act.
Where two surveyors are appointed, they are required to agree upon the choice, in writing, of a 3rd surveyor who may be hired by either of the surveyors or either of the parties to identify the contested matters and make the required award. The 3rd property surveyor is never appointed by anybody but the Act provides the individual so selected the exact same statutory powers as the two surveyors.
3rd surveyors are most frequently called upon where the two property surveyors have actually reached a deadlock in their considerations over some specific point and often this can be in regard on the reasonableness of the costs of the surveyor selected by the adjoining owner. Hardly ever will a 3rd surveyor be asked to prepare an award in regard of the whole works but may join with one or other of the two surveyors to do so if the need occurs.
There is no definition of who can be a property surveyor, however it must not be the same person that will monitor the works.
The award will set out the works that can be performed, who will pay the fees for the preparation of the award and inspection of the works to make sure that they abide by the works, and who will spend for the works. They will usually be needed to pay the charges and the cost of the works if the work is exclusively for the benefit of the building owner.
Celebrations have 14 days to attract the county court if they disagree with the award.
The Act allows access to the adjoining property for the purposes of carrying out the works whether the adjacent owner gives permission or not, however they should be provided 2 week notice.
NB: The introduction of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 indicates that from 6 April 2016, notices and other documents can be served by electronic interactions.
The info that Sees should offer in respect of works covered the above areas is various in each case. The requirements of Area 1 and Area 6 Notifications are set out in those sections but the requirements of a Notice relating to Area 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. A valid conflict can still occur, and property surveyors be designated in accordance with Area 10, in regard of works alerted under that section however just as regards actual dissent on particular premises. An adjacent owner’s reasons for challenging Area 2 and Area 6 works are hardly ever specified prior to the visit of property surveyors and in lots of cases not even then.
Where dissent has developed, whether actual or deemed, both owners are legally required to designate a concurred surveyor or, if they can not jointly agree on a single person, a property surveyor each and if asked for 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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