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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 simple to think that the 1996 Party Wall Act does not impact garden building, however it does affect the building and construction of border walls even if not part of buildings 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 duties whichever the side of the ‘wall’ you are on i.e. whether you are planning/doing deal with an appropriate structure or if your neighbour is.
The Party Wall Act does not apply to boundary fences.
The Party Wall Act does not impact any requirement for Planning Permission for any work carried out. Having Planning Authorization does not negate the requirements under the Party Wall Act.
The Party Wall Act enters into effect if someone is preparing to do deal with a relevant structure, for the functions of the Act ‘party wall’ does not simply imply the wall between two semi-detached residential or commercial properties, as far as garden enthusiasts are worried it covers:
- A garden wall, where the wall is astride the boundary line (or butts up against it) and is used to separate the residential or commercial properties 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 structure work in general, have a look at this page.
Similar to all work impacting neighbours, it is always better to reach a friendly agreement instead of turn to any law. Even where the work needs a notification to be served, it is much better to informally talk about the desired work, think about the neighbours remarks, and change your plans (if suitable) before serving the notice.
What garden work needs a notification and permission.
The general concept of the Party Wall Act is that all work which might have a result upon the structural strength or assistance function of the party wall or may trigger damage to the neighbouring side of the wall should be informed. Recommendations should be sought from a regional Structure Control Workplace or expert surveyor/architect if in doubt.
Operate in the garden covered by the Party Wall Act consist of:
- To rebuild/build a party and/or destroy limit wall.
- To increase the height or thickness of a party boundary 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 listed below a line drawn 45 ° downwards from the bottom of the foundations of the neighbouring structure.
A notice must be issued to all impacted neighbouring celebrations if the prepared work on a boundary wall falls under the Party Wall Act. The notification needs to consist of (see sample letters in Part 5 of the Party Wall brochure):.
- The owners of the home carrying out the work.
- The address of the home.
- A full description of the proposed work (this will generally be simply a single sentence outlining 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 includes excavations, a drawing showing the depth, position and so on
If the prepared work is a new boundary wall up to or astride the border line the procedure of serving a notice under the Party Wall Act is as follows:.
- The individual meaning to perform the work should serve a written notification at least one months prior to the designated start of the work to every neighbouring party providing details of the work to be performed.
- Each neighbouring party should react in composing giving permission or signing up dissent – if a neighbouring party not does anything within 2 week of receiving the notice, the result is to put the notice into conflict. No formal contract is required for a wall up to the boundary line, the neighbour just requires not to object in writing.
- No work may start on a wall astride the limit line until all neighbouring parties have agreed in writing to the notice (or a modified notice).
See below concerning what takes place in the event of a dispute/objection.
If the prepared work is an excavation within the distance/depth covered by the Party Wall Act, the notification needs to be served a minimum of one month before the prepared start day of the work. Neighbouring celebrations need to offer written arrangement within 14 days or a disagreement is considered to have happened.
See below concerning what takes place in case of a dispute/objection.
If a conflict develops, what occurs.
If arrangement can not be reached in between neighbouring celebrations, the procedure is as follows:.
- A Surveyor or Surveyors is/are appointed to identify a reasonable and impartial Award, either:.
- A single ‘Concurred Surveyor’ (someone appropriate to all parties).
- Each party appoints their own Surveyor to represent the individual celebrations.
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 Surveyor unnecessarily – in the opinion of the Surveyor. It ought to be kept in mind that any Property surveyor needs to act within their statutory duties and propose a neutral and fair Award.
- A single ‘Concurred Surveyor’ (someone appropriate to all parties).
- The Agreed Surveyor, or the specific Surveyors jointly, will produce an Award which needs to be unbiased and fair to all parties.
- As soon as an Award has been made, all parties have 2 week to attract a County Court versus the Award.
Once you have contract.
As soon as you have agreement, all work should abide by the notification. All the contracts need to be kept to ensure that a record of the granted permission is kept; a subsequent buyer of the residential or commercial property might want to establish that the work was carried out in accordance with the Party Wall Act requirements.
Keep in mind:
- We have actually just given a short overview of the Party Wall Act here as it impacts garden work but take a look at the Neighborhoods and Local Government site for a more extensive explanatory brochure including example letters for notifications and actions.
- If a notice arrives suddenly, talking about intended work with neighbours is totally free and can avoid misconception which may occur.
- Your regional Building Control Office might have the ability to provide complimentary suggestions regarding the Party Wall Act and how it applies to particular circumstances.
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