What is a Party Wall Award?
A Party Wall Award is an arrangement made in between at least two neighbouring occupiers prior to the commencement of construction/building work which is to be undertaken to a party limit or structure, or where works are being undertaken in close distance to a party border or structure. There are three primary types of work which need a Party Wall Surveyor to perform a Party Wall Award and these are:
- Line of junction (building a brand-new wall on or alongside a border).
- Party Structure Works (works to an existing party wall such as cutting into, reconstructing, thickening etc.).
- Nearby Excavation (excavations to a lower level within either 3m or 6m of an existing building).
In London and throughout the UK, our skilled industrial building surveyors carry out a series of professional surveying services consisting of Party Wall Studies (Party Wall Awards). At Commercial Building Surveyors we perform Party Wall Surveys by expert and experienced 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 and so on. Act 1996 is an enabling Act, insofar as it gives the owner of a property the legal right to carry out specific works that might otherwise make up trespass or annoyance.
However, 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 notification of them.
In addition, the Act attends to an obligatory conflict resolution treatment mediated by a statutorily appointed surveyor or surveyors if neighbouring owners have concerns about the application of any proposal so alerted.
Specifically, such notification should be served where the owner of a property (known as ‘the building owner’) intends to carry out any construction work described in Sections 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:
- Section 1 applies where it is proposed to set up a new wall at a limit that is not already built on.
- Section 2 issues existing party structures, that include party walls, partitions and floorings (that different buildings or parts of structures), party fence walls (basically a border wall in between lands in different ownership which is developed astride a border) and, in some instances, a neighbour’s independent home.
- Area 6 can apply to excavations as much as 6 m far from a building or structure on neighbouring land, based on depth criteria which the Act sets out.
The info that Sees must provide in respect of works covered the above areas is various in each case. The requirements of Area 1 and Section 6 Notices are set out in those areas however the requirements of a Notification relating to Area 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. It is important to note that the credibility of any notification not supplying all the appropriate details or served in the incorrect manner, could be open up to challenge in Court.
There is no standard type of Notification although many individuals use those published by the RICS or versions appended to the explanatory pamphlet provided by the Department for Communities and City Government. Supplied all the info needed by the appropriate section of the Act is present, an easy letter would be equally legitimate.
Depending on the scenarios of any offered project there might be more than one adjoining owner on whom notice requirements to be served in respect of the very same work and, when it comes to deep excavations, an Adjoining Owner may be other than an instant neighbour. It is constantly preferable to talk about the desired deal with adjoining owners before serving them with formal written notice – a proposition well described may relieve concerns adequate to prevent a dispute arising and avoid the need to designate surveyors.
There are 2 exceptions where the need to serve notice may be avoided:
- De minimis works: The government’s explanatory brochure states that some deal with a party wall may be so small that service of notice under the Act would be generally considered not necessary and give as examples works unlikely to affect the structural strength or support functions of a party structure or cause damage to the neighbours side of it, such as re-plastering, shallow chasing for electrical wiring or inserting power sockets, and screws to support shelves, kitchen area cupboards, and so on.
- Functions under Area 2 of the Act offered that composed permission is obtained from all Adjacent Owners and Occupiers before work commences.
The three kinds of Notification are known, respectively as:
- Area 1: Line of Junction Notice
- Area 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notice
- Area 6: Notification of Adjacent Excavation
A party structure notification must be served at least two months before 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 commencing.
The compulsory information which Discovers should 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 structure owner.
- The nature and particulars of the proposed work.
- The date on which the proposed work will start.
- Notice of Adjacent Excavation:
- A sign of the structure owner’s propositions.
- A declaration as to 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 sections and strategies showing: a) the site and depth of any excavation the building owner proposes to make; b) if he proposes to put up a structure or structure, its website.
The majority 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 building and adjoining owners (and the addresses of the residential or commercial properties being worked on/affected if various).
- A declaration as to the commencement of works relative to the suitable notice period.
- An advisory note describing what takes place if the recipient actively dissents from the works or fails to respond within 14 days.
Area 10 of the Act stipulates that where an adjoining owner does not approval in writing to works alerted by the building owner under Areas 3 and 6, both parties 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 surveyor, to identify by award matters in dispute between the parties.
Where a job is straightforward, this might just involve factor to consider of the time and manner in which those works are to be carried out. In more complex plans, believed will need to be given to a commensurately greater number of aspects and indeed appointed 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 treatment is used to resolve any subsequent disagreements in between neighbouring owners that might occur in relation to the notified 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 emerge by an adjoining owner actively dissenting, that is, interacting to the structure owner an objection in regard of some matter occurring out of or incidental to the works – the means of making that objection are not important, but if he stays silent, neither dissenting nor consenting for a period of 14 days after having actually been served with a Notification under either Section 3 or Area 6, the Act deems a dissent to have actually emerged 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 selected in accordance with Section 10, in respect of works informed under that section but just as regards actual dissent on specific premises. An adjacent owner’s reasons for disputing Area 2 and Section 6 works are hardly ever defined prior to the consultation of surveyors and oftentimes not even then.
Where dissent has developed, whether real or deemed, both owners are legally required to appoint an agreed property surveyor or, if they can not collectively settle on a single person, a property surveyor each and if asked for to make such a consultation by the other party, should do so within 10 days of the demand being served. Failure to comply, immediately provides the owner making the demand the statutory authority to appoint a property surveyor on behalf of the recalcitrant party. This treatment is set out in section 10( 4) of the Act.
Where two property surveyors are selected, they are obliged to agree upon the selection, in writing, of a 3rd surveyor who may be hired by either of the property surveyors or either of the parties to figure out the challenged matters and make the required award. The 3rd property surveyor is never ever appointed by anyone however the Act provides the individual so picked the exact same statutory powers as the two surveyors.
Third surveyors are most typically called upon where the two surveyors have reached a deadlock in their deliberations over some specific point and typically this can be in regard on the reasonableness of the charges of the surveyor appointed by the adjacent owner. Seldom will a 3rd property surveyor be asked to prepare an award in regard of the whole works but might accompany one or other of the two property surveyors to do so if the need arises.
There is no meaning of who can be a surveyor, however it must 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 costs for the preparation of the award and assessment of the works to guarantee that they comply with the works, and who will spend for the works. If the work is entirely for the advantage of the building owner, then they will typically be required to pay the costs and the expense of the works.
If they disagree with the award, celebrations have 14 days to appeal to the county court.
The Act permits access to the adjoining residential or commercial property for the purposes of performing the works whether the adjacent owner permits or not, however they should be given 2 week notification.
NB: The introduction of The Party Wall and so on. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 means that from 6 April 2016, notifications and other files can be served by electronic interactions.
The info that Discovers must provide in respect of works covered the above sections is various in each case. The requirements of Section 1 and Section 6 Notices are set out in those areas however the requirements of a Notice relating to Section 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. A valid conflict can still arise, and property surveyors be designated in accordance with Area 10, in respect of works notified under that section but only as concerns actual dissent on particular premises. An adjoining owner’s factors for disputing Section 2 and Section 6 works are rarely defined prior to the appointment of surveyors and in many cases not even then.
Where dissent has actually occurred, whether real or deemed, both owners are lawfully obliged to designate a concurred surveyor or, if they can not jointly agree on a single person, a surveyor each and if asked for to make such a visit by the other party, need to do so within 10 days of the demand being served.
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