Faulkners Surveyors is an independent firm of building property surveyors that specialise in the
Party Wall etc. Act 1996 acting for Building 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.
The Party Wall Act 1996
as it effects the garden
At first sight, it is simple to believe that the 1996 Party Wall Act does not impact garden building and construction, however it does affect the construction of border walls even if not part of structures and can also applies to deep excavations.
The Party Wall Act 1996 came into force in 1997, so it is now law and offers you rights and duties 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 impact any requirement for Preparation Permission for any work undertaken. Similarly, having Preparation Consent does not negate the requirements under the Party Wall Act.
The Party Wall Act comes into impact if someone is preparing to do work on an appropriate structure, for the purposes of the Act ‘party wall’ does not just imply 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 residential or commercial properties but is not part of any building.
- Excavation near to a neighbouring home.
For details of how the Party Wall Act impacts building work in general, have a look at this page.
Similar to all work impacting neighbours, it is always better to reach a friendly agreement rather than resort to any law. Even where the work needs a notice to be served, it is better to informally discuss the intended work, think about the neighbours comments, and amend your plans (if appropriate) before serving the notice.
What garden work needs a notice and authorization.
The basic principle of the Party Wall Act is that all work which might have an impact upon the structural strength or assistance function of the party wall or may cause damage to the neighbouring side of the wall need to be alerted. If in doubt, advice must be sought from a regional Building Control Office or professional surveyor/architect.
Work in the garden covered by the Party Wall Act consist of:
- To destroy and/or rebuild/build a party limit wall.
- To increase the height or density of a party limit wall.
- Excavations within 3 metres of a neighbouring structure where the excavation will go listed below the bottom of the structures 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 notification needs to be released to all impacted neighbouring parties if the prepared work on a border wall falls under the Party Wall Act. The notification should include (see sample letters in Part 5 of the Party Wall leaflet):.
- The owners of the property carrying out the work.
- The address of the residential or commercial property.
- A complete description of the proposed work (this will typically be simply a single sentence detailing the work).
- The proposed start date for the work.
- A clear declaration that the notice is being served under The Party Wall etc Act 1996.
- The date the notification is being served.
- If the work includes excavations, a drawing showing the depth, position and so on
If the planned work is a brand-new border wall as much as or astride the border line the procedure of serving a notification under the Party Wall Act is as follows:.
- The individual intending to perform the work should serve a composed notice a minimum of one months prior to the intended start of the work to every neighbouring party offering information of the work to be performed.
- Each neighbouring party should react in composing providing consent or signing up dissent – if a neighbouring party not does anything within 14 days of receiving the notification, the effect is to put the notification into conflict. No formal agreement is required for a wall up to the limit line, the neighbour just requires not to object in writing.
- No work may begin on a wall astride the border line until all neighbouring celebrations have agreed in writing to the notice (or a revised notice).
See listed below regarding 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 requires to be served at least one month before the planned start day of the work. Neighbouring parties need to give written agreement within 14 days or a dispute is deemed to have taken place.
See below regarding what happens in the event of a dispute/objection.
What occurs if a dispute occurs.
If arrangement can not be reached in between neighbouring celebrations, the process is as follows:.
- A Property surveyor or Surveyors is/are selected to figure out a unbiased and fair Award, either:.
- A single ‘Concurred Surveyor’ (someone acceptable to all celebrations).
- Each party appoints their own Property surveyor to represent the private parties.
The individual who is performing the work will normally need to pay all the expenses of the Surveyors, the only exception being if the neighbour calls out a Surveyor unnecessarily – in the opinion of the Property surveyor. It should be kept in mind that any Property surveyor should act within their statutory responsibilities and propose a unbiased and fair Award.
- A single ‘Concurred Surveyor’ (someone acceptable to all celebrations).
- The Agreed Property surveyor, or the specific Surveyors collectively, will produce an Award which must be objective and reasonable to all celebrations.
- As soon as an Award has been made, all parties have 14 days to appeal to a County Court against the Award.
Once you have agreement.
All work should comply with the notice when you have contract. All the contracts need to be kept to guarantee that a record of the granted permission is kept; a subsequent purchaser of the residential or commercial property might wish to establish that the work was carried out in accordance with the Party Wall Act requirements.
Keep in mind:
- We’ve only provided a short overview of the Party Wall Act here as it impacts garden work however have a look at the Communities and Local Government website for a more comprehensive explanatory brochure consisting of example letters for notifications and reactions.
- If a notification arrives suddenly, going over desired work with neighbours is totally free and can avoid misunderstanding which might arise.
- Your local Building Control Office may be able to provide complimentary suggestions relating to the Party Wall Act and how it applies to specific circumstances.
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