What is a Party Wall Award?
A Party Wall Award is a contract made between at least 2 neighbouring occupiers prior to the commencement of construction/building work which is to be carried out to a party boundary or structure, or where works are being undertaken in close proximity to a party border or structure. There are three main types of work which need a Party Wall Property surveyor to conduct a Party Wall Award and these are:
- Line of junction (constructing a brand-new wall on or together with a limit).
- Party Structure Functions (works to an existing party wall such as cutting into, restoring, thickening and so on).
- Nearby Excavation (excavations to a lower level within either 3m or 6m of an existing building).
In London and throughout the UK, our knowledgeable commercial structure property surveyors carry out a variety of professional surveying services consisting of Party Wall Studies (Party Wall Awards). At Commercial Structure Surveyors we conduct Party Wall Studies by skilled and expert 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.
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, however it does affect the building of border walls even if not part of structures and can likewise applies to deep excavations.
The Party Wall Act 1996 came into force in 1997, so it is now law and gives you rights and obligations whichever the side of the ‘wall’ you are on i.e. whether you are planning/doing deal with a relevant structure or if your neighbour is.
The Party Wall Act does not apply to border fences.
The Party Wall Act does not impact any requirement for Planning Approval for any work undertaken. Having Planning Authorization does not negate the requirements under the Party Wall Act.
The Party Wall Act enters result if someone is planning to do deal with a relevant structure, for the functions of the Act ‘party wall’ does not simply mean the wall in between 2 semi-detached homes, as far as gardeners are concerned it covers:
- A garden wall, where the wall is astride the limit line (or butts up against it) and is used to separate the residential or commercial properties but is not part of any structure.
- Excavation close to a neighbouring property.
For information of how the Party Wall Act impacts structure operate in general, have a look at this page.
Just like all work impacting neighbours, it is always much better to reach a friendly contract instead of resort to any law. Even where the work requires a notification to be served, it is better to informally go over the intended work, consider the neighbours comments, and modify your plans (if appropriate) before serving the notification.
What garden work needs a notification and permission.
The general concept of the Party Wall Act is that all work which may have an effect upon the structural strength or assistance function of the party wall or might trigger damage to the neighbouring side of the wall must be alerted. If in doubt, advice must be looked for from a local Structure Control Office or expert surveyor/architect.
Operate in the garden covered by the Party Wall Act include:
- To rebuild/build a party and/or demolish border wall.
- To increase the height or thickness of a party limit wall.
- Excavations within 3 metres of a neighbouring structure 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 notification should be provided to all impacted neighbouring parties if the planned work on a border wall falls under the Party Wall Act. The notice should include (see sample letters in Part 5 of the Party Wall leaflet):.
- The owners of the home carrying out the work.
- The address of the home.
- A full description of the proposed work (this will normally be just a single sentence outlining 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 notice is being served.
- If the work involves excavations, a drawing showing the depth, position etc
If the planned work is a new limit wall as much as or astride the boundary line the procedure of serving a notice under the Party Wall Act is as follows:.
- The individual intending to perform the work needs to serve a composed notice a minimum of one months prior to the designated start of the work to every neighbouring party providing details of the work to be carried out.
- Each neighbouring party ought to respond in composing providing permission or signing up dissent – if a neighbouring party not does anything within 2 week of getting the notice, the result is to put the notification into dispute. No formal contract is required for a wall up to the border line, the neighbour simply needs not to object in writing.
- No work might commence on a wall astride the boundary line till all neighbouring parties have agreed in writing to the notification (or a modified notice).
See below concerning what takes place in case of a dispute/objection.
If the prepared work is an excavation within the distance/depth covered by the Party Wall Act, the notice needs to be served a minimum of one month prior to the planned start day of the work. Neighbouring celebrations must give written contract within 2 week or a dispute is deemed to have actually taken place.
See below concerning what occurs in case of a dispute/objection.
What takes place if a dispute occurs.
If agreement can not be reached in between neighbouring celebrations, the procedure is as follows:.
- A Property surveyor or Surveyors is/are selected to figure out a reasonable and impartial Award, either:.
- A single ‘Concurred Surveyor’ (someone acceptable to all celebrations).
- Each party designates their own Surveyor to represent the individual parties.
The individual who is performing the work will usually have 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. However it must be kept in mind that any Property surveyor should act within their statutory responsibilities and propose a reasonable and impartial Award.
- A single ‘Concurred Surveyor’ (someone acceptable to all celebrations).
- The Agreed Surveyor, or the private Surveyors jointly, will produce an Award which needs to be reasonable and impartial to all parties.
- As soon as an Award has actually been made, all celebrations have 2 week to attract a County Court versus the Award.
As soon as you have contract.
All work needs to comply with the notice once you have arrangement. All the agreements should be maintained to ensure that a record of the granted permission is kept; a subsequent purchaser of the property might wish to establish that the work was performed in accordance with the Party Wall Act requirements.
- We’ve only given 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 detailed explanatory pamphlet including example letters for notices and responses.
- If a notice shows up unexpectedly, going over intended work with neighbours is free and can prevent misconception which may occur.
- Your regional Building Control Workplace may be able to provide free suggestions regarding the Party Wall Act and how it applies to particular circumstances.
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