What is a Party Wall Award?
The procedure and requirements of a Party Wall Award are as set out in the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. A Party Wall Award is a contract made between at least 2 neighbouring occupiers prior to the beginning of construction/building work which is to be undertaken to a party border or structure, or where works are being undertaken in close proximity to a party limit or structure. There are three main kinds of work which require a Party Wall Property surveyor to carry out a Party Wall Award and these are:
- Line of junction (developing a new wall on or along with a border).
- Party Structure Works (works to an existing party wall such as cutting into, rebuilding, thickening etc.).
- Adjacent Excavation (excavations to a lower level within either 3m or 6m of an existing structure).
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 Structure Surveyors we conduct Party Wall Studies by knowledgeable 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.
Party Wall Act
The Party Wall and so on. Act 1996 is an enabling Act, insofar as it grants the owner of a property the legal right to carry out certain works that might otherwise constitute trespass or annoyance.
However, it also seeks to secure the interests of adjacent owners from any potentially unfavorable results that such works might have by enforcing a requirement that all adjoining owners be offered prior notification of them.
In addition, the Act provides for an obligatory conflict resolution procedure mediated by a statutorily selected property surveyor or surveyors if neighbouring owners have issues about the application of any proposal so alerted.
Specifically, such notice needs to be served where the owner of a property (known as ‘the structure owner’) plans to undertake any building and construction work explained in Sections 1, 2 and 6 of the Act. Note that it is just those works that are covered by the Act and the scope is limited to the following:
- Area 1 applies where it is proposed to put up a brand-new wall at a limit that is not currently built on.
- Section 2 issues existing party structures, which include party floors, walls and partitions (that separate buildings or parts of buildings), party fence walls (basically a limit wall between lands in separate ownership which is built astride a limit) and, in some instances, a neighbour’s independent residential or commercial property.
- Section 6 can apply to excavations as much as 6 m away from a building or structure on neighbouring land, based on depth criteria which the Act sets out.
The information that Observes need to provide in regard of works covered the above areas is various in each case. The requirements of Section 1 and Area 6 Notices are set out in those sections but the requirements of a Notice connecting to Section 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. It is very important to note that the validity of any notification not providing all the relevant information or served in the inaccurate manner, could be open to challenge in Court.
There is no basic kind of Notice although lots of people utilize those published by the RICS or versions added to the explanatory booklet released by the Department for Communities and City Government. Offered all the details required by the appropriate section of the Act is present, an easy letter would be similarly valid.
Depending upon the situations of any given task there may be more than one adjoining owner on whom notice requirements to be served in regard of the exact same work and, in the case of deep excavations, an Adjacent Owner might be other than an instant neighbour. It is constantly more suitable to talk about the designated works with adjoining owners before serving them with formal composed notification – a proposal well discussed might reduce concerns adequate to prevent a conflict developing and avoid the need to designate surveyors.
There are 2 exceptions where the requirement to serve notice may be avoided:
- De minimis works: The government’s explanatory pamphlet states that some works on a party wall might be so minor that service of notification under the Act would be typically considered not needed and give as examples works unlikely to impact 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 placing power sockets, and screws to support racks, cooking area cabinets, and so forth.
- Functions under Area 2 of the Act offered that written approval is gotten from all Adjacent Owners and Occupiers before work commences.
The 3 types of Notification are understood, respectively as:
- Section 1: Line of Junction Notice
- Section 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notice
- Section 6: Notice of Adjacent Excavation
A party structure notification need to be served a minimum of 2 months before the date on which it is proposed to start that work. The other two notifications should be served a minimum of one month prior to work commencing.
The obligatory details which Observes must consist of are as follows:
- Line of Junction Notice:
- An indication of the structure owner’s desire to build a wall.
- A description of the wall.
- Party Structure Notification:
- The name and address of the structure owner.
- The nature and particulars of the proposed work.
- The date on which the proposed work will begin.
- Notification of Adjacent Excavation:
- An indication of the building owner’s proposals.
- A statement as to whether the building owner proposes to underpin or otherwise strengthen or safeguard the structures of the building or structure of the adjacent owner.
- Accompanying sections and strategies showing: a) the website and depth of any excavation the structure owner proposes to make; b) if he proposes to put up a building or structure, its site.
The majority of the pro-forma notifications in use consist of the following information as a matter of course regardless of the kind of notice:
- The date of the notice.
- The name and addresses of both the structure and adjacent owners (and the addresses of the properties being worked on/affected if various).
- A declaration as to the start of works relative to the appropriate notice period.
- If the recipient actively dissents from the works or stops working to react within 14 days, an advisory note discussing what occurs.
Section 10 of the Act states that where an adjoining owner does not permission in writing to works alerted by the building owner under Sections 3 and 6, both parties must either agree on the visit of a single property surveyor to act for both of them (referred to as the Agreed Property Surveyor), or each select their own property surveyor, to identify by award matters in dispute in between the parties.
Where a job is straightforward, this may only involve consideration of the time and way in which those works are to be performed. In more complex plans, believed will need to be provided to a commensurately greater number of factors and certainly appointed property surveyors have the statutory jurisdiction to make an award in respect of any matter connected with any work to which the act relates.
The very same treatment is used to fix any subsequent disagreements between neighbouring owners that may arise in relation to the notified works, including any loss or damage suffered by an adjacent owner as a result of their execution.
Inactiveness on the part of the adjacent owner does not halt the statutory procedure. A conflict can arise by an adjacent owner actively dissenting, that is, communicating to the building owner an objection in regard of some matter arising out of or incidental to the works – the ways of making that objection are trivial, however if he remains silent, neither consenting nor dissenting for a duration of 14 days after having been served with a Notice under either Section 3 or Section 6, the Act considers a dissent to have developed in any event.
There is no deemed dissent arrangement in Area 1 of the Act. A valid disagreement can still develop, and property surveyors be designated in accordance with Section 10, in regard of works alerted under that section however just as relates to actual dissent on specific grounds. An adjacent owner’s reasons for disputing Area 2 and Section 6 works are seldom defined prior to the visit of property surveyors and in most cases not even then.
Where dissent has developed, whether real or deemed, both owners are lawfully required to select a concurred property surveyor or, if they can not jointly agree on a single person, a property surveyor each and if requested to make such a visit by the other party, must do so within 10 days of the demand being served. Failure to comply, instantly gives the owner making the request the statutory authority to select a property surveyor on behalf of the recalcitrant party. This treatment is set out in area 10( 4) of the Act.
Where 2 surveyors are appointed, they are required to agree upon the choice, in composing, of a third surveyor who may be called upon by either of the surveyors or either of the parties to identify the disputed matters and make the necessary award. The 3rd property surveyor is never ever selected by anybody but the Act provides the individual so chose the very same statutory powers as the two surveyors.
3rd property surveyors are most frequently called upon where the two property surveyors have actually reached a deadlock in their considerations over some specific point and frequently this can be in respect on the reasonableness of the costs of the surveyor appointed by the adjacent owner. Hardly ever will a 3rd property surveyor be asked to draw up an award in regard of the whole works but might join with one or other of the two surveyors to do so if the need emerges.
There is no meaning of who can be a surveyor, but it needs to not be the same individual that will supervise the works.
The award will set out the works that can be carried out, who will pay the costs for the preparation of the award and assessment of the works to make sure that they abide by the works, and who will spend for the works. They will normally be needed to pay the fees and the cost of the works if the work is entirely for the advantage of the structure owner.
If they disagree with the award, celebrations have 14 days to appeal to the county court.
The Act allows access to the adjoining property for the functions of performing the works whether the adjacent owner gives permission or not, however they need to be given 14 days notice.
NB: The intro of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 indicates that from 6 April 2016, notices and other files can be served by electronic interactions.
The information that Sees should supply in respect of works covered the above sections is various in each case. The requirements of Section 1 and Area 6 Notices are set out in those areas but the requirements of a Notification relating to Section 2 works is set out in Section 3 of the Act. A valid dispute can still develop, and surveyors be appointed in accordance with Section 10, in respect of works notified under that area but just as relates to actual dissent on particular grounds. An adjoining owner’s factors for disputing Section 2 and Section 6 works are rarely defined prior to the consultation of surveyors and in many cases not even then.
Where dissent has developed, whether actual or considered, both owners are legally obliged to designate a concurred surveyor or, if they can not collectively agree on a single person, a surveyor each and if asked for to make such an appointment by the other party, should do so within 10 days of the request being served.
Around the Web