What is a Party Wall Award?
A Party Wall Award is an agreement made in between at least 2 neighbouring occupiers prior to the start of construction/building work which is to be undertaken to a party limit or structure, or where works are being carried out in close distance to a party boundary or structure. There are 3 main types of work which need a Party Wall Surveyor to conduct a Party Wall Award and these are:
- Line of junction (developing a new wall on or alongside a border).
- Party Structure Functions (works to an existing party wall such as cutting into, rebuilding, thickening and so on).
- Adjacent Excavation (excavations to a lower level within either 3m or 6m of an existing structure).
In London and across the UK, our skilled business structure property surveyors perform a range of professional surveying services including Party Wall Surveys (Party Wall Awards). At Commercial Structure Surveyors we carry out Party Wall Studies by expert and knowledgeable Party Wall Surveyors throughout the UK.
Party Wall (WikiPedia)
The Party Wall Act 1996
as it effects the garden
At first sight, it is easy to think that the 1996 Party Wall Act does not impact garden building, however it does impact the construction of boundary walls even if not part of structures and can also applies to deep excavations.
The Party Wall Act 1996 entered into force in 1997, so it is now law and offers 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 limit fences.
The Party Wall Act does not impact any requirement for Planning Approval for any work carried out. Having Preparation Authorization does not negate the requirements under the Party Wall Act.
The Party Wall Act enters effect if someone is planning to do work on a relevant structure, for the purposes of the Act ‘party wall’ does not just imply the wall in between two semi-detached homes, 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 utilized to separate the properties but is not part of any structure.
- Excavation near to a neighbouring home.
For details of how the Party Wall Act affects structure operate in general, have a look at this page.
Just like all work impacting neighbours, it is constantly better to reach a friendly arrangement rather than resort to any law. Even where the work requires a notice to be served, it is much better to informally talk about the desired work, consider the neighbours remarks, and modify your plans (if appropriate) prior to serving the notice.
What garden work needs a notification and consent.
The basic principle 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 cause damage to the neighbouring side of the wall should be alerted. Guidance should be looked for from a local Structure Control Office or professional surveyor/architect if in doubt.
Work in the garden covered by the Party Wall Act include:
- To demolish and/or rebuild/build a party limit wall.
- To increase the height or thickness of a party border 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 structure where the excavation will go listed below a line drawn 45 ° downwards from the bottom of the structures of the neighbouring structure.
If the planned deal with a border wall falls under the Party Wall Act, a notice must be issued to all affected neighbouring celebrations. The notification needs to 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 home.
- A full description of the proposed work (this will typically be just a single sentence laying out the work).
- The proposed start date for the work.
- A clear declaration that the notification is being served under The Party Wall etc Act 1996.
- The date the notification is being served.
- If the work includes excavations, a drawing revealing the depth, position etc
If the prepared work is a brand-new limit wall up to or astride the limit line the procedure of serving a notification under the Party Wall Act is as follows:.
- The individual intending to perform the work must serve a written notice at least one months before the designated start of the work to every neighbouring party giving details of the work to be performed.
- Each neighbouring party needs to respond in writing providing permission or signing up dissent – if a neighbouring party not does anything within 14 days of getting the notice, the result is to put the notification into disagreement. However no formal arrangement is required for a wall approximately the limit line, the neighbour simply requires not to object in composing.
- No work might begin on a wall astride the boundary line up until all neighbouring celebrations have actually agreed in writing to the notification (or a revised notification).
See below regarding what happens 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 parties should provide written contract within 2 week or a dispute is considered to have happened.
See listed below regarding what happens in case of a dispute/objection.
If a dispute arises, what occurs.
If agreement can not be reached in between neighbouring parties, the process is as follows:.
- A Property surveyor or Surveyors is/are designated to determine a fair and unbiased Award, either:.
- A single ‘Concurred Surveyor’ (someone acceptable to all parties).
- Each party designates their own Surveyor to represent the specific parties.
The individual who is performing the work will usually have to pay all the costs of the Surveyors, the only exception being if the neighbour calls out a Property surveyor unnecessarily – in the viewpoint of the Surveyor. Nevertheless it should be kept in mind that any Property surveyor must act within their statutory responsibilities and propose a fair and neutral Award.
- A single ‘Concurred Surveyor’ (someone acceptable to all parties).
- The Agreed Surveyor, or the specific Surveyors jointly, will produce an Award which should be reasonable and unbiased to all parties.
- Once an Award has actually been made, all parties have 2 week to appeal to a County Court versus the Award.
Once you have contract.
All work needs to comply with the notification once you have agreement. All the agreements ought to be kept to ensure that a record of the granted permission is kept; a subsequent buyer 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 just offered a short overview of the Party Wall Act here as it impacts garden work but take a look at the Neighborhoods and City government site for a more thorough explanatory booklet including example letters for responses and notifications.
- Going over intended work with neighbours is free and can prevent misunderstanding which might arise if a notice shows up suddenly.
- Your regional Building Control Office might have the ability to offer free recommendations concerning the Party Wall Act and how it applies to specific circumstances.
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