Faulkners Surveyors is an independent firm of building surveyors that specialise in the
Party Wall etc. Act 1996 acting for Structure Owners, Adjoining Owners and as the Agreed Property 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.
Party Wall Act
The Party Wall and so on. Act 1996 is an enabling Act, insofar as it approves the owner of a residential or commercial property the legal right to carry out certain works that might otherwise make up trespass or problem.
It also looks for to protect the interests of adjacent owners from any possibly negative impacts that such works may have by imposing a requirement that all adjacent owners be offered prior notification of them.
In addition, the Act attends to an obligatory disagreement resolution treatment mediated by a statutorily designated surveyor or property surveyors if neighbouring owners have issues about the implementation of any proposal so notified.
Particularly, such notice should be served where the owner of a home (referred to as ‘the building owner’) means to carry out any building work explained in Areas 1, 2 and 6 of the Act. Keep in mind that it is just those works that are covered by the Act and the scope is limited to the following:
- Area 1 uses where it is proposed to erect a new wall at a limit that is not already built on.
- Section 2 concerns existing party structures, which include party floorings, walls and partitions (that different buildings or parts of buildings), party fence walls (basically a limit wall between lands in separate ownership which is constructed astride a border) and, in some circumstances, a neighbour’s independent residential or commercial property.
- Area 6 can apply to excavations up to 6 m away from a building or structure on neighbouring land, based on depth requirements which the Act sets out.
The information that Sees must supply in respect of works covered the above areas is different in each case. The requirements of Area 1 and Section 6 Notifications are set out in those areas however the requirements of a Notice relating to Area 2 works is set out in Area 3 of the Act. It is essential to keep in mind that the validity of any notice not supplying all the appropriate details or served in the incorrect manner, could be open to challenge in Court.
There is no basic type of Notice although many people utilize those published by the RICS or versions added to the explanatory booklet provided by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Provided all the information required by the appropriate area of the Act is present, an easy letter would be similarly legitimate.
Depending upon the circumstances of any provided project there may be more than one adjacent owner on whom see requirements to be served in respect of the exact same work and, in the case of deep excavations, an Adjacent Owner might be aside from an immediate neighbour. It is always preferable to talk about the intended works with adjoining owners prior to serving them with official composed notification – a proposal well discussed may ease issues adequate to prevent a conflict developing and prevent the requirement to select property surveyors.
There are 2 exceptions where the requirement to serve notice might be avoided:
- De minimis works: The federal government’s explanatory booklet states that some works on a party wall might be so small that service of notification under the Act would be usually considered as not required and give as examples works unlikely to affect the structural strength or support functions of a party structure or trigger damage to the neighbours side of it, such as re-plastering, shallow chasing for electrical wiring or inserting power sockets, and screws to support racks, kitchen area cupboards, and so on.
- Functions under Area 2 of the Act provided that composed permission is acquired from all Adjoining Owners and Occupiers before work commences.
The 3 kinds of Notice are known, respectively as:
- Section 1: Line of Junction Notification
- Area 3 (for S2 works): Party Structure Notification
- 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 begin that work. The other 2 notifications should be served a minimum of one month prior to work starting.
The compulsory information which Discovers must include are as follows:
- Line of Junction Notice:
- An indication of the structure owner’s desire to construct a wall.
- A description of the wall.
- Party Structure Notice:
- The name and address of the building 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 structure owner’s proposals.
- A statement regarding whether the structure owner proposes to underpin or otherwise strengthen or protect the foundations of the structure or structure of the adjacent owner.
- Accompanying areas and strategies revealing: a) the site and depth of any excavation the building owner proposes to make; b) if he proposes to erect a structure or structure, its website.
The majority of the pro-forma notifications in use consist of the following info as a matter of course regardless of the kind 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 statement as to the commencement of works relative to the appropriate notification period.
- An advisory note describing what occurs if the recipient actively dissents from the works or stops working to respond within 14 days.
Section 10 of the Act states that where an adjacent owner does not authorization in writing to works informed by the building owner under Sections 3 and 6, both celebrations need to either settle on the consultation of a single property surveyor to act for both of them (referred to as the Agreed Surveyor), or each designate their own surveyor, to identify by award matters in dispute between the celebrations.
Where a job is straightforward, this may just involve consideration of the time and manner in which those works are to be performed. In more complex plans, thought will need to be offered to a commensurately greater number of aspects and indeed selected surveyors have the statutory jurisdiction to make an award in regard of any matter gotten in touch with any work to which the act relates.
The very same procedure is used to resolve any subsequent disputes between neighbouring owners that may emerge in relation to the alerted works, consisting of any loss or damage suffered by an adjacent owner as a result of their execution.
Inaction on the part of the adjoining owner does not stop the statutory process. A conflict can arise by an adjacent owner actively dissenting, that is, communicating to the building owner an objection in regard of some matter developing out of or incidental to the works – the means of making that objection are trivial, but if he stays silent, neither dissenting nor consenting for a period of 14 days after having been served with a Notice under either Area 3 or Section 6, the Act considers a dissent to have actually developed in any event.
There is no considered dissent arrangement in Section 1 of the Act. A legitimate conflict can still occur, and surveyors be designated in accordance with Area 10, in regard of works notified under that area but just as regards actual dissent on specific grounds. An adjoining owner’s reasons for challenging Section 2 and Area 6 works are hardly ever specified prior to the consultation of surveyors and oftentimes not even then.
Where dissent has actually occurred, whether actual or deemed, both owners are legally obliged to select a concurred property surveyor or, if they can not collectively settle on a single person, a surveyor each and if asked for to make such a visit by the other party, must do so within 10 days of the request being served. Failure to comply, immediately provides the owner making the demand the statutory authority to designate a property surveyor on behalf of the recalcitrant party. This treatment is set out in area 10( 4) of the Act.
Where two property surveyors are appointed, they are obliged to agree upon the choice, in composing, of a third surveyor who might be called upon by either of the surveyors or either of the parties to figure out the challenged matters and make the necessary award. The 3rd surveyor is never ever designated by anybody however the Act offers the person so selected the same statutory powers as the two property surveyors.
3rd property surveyors are most frequently called upon where the two surveyors have reached an impasse in their considerations over some specific point and frequently this can be in regard on the reasonableness of the costs of the surveyor appointed by the adjoining owner. Hardly ever will a 3rd surveyor be asked to draw up an award in regard of the whole works but might join with one or other of the two property surveyors to do so if the need occurs.
There is no definition 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 charges for the preparation of the award and evaluation 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 needed to pay the charges and the expense of the works.
Parties have 14 days to interest the county court if they disagree with the award.
The Act enables access to the adjacent property for the functions of carrying out the works whether the adjacent owner permits or not, however they need to be given 2 week notice.
NB: The introduction of The Party Wall and so on. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 suggests that from 6 April 2016, notices and other files can be served by electronic interactions.
The info that Sees should provide 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 sections however the requirements of a Notice relating to Area 2 works is set out in Section 3 of the Act. A valid conflict can still develop, and property surveyors be appointed in accordance with Section 10, in respect of works alerted under that area however only as regards actual dissent on particular premises. An adjoining owner’s factors for disputing Area 2 and Area 6 works are seldom defined prior to the visit of surveyors and in lots of cases not even then.
Where dissent has developed, whether real or deemed, both owners are legally obliged to designate an agreed property surveyor or, if they can not jointly agree on a single individual, a surveyor each and if asked for to make such an appointment by the other party, must do so within 10 days of the demand being served.
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