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Party Wall (WikiPedia)
The Party Wall Act 1996
as it impacts the garden
At first sight, it is simple to believe that the 1996 Party Wall Act does not impact garden construction, however it does affect the building and construction of boundary walls even if not part of buildings and can also applies to deep excavations.
The Party Wall Act 1996 entered into force in 1997, so it is now law and provides you rights and responsibilities whichever the side of the ‘wall’ you are on i.e. whether you are planning/doing work on a pertinent structure or if your neighbour is.
The Party Wall Act does not apply to limit fences.
The Party Wall Act does not affect any requirement for Preparation Permission for any work carried out. Similarly, having Planning Authorization does not negate the requirements under the Party Wall Act.
The Party Wall Act enters into impact if somebody is preparing to do work on a pertinent structure, for the purposes of the Act ‘party wall’ does not just suggest the wall between 2 semi-detached properties, as far as garden enthusiasts 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 properties but is not part of any structure.
- Excavation close to a neighbouring residential or commercial property.
For information of how the Party Wall Act affects structure work in general, take a look at this page.
As with all work impacting neighbours, it is constantly much better to reach a friendly arrangement rather than turn to any law. Even where the work requires a notice to be served, it is much better to informally go over the designated work, consider the neighbours remarks, and change your strategies (if suitable) before serving the notification.
What garden work requires a notice and authorization.
The basic principle of the Party Wall Act is that all work which might have an effect upon the structural strength or assistance function of the party wall or might cause damage to the neighbouring side of the wall need to be notified. Suggestions should be sought from a regional Structure Control Workplace or professional surveyor/architect if in doubt.
Operate in the garden covered by the Party Wall Act consist of:
- To destroy and/or rebuild/build a party boundary wall.
- To increase the height or density of a party boundary wall.
- Excavations within 3 metres of a neighbouring building 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 below a line drawn 45 ° downwards from the bottom of the foundations of the neighbouring building.
If the prepared deal with a boundary wall falls under the Party Wall Act, a notification should be provided to all affected neighbouring celebrations. The notification needs to include (see sample letters in Part 5 of the Party Wall brochure):.
- The owners of the residential or commercial property carrying out the work.
- The address of the residential or commercial property.
- A full description of the proposed work (this will usually be simply a single sentence detailing the work).
- The proposed start date for the work.
- A clear statement 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 etc
If the planned work is a new border wall as much as or astride the boundary line the procedure of serving a notification under the Party Wall Act is as follows:.
- The individual meaning to carry out the work needs to serve a composed notification a minimum of one months prior to the intended start of the work to every neighbouring party providing information of the work to be performed.
- Each neighbouring party ought to react in composing giving consent or registering dissent – if a neighbouring party not does anything within 2 week of getting the notification, the result is to put the notice into disagreement. However no formal arrangement is required for a wall up to the border line, the neighbour just needs not to object in writing.
- No work may commence on a wall astride the boundary line till all neighbouring parties have concurred in writing to the notice (or a modified notice).
See below concerning what occurs in the event of a dispute/objection.
If the planned 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 before the prepared start day of the work. Neighbouring parties need to provide written arrangement within 2 week or a dispute is considered to have taken place.
See listed below regarding what takes place in the event of a dispute/objection.
What takes place if a disagreement develops.
If arrangement can not be reached between neighbouring celebrations, the process is as follows:.
- A Surveyor or Surveyors is/are designated to identify a objective and reasonable Award, either:.
- A single ‘Agreed Surveyor’ (someone appropriate to all celebrations).
- Each party appoints their own Surveyor to represent the private parties.
The individual who is performing the work will generally have to pay all the costs of the Surveyors, the only exception being if the neighbour calls out a Property surveyor needlessly – in the viewpoint of the Property surveyor. It needs to be noted that any Surveyor needs to act within their statutory obligations and propose a objective and reasonable Award.
- A single ‘Agreed Surveyor’ (someone appropriate to all celebrations).
- The Agreed Property surveyor, or the individual Surveyors jointly, will produce an Award which must be fair and neutral to all parties.
- When an Award has been made, all parties have 14 days to appeal to a County Court against the Award.
When you have contract.
When you have agreement, all work needs to abide by the notification. All the agreements should be maintained to ensure that a record of the granted permission is kept; a subsequent purchaser of the property may wish to develop that the work was performed in accordance with the Party Wall Act requirements.
Keep in mind:
- We have actually just given a brief overview of the Party Wall Act here as it impacts garden work but have a look at the Communities and Local Government website for a more detailed explanatory brochure including example letters for actions and notifications.
- Going over desired work with neighbours is complimentary and can avoid misconception which might develop if a notification gets here unexpectedly.
- Your local Structure Control Office may have the ability to give totally free suggestions regarding the Party Wall Act and how it applies to particular situations.
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