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 carried out to a party limit or structure, or where works are being undertaken in close proximity to a party boundary or structure. There are 3 primary types of work which require a Party Wall Surveyor to perform a Party Wall Award and these are:
- Line of junction (developing a brand-new wall on or together with a limit).
- Party Structure Works (works to an existing party wall such as cutting into, rebuilding, thickening and so on).
- Nearby Excavation (excavations to a lower level within either 3m or 6m of an existing structure).
In London and across the UK, our knowledgeable business structure property surveyors perform a series of professional surveying services consisting of Party Wall Studies (Party Wall Awards). At Commercial Building Surveyors we perform Party Wall Surveys by professional and experienced 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 think that the 1996 Party Wall Act does not affect garden building and construction, nevertheless it does affect the building and construction of limit walls even if not part of buildings and can also 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 an appropriate 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 Permission for any work undertaken. Similarly, having Preparation Permission does not negate the requirements under the Party Wall Act.
The Party Wall Act enters into effect if someone is preparing to do work on a pertinent structure, for the purposes of the Act ‘party wall’ does not simply mean the wall in between 2 semi-detached residential or commercial 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 however is not part of any structure.
- Excavation close to a neighbouring home.
For information of how the Party Wall Act impacts building work in basic, have a look at this page.
As with all work impacting neighbours, it is constantly better to reach a friendly arrangement instead of turn to any law. Even where the work needs a notification to be served, it is much better to informally discuss the desired work, consider the neighbours comments, and change your strategies (if proper) prior to serving the notice.
What garden work needs a notification and approval.
The general principle of the Party Wall Act is that all work which may have an effect upon the structural strength or support function of the party wall or may cause damage to the neighbouring side of the wall must be notified. If in doubt, guidance should be sought from a local Structure Control Office or professional surveyor/architect.
Work in the garden covered by the Party Wall Act consist of:
- To demolish 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 structure.
- 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 foundations of the neighbouring building.
If the planned work on a boundary wall falls under the Party Wall Act, a notice needs to be issued to all impacted neighbouring parties. The notice needs to consist of (see sample letters in Part 5 of the Party Wall brochure):.
- The owners of the home carrying out the work.
- The address of the residential or commercial property.
- A complete description of the proposed work (this will usually be simply a single sentence laying out 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 and so on
If the planned work is a brand-new border wall as much as or astride the limit line the procedure of serving a notification under the Party Wall Act is as follows:.
- The person planning 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 offering information of the work to be carried out.
- Each neighbouring party must react in writing providing consent or signing up dissent – if a neighbouring party not does anything within 14 days of getting the notification, the impact is to put the notification into conflict. However no formal contract is required for a wall approximately the limit line, the neighbour simply needs not to object in writing.
- No work may commence on a wall astride the boundary line up until all neighbouring celebrations have concurred in writing to the notice (or a modified notice).
See below regarding what happens in case of a dispute/objection.
If the planned work is an excavation within the distance/depth covered by the Party Wall Act, the notification requires to be served at least one month prior to the prepared start day of the work. Neighbouring celebrations must give written arrangement within 14 days or a dispute is considered to have actually happened.
See below concerning what happens in the event of a dispute/objection.
If a dispute occurs, what happens.
If arrangement can not be reached in between neighbouring celebrations, the process is as follows:.
- A Property surveyor or Surveyors is/are appointed to figure out a neutral and reasonable Award, either:.
- A single ‘Agreed Surveyor’ (somebody appropriate to all celebrations).
- Each party designates their own Property surveyor to represent the private parties.
The person who is performing the work will normally have to pay all the expenses of the Surveyors, the only exception being if the neighbour calls out a Surveyor needlessly – in the viewpoint of the Property surveyor. Nevertheless it must be kept in mind that any Surveyor should act within their statutory responsibilities and propose a reasonable and neutral Award.
- A single ‘Agreed Surveyor’ (somebody appropriate to all celebrations).
- The Agreed Property surveyor, or the individual Surveyors collectively, will produce an Award which needs to be fair and objective to all celebrations.
- When an Award has been made, all celebrations have 14 days to appeal to a County Court versus the Award.
Once you have arrangement.
As soon as you have contract, all work must comply with the notice. All the arrangements should be retained to make sure that a record of the granted permission is kept; a subsequent buyer of the home may want to develop that the work was performed in accordance with the Party Wall Act requirements.
- We’ve just offered a quick outline of the Party Wall Act here as it impacts garden work but take a look at the Neighborhoods and Local Government website for a more thorough explanatory brochure consisting of example letters for notifications and reactions.
- If a notice shows up all of a sudden, talking about designated work with neighbours is complimentary and can avoid misconception which may develop.
- Your local Building Control Office might be able to give complimentary guidance regarding the Party Wall Act and how it applies to particular circumstances.
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