What is a Party Wall?
By definition, a Party Wall is a wall that stands along the boundary of land within at least two different ownerships. There are several kinds of structure that may constitute a party wall. Examples include shared walls between terraced and semi-detached houses and walls that run between two gardens at the boundary. A wall standing wholly on land within a single ownership but used by at least two owners to separate their properties will also fall under the Party Wall Act. Examples include where a neighbouring structure abuts a wall that is within the other neighbour’s ownership. The section of the wall that is enclosed by the lean-to is classed as a party wall.
Why do I need a Party Wall Notice?
Whatever the reason, by not serving a party wall notice to your neighbour, they are fully entitled to take you to court for any infractions or damage caused. Your defence is weakened by lack of party wall notice and award, with the possibilities of the legal fees falling on your lap. The benefits of serving a party wall notice and receiving a party wall award include:
- Being an effective form of arbitration between yourself and neighbour to prevent any direct confrontations,
- Although you may be happy to pay for any damages caused to your neighbour’s property, a party wall award protects you from any additional or false claims,
- Once the notice is served and award provided, your neighbour can’t prevent you from any planned/agreed work,
- The cost of notices and awards are much less than the possible thousands pf pounds in legal costs.
When will I need a Party Wall agreement?
If your property needs underpinning under the party wall, building foundations in proximity or/and if the party wall is used as a structural part of your new construction, it is very likely that Party Wall agreements will be required. Party wall agreement is necessary for almost all types of loft conversion and house extension projects. Some other common cases a party all agreement is needed are:
- Inserting damp proofing,
- Changing party wall’s thickness or height,
- Cutting into the wall to take the bearing of a beam (for example for a loft conversion),
- Demolishing and rebuilding it,
- Cutting off projections (for example, removing a chimney breast)
- Making repairs to the wall.
How Does It Work?
When a Party Wall Agreement is necessary, the first stage is submitting a formal notice with a description and set of structural drawings of the construction work that is being proposed to the relevant neighbours. The neighbours then can review the paperwork and either consent to the works or dissent. It is more common than not for a neighbour to dissent and appoint their own party wall surveyor. Under the Party Wall Act, the person proposing the construction works is also liable for the neighbour’s party wall surveyors’ fees. The party wall surveyors will then draw up a schedule of condition of the two properties and agree any special conditions or payments that may be required to obtain consent to the building works.
How Long does it take?
A homeowner is obliged to give a two months’ written notice on building works which affect a party wall or boundary, or a one month’s notice for excavations. Once notice has been served, the homeowner has up to a year to start work.
Why use our Party Wall Surveyors?
Our Party Wall Surveyors team has extensive experience dealing with Party Wall Agreements and can efficiently manage the entire process from start to finish. They can deal with domestic Party Wall Agreements for extensions and loft conversions, as well as, large residential developments with multiple Party Wall Agreements required.
- Prepare and issue Party Wall Notice – £90.00+vat each
- Carry out the schedule of condition to adjoining property – £620.00+vat each
- Negotiate and issue the formal Party Wall Award – £480.00+vat each