Party Wall

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Whether you’re the one undertaking the works (Building Owner) or the one who has received a Party Wall notice (Adjoining Owner) Our Chartered Surveyors are happy to assist. We offer our services throughout Kent, London, Essex, Surrey, Sussex and the surrounding areas.

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 is a framework that is aimed at facilitating notifiable works, protecting interests of all affected parties and to prevent or resolve disputes. Further information on the Party Wall etc Act 1996 and how we can support you in this regard can be found below.

Please watch the video below with a brief explanation of The Party Wall etc Act 1996.

Building Owner (Undertaking the Building Works)

If you are planning to undertake building works to the party wall, party structure or excavate within a close proximity of the neighbouring properties then you are considered to be a Building Owner under the definition of the Party Wall etc Act 1996. During the initial stage we can assist by studying your drawings, preparing, and serving any relevant Party Wall notices to all Adjoining Owners.

Based on the response given to the Party Wall notices, we can then progress matters by undertaking a Schedule of Condition on each affected Adjoining Owner’s property and if required prepare a Party Wall Award.

If you are a Building Owner and would like expert advice from one of our Chartered Surveyors and support in this regard, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Adjoining Owner ( Adjoining the Party Wall works)

If you have been served with Party Wall notices then you are an Adjoining Owner under the Party Wall etc act 1996.

We can act on your behalf as an Adjoining Owner Surveyor and assist with all matters, from explaining the process, acting as a main point of contact, conducting a Schedule of Condition of your property and assisting with the preparation of a Party Wall Award.

In the majority of cases Surveyors fees will be covered by the Building Owners who are undertaking the works so our appointment will not be at any cost to you.

Types of Notifiable Works

Below are some examples of the notifiable works which would normally fall within the remit of the Party Wall etc Act 1996:

  • Demolition, rebuilding or raising a shared party wall.
  • Cutting into the party wall, for example to insert structural beams or a damp proof course, typically for a loft conversion.
  • Cutting away projections from a party wall, including chimney breasts or chimney stacks. Typically to remove chimney breasts within the property.
  • To undertake works to the party structure between flats, including floors and ceilings.
  • Excavation works typically within 3 or 6 metres of the neighbouring foundations, subject to the proposed depth for the purposes of creating foundations. Typically for extensions and basement conversions.
  • Erecting or building a wall or a party fence wall up to or astride the boundary line between two or more properties.

Service of Party Wall Notices

Once the notices are served, the Adjoining Owners will then have a period of 14 days to respond to the notices by either:

  • Consenting to the works, subject to a Schedule of Condition.
  • Dissenting to the works and choose to use an Agreed Surveyor (an impartial Surveyor who will act on behalf of all parties).
  • Dissenting to the works and choose to appoint another surveyor (known as the Adjoining Owner Surveyor).
  • If no response is made within the elapsed time period, the neighbour is deemed to have dissented and entered a dispute. In this case, a Party Wall Surveyor will be appointed on their behalf by the other party under section 10 (4) of the Party Wall etc Act 1996.

Our Chartered Surveyors specialise in Party Wall matters and if you require any assistance in this matter please feel free to contact us.

Further Advice and Guidance

GOV.UK Party Wall Explanatory Booklet: The Party Wall etc Act 1996: explanatory booklet.

Party Wall Legislation: Party Wall etc. Act 1996.

RICS Consumer Guide: RICS Party Wall etc Act 1996 Guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Party Wall?

A Party Wall is a shared wall/s which run between the neighbouring properties.

What is a party structure?

A party structure is the shared structure located between flats, such as walls, floor and ceilings.

What do notifiable works mean?

Notifiable works are works which fall within the remit of the Party Wall etc Act 1996.

Who is a Building Owner under the Act?

A Building Owner is the person (s) who is proposing to undertake notifiable works.

Who is an Adjoining Owner under the Act?

An Adjoining Owner is any owner(s) who is likely to be affected by the notifiable works. This can be a Freeholder, Leaseholder or a long-term Tenant which holds 1 or more years interest in the property.

Can I dispute the Party Wall Award?

Once the Party Wall Award is issued, either party has a right to dispute this within 14 days of its service by applying to the County Court.

My neighbour is planning to undertake notifiable works, am I expected to pay for the professional fees?

Under most circumstances, the Building Owner will be responsible for all Party Wall related costs, including the Adjoining Owner Surveyor fees.

Can the construction works commence before the Party Wall Award is finalised?

The works which are notifiable under the Party Wall etc Act 1996 cannot be undertaken until a Party Wall Award has been prepared and served on all relevant parties.

Can my neighbour’s Contractor enter my property during the works?

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 does allow access for the Building Owner’s workforce onto the neighbouring property, provided there is no other way to complete these works from the Building Owner’s land. In order to do this, the Building Owner must serve a 14-day notice requesting entry however this can be reduced in an event of an emergency and subject to agreement.

My neighbours have commenced with building works without serving a notice, what can I do?

As a first course of action, it is prudent to contact the neighbour as they may not be aware of the Party Wall etc Act 1996. If the neighbour decides to proceed with the works despite the requirements under the Act, then you may wish to consider discussing your options with a Solicitor.

I have Planning permission and Building Control approval for the proposed works, do I still need to comply with the Party Wall etc Act 1996?

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 is a separate legislation from the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Building Act 1984. If the proposed works fall within the remit of the Party Wall etc Act 1996, then these will need to comply with this legislation in addition to the Planning consents and Building Control certification.

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