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A party wall notice is an official communication required by the Party Wall Act. It’s a way to inform your neighbors about your planned construction work that might affect shared walls or structures, ensuring everyone is aware and can follow legal procedures.
A party wall award, as outlined in the Party Wall Act, is a formal agreement that sets out the terms and conditions for construction work affecting party walls or shared boundaries. It’s a legally binding document created to ensure that the work is carried out smoothly and fairly, addressing any potential disputes and protecting the interests of all parties involved.
Schedule of Condition
A party wall schedule of condition is a detailed record of the current state of neighboring properties before construction begins. This document helps ensure that any changes or damage caused by the construction work can be accurately identified and attributed, preventing disputes and providing a clear reference for property conditions.
Types of Work Covered by the Party Wall Act
NEW BOUNDARY WALLS
The most typical new construction is the creation of a fresh wall up to the boundary, known as a 1(5) wall. It’s a common misconception that new walls need to be set back slightly from the boundary, but this isn’t necessary. As long as elements like roofs, gutters, and fascias don’t protrude, the wall can be built right up to the boundary without needing the neighbor’s approval.
Another type is a 1(2) wall, which is divided evenly along the boundary and requires the neighbor’s consent. This benefits the Building Owner with a slightly larger extension, while also providing the Adjoining Owner with a party wall they can use for their future extension – a feature not possible with a 1(5) wall.
WORK TO A PARTY WALL
Within Section 2 of the Act, 14 various types of work are outlined, with the majority fitting into just a handful of categories. Below are the most frequent types of work that relate to a party wall:
– 2(2)(a): Strengthening a party wall’s foundation, crucial for basement excavations and extensions requiring foundation reinforcement.
– 2(2)(b): Repairing, demolishing, and rebuilding a party wall where necessary.
– 2(2)(f): Creating openings in a party wall for steel beams, joist hangers, or waterproofing lead flashings in loft conversions and structural wall removal.
– 2(2)(g): Removing sections from a party wall, typically seen with chimney breasts or structural walls.
– 2(2)(l): Raising, demolishing, and rebuilding a garden party wall to accommodate an extension’s side wall.
– 2(2)(n): Exposing a party wall, considering proper weathering.
This segment of the Act pertains to excavations for foundations that are closer than 3 meters to a neighboring property and extend deeper than the existing foundations. Most of London’s housing consists of Victorian or 1930s structures, with foundations usually not surpassing 30cm. However, new foundations must be at least 1 meter deep to meet current Building Control standards.
This section can also be relevant for shallower pad foundations or cases where significant portions of land are lowered.
Party Wall Notices
Under the Party Wall Act, it’s vital for building owners to serve a Party Wall Notice before commencing construction on an existing party wall or near a boundary.
Notices are necessary when you:
- Build on or at the boundary of your properties
- Work on an existing party wall or party structure
- Excavate below and near to the foundation level of your neighbour’s building or structure
This proactive approach ensures that all parties are aware of the impending work and can plan accordingly.
Once a Party Wall Notice is served, a statutory notice period of two months begins. During this time, construction cannot commence unless your neighbour agrees to waive this period by mutual consent. Remember that the Notice is valid for only one year, so timing is crucial. Importantly, you don’t need planning permission before issuing a Party Wall Notice.
At Detailed Party Wall Surveyors, we encourage building owners to engage in open discussions with their neighbours even before serving a formal notice. By keeping neighbours informed and involved, you reduce the likelihood of them immediately appointing surveyors upon receiving the notice, which can save on surveyor’s fees and promote positive relationships.
Upon receiving the Party Wall Notice, your neighbour has 14 days to respond:
– Consent: Your neighbour can provide written consent, indicating their agreement for the work to proceed without surveyor involvement. We recommend conducting a detailed Schedule of Condition for your neighbour’s property before construction starts, ensuring clarity on the condition prior to the work.
– Dissent: If your neighbour disagrees with the proposed works, the Party Wall dispute resolution process begins. This may involve a mutually agreed-upon surveyor (Agreed Surveyor) or your neighbour’s surveyor (Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor) serving an Award to resolve the dispute. The fees for the Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor are generally borne by the building owner undertaking the project.
Types of Party Wall Notices
- Line of Junction Notice: This type of notice pertains to boundaries where no building currently exists. Use it when planning to build on or up to the boundary line between properties. It aims to achieve agreement on the type and position of the boundary wall.
- Party Structure Notice: Required for changes to existing party structures or party fence walls. This includes modifications such as removing chimney breasts or inserting beams in shared walls.
- Adjacent Excavation Notice (Section 6): This notice is essential when excavating near your neighbour’s building. It applies if you’re within 3 meters of their foundation and going below it, or within 6 meters and intersecting a 45-degree downward plane from their foundation’s bottom. Ensure the notice includes your excavation’s depth and detailed drawings illustrating its relative position to surrounding structures.
Detailed Party Wall Surveyors is committed to offering comprehensive support in understanding and complying with Party Wall Notices. Our friendly and professional team is dedicated to ensuring a smooth construction process while fostering strong neighbourly relations. Get in touch with us today to begin your construction journey the right way!
Party Wall Awards
A Party Wall Award is a vital legal document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of both the building owner initiating the construction (referred to as the ‘Building Owner’) and the legal owners of neighbouring or adjacent properties (defined as ‘Adjoining Owners’ under the Party Wall Act).
Party Wall Awards are meticulously crafted by party wall Surveyors or, in cases of agreement, by a single ‘Agreed’ Surveyor acting on behalf of both the Building Owner and the Adjoining Owner. This comprehensive document delineates the scope of works that fall under the Party Wall etc Act 1996. While these ‘party wall’ works might be part of a larger project, the Award focuses on their specifics. This includes the timing, method of execution, and can even incorporate visual aids like drawings and method statements.
Given the Building Owner’s obligation to rectify any damage caused by party wall works to the Adjoining Property, a schedule of condition is commonly included in the Award. This meticulous record captures the condition of the neighbouring property before any relevant construction begins. The schedule acts as a reference point, aiding in determining the extent of damage if it arises due to the party wall works.
An Award is a legally binding document, making it advisable to keep it in a secure location, ideally alongside the property’s Deeds. This way, it serves as a valuable source of information in the future, clarifying the scope of completed works and identifying the party that initiated them.
Sometimes, a Party Wall Award can be established retrospectively, especially if no formal Notice was served, yet works covered by the Party Wall etc Act 1996 were carried out. This situation might arise if neighbouring properties incurred damage due to these unnotified works. In such cases, a retrospective Award can help address the aftermath.
Detailed Party Wall Surveyors recommends keeping your finger on the pulse of Party Wall Awards. With a wealth of experience in the intricacies of party wall matters, we’re here to support you every step of the way. Our friendly and professional approach ensures you have a reliable partner to navigate the complex world of party walls. Contact us today to embark on your journey with clarity and assurance!
Party Wall Schedule of Condition
A Party Wall Schedule of Condition serves as a visual snapshot of the neighboring property at a specific moment. It involves a thorough inspection of walls, floors, ceiling surfaces, and often extends to visible parts of the external building envelope. In cases where a property boasts a garden, these areas might also be included. The scope of inspection varies based on the nature of the ‘notifiable’ works being undertaken. For instance, if party wall works encompass repairs to a roof parapet next door, an extensive examination might not cover the basement of a four-story building.
The Party Wall Surveyor, or surveyors involved, collaborate to define the scope of the schedule of condition. It’s usually unnecessary to rearrange furniture or lift carpets during the inspection process. This schedule captures the current condition of structural elements or property features on the date of inspection. Any identified defects, such as plaster surface cracking, are meticulously documented. In some cases, specialized tools like cameras may be utilized to explore chimney flues or drainage systems to assess their condition ahead of construction.
The Party Wall Schedule of Condition serves two key purposes:
- Reference Point for Damage: In the unfortunate event that building works lead to damage in a neighboring property, the schedule of condition acts as an invaluable reference point. It provides a clear benchmark to evaluate the extent of changes that may have occurred due to the construction.
- Protection Against Claims: Equally important, the schedule safeguards the initiator of the building works from unwarranted claims of damage from third parties. Having a comprehensive record helps prevent baseless allegations, promoting a fair and transparent process.
At Detailed Party Wall Surveyors, we recognize the crucial role that a Party Wall Schedule of Condition plays in preserving relationships and minimizing disputes. With our expert guidance, you can navigate the intricacies of party wall matters with confidence. Reach out to us today to embark on a journey marked by clarity, professionalism, and peace of mind.
Want to know more?
What is the Party Wall Act?
The Party Wall Act 1996 is a crucial law that provides a clear roadmap for managing construction projects that might impact party walls, boundary walls, and neighbouring properties. This Act ensures that when you plan construction work near these shared elements, you follow specific steps to notify and involve your neighbors in a cooperative and lawful manner. By doing so, the Act aims to prevent disputes and promote understanding among property owners, fostering a smoother building process and harmonious relationships between owners.
What is a Schedule of Condition?
A schedule of condition is a detailed record meticulously compiled before construction commences, capturing the existing state of neighbouring properties.
This thorough documentation proves invaluable in recognizing any damage that may occur due to construction. This practice ensures transparency, minimizes disputes, and upholds the principles of the Party Wall Act, fostering a smoother construction process for all parties involved.
What is a Party Wall?
A ‘party wall’ is a wall that straddles the boundary of land owned by two or more individuals. It serves multiple purposes: it might be an integral part of a building, a divider between two or more buildings, or even a ‘party fence wall’. An image of two houses with hands shaking symbolizes a party wall agreement.
A wall qualifies as a ‘party fence wall’ if it isn’t part of a building, but rather spans the boundary between different owners’ land, functioning as a separator. For instance, a masonry garden wall falls into this category, while wooden fences and hedges are not considered party fence walls.
Additionally, a wall can be deemed a party wall if it stands entirely on one owner’s land but is used by multiple owners to separate their respective buildings.
To summarise, a party wall is a shared element that plays a pivotal role in defining property boundaries and ensuring harmonious coexistence between neighbouring property owners. At Detailed Party Wall Surveyors, we specialize in navigating the technicalities of party walls to facilitate smooth agreements and resolutions.
What is a Party Wall Notice?
A crucial aspect of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is the issuance of notices that inform adjoining owners about impending construction work falling under the Act’s scope. These notices are vital for ensuring a transparent and respectful process between neighbors. At Detailed Party Wall Surveyors, we’re here to guide you through the intricacies of party wall notices, fostering cooperative resolutions.
- Party Structure Notice
Served under section 3 of the Act, Party Structure Notices encompass works outlined in section 2 (2) sub-sections (a) to (n). These alterations directly impact the party wall, including tasks like inserting beams, padstones, flashings, and removing chimney breasts.
– Notice Period: 2 months
– Information Required:
– Building owner’s name and address
– Nature and details of proposed work
– Start date of work
- Notice of Adjacent Excavation
Notices of Adjacent Excavation pertain to activities under section 6 of the Act, covering two excavation types:
– Excavating within 3 meters of the neighbor’s building below their foundations
– Excavating within 6 meters of the neighbor’s building, intersecting with a 45-degree angle plane drawn from their external wall’s bottom, often involving piled foundations.
These notices must include information akin to a Party Structure Notice and be accompanied by plans and sections depicting the excavation scope.
- Line of Junction Notice
Less common, Line of Junction Notices operate under section 1 of the Act and encompass:
– Building a new wall adjacent to a boundary
– Building a new wall astride a boundary
– Notice Period: 1 month
If the adjoining owner does not respond to a notice about a new wall by the boundary, work can start after the notice period. Building foundations can be placed under the adjoining owner’s land if necessary. For a new wall astride the boundary, the adjoining owner’s written response within 14 days is pivotal. If absent, the building owner builds entirely on their side of the boundary line.
Notices can be served personally or via post. In cases where the adjoining owner’s name is unknown, “The Owner” suffices, but personal delivery or conspicuous display on the premises is essential.
Navigating party wall notices can be complicated, but at Detailed Party Wall Surveyors, we’re adept at ensuring proper communication and understanding to foster a seamless process for all parties involved.
What is a Party Wall Award?
A party wall award is a formal and legally binding document that comes into play when there are disputes or disagreements between neighbors about construction work that affects party walls, boundary walls, or shared structures. This document is meticulously created by surveyors who have a deep understanding of the Act and its requirements.
The party wall award serves as a comprehensive agreement that outlines all the essential terms and conditions related to the proposed construction work. These terms cover a wide range of aspects, from the manner in which the work will be carried out to the specifics of addressing any potential disputes or damages that may arise during the construction process.
Crafting a party wall award involves careful consideration of both parties’ concerns and interests. It’s designed to protect the rights and well-being of all parties involved, ensuring that the construction project proceeds smoothly and that any potential conflicts are effectively addressed in advance. This legal document acts as a clear roadmap, promoting cooperation, understanding, and adherence to the prescribed procedures of the Party Wall Act.
In essence, a party wall award is a vital tool that contributes to a harmonious construction process. It’s a reflection of a collaborative effort between the involved parties and serves as a blueprint for successful construction work while upholding the principles of the Party Wall Act.
Do I need to serve a Party Wall Notice?
If you share a wall, boundary, or outbuilding with another household – a situation common among terraced, semi-detached, and even some detached houses – you’re dealing with a party wall. This also applies if you share a garden wall or an invisible boundary line with a neighbour.
If your building project impacts a party wall or involves excavation within 3 to 6 meters (depending on foundation depth) of your neighbour’s property, you must seek permission from the affected households at least 2 months before any construction begins.
To secure permission, you’re required to issue a ‘party wall notice’. If your neighbour responds with written agreement, you can proceed without needing a ‘party wall award’. At Detailed Party Wall Surveyors, we always recommend conducting a photographic survey of the neighbour’s property, even if they provide consent. This documentation is essential in case disputes arise due to structural damage.
However, if your neighbour objects to the notice, you’ll have to engage a party wall surveyor (or possibly two) to establish a ‘party wall agreement’ and attain the award.
For those mindful of expenses, collaborating with your neighbour(s) to appoint an agreed surveyor is advisable. While you, as the building owner, will bear the surveyor’s fees, this route generally proves more cost-effective. Further details on this approach can be found below.
In essence, serving a party wall notice is crucial when your project affects a shared wall or involves excavation near a neighbour’s property. It’s a regulatory step that ensures the interests of all parties involved are respected and any potential disputes are addressed preemptively.
When can building work start?
The timing for starting building work under the Party Wall Act hinges on the response from adjoining owners – whether they have consented or dissented to the proposed works.
- Consent from Adjoining Owners: If the neighbouring property owners have provided consent to the works, the notice often includes a clause allowing the building owner to commence the construction immediately.
- Dissent from Adjoining Owners: In the event of dissent, the building owner should wait until a party wall award is issued and the notice period has elapsed. For works falling under section 1 and 6, the notice period is 1 month, while section 2 works require a notice period of 2 months.
Should the award be served before the notice period’s expiry, the building owner can initiate the work prior to the notice period’s end only with written consent from the affected neighbour.
At Detailed Party Wall Surveyors, we guide you through the intricacies of the Party Wall Act, ensuring your building work adheres to legal requirements and maintains a harmonious relationship with adjoining property owners. Contact us today to navigate the process smoothly and compliantly.