The Party Wall Act 1996 covers works that are to be carried out to an existing party wall, being a wall on or adjacent to a boundary, or a floor that separates a building between owners, e.g. in flats.
The Act also applies to new buildings and extensions to be built on or adjacent to a boundary between two sites or where excavations on one site are within 3m or 6m of a neighbourâ€™s property. Unfortunately, the Act is complex; hence the need in most situations to appoint a Party Wall Surveyor, such as ourselves, whether for the Building Owner, for whom the work is being undertaken, or the adjoining Owner. In simple cases where there is agreement in writing between neighbours to the works, there is no need for a Party Wall Surveyor to be appointed by either party.
If you intend to carry out works to a party wall, a party structure, i.e. a floor between two flats, on a boundary or indeed excavate on your site within 3m or 6m of your neighbourâ€™s property, you must inform all adjoining owners. We can issue notices on your behalf to ensure the notices are correctly worded and sent to the appropriate neighbour.
An adjoining owner is also someone who has a lease on a building for more than twelve months! If you intend to carry out work you should give adjoining owners two monthsâ€™ notice in writing as the Act says that the Building Owner is responsible for making good any damage the works cause to an Adjoining Ownerâ€™s building.
If you receive a notice you can consent in writing, dissent in writing or even do nothing, although the latter course of action is seldom advisable, as the Building Owner can appoint a Surveyor on your behalf! If you dissent then you can appoint a Party Wall Surveyor such as us, the reasonable cost of both surveyors being paid by the Building Owner.
We will agree a Party Wall Award which sets out how and when the work may be carried out and contains a schedule of conditions of your property. We belong to The Pyramus and Thisbe Club, the pre-eminent party wall surveyors organisation for those who specialise in Party Wall matters and whose site may be accessed via www.partywalls.org.co.uk.
We also have members of The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors, the only professional body that specialises in the Act. Their website is www.fpws.org.uk. We also act as the Third Surveyor to resolve matters between surveyors and to assist parties when matters come to a level of dispute that injunctions are sought or legal proceedings are taken.
Do not delay in the appointment of a Party Wall Surveyor whether as the Building Owner or Adjoining Owner, contact one of our surveyors now.