What works are covered by the Party Wall Act?
The 1996 Act applies to alterations, extensions, construction or excavation to, or near to, a wall or boundary shared by neighbouring properties. Even if you don’t share a wall with the adjacent property, excavation within 3 metres of a structure on their land is covered by the Act and will require notice.
How do I serve Notice?
Before any plans to cut into or build upon a party wall commence, a Party Wall Notice must be served by the property owner on the adjoining owner, who must give consent for the works to go ahead.
Notice has to be served between 2 months and a year in advance of your works. While you can legally do this without professional assistance, incorrect Notice will delay your building work and may invalidate a Party Wall Award once it is in place.
For this reason, it’s recommended that you seek the expertise of a Party Wall Surveyor so that you know your Notice has been properly served and won’t face legal repercussions down the line.
What is a Party Wall Award?
A Party Wall Award is the legal document that details the precise nature of the intended works and how they will be carried out. It will also set out the measures taken to safeguard the rights of the adjoining property owner and provide some protection to both parties from damage or claims.
The Party Wall Award (or Party Wall Agreement) must be drawn up by a specialist Party Wall Surveyor who can assist both parties in finding agreeable terms.
Do I need a Party Wall Survey?
As part of the Party Wall Award, the surveyor will usually carry out a Schedule of Condition on any area of the adjoining property that might be affected by the building work. This is a report detailing the current condition of walls using text and images, so that they can be returned to their original state upon completion of the work.
What happens if I receive a Party Wall Notice?
If you are served with a Party Wall Notice and agree to the proposed works, then you should give consent within 14 days. If you are uncertain about the project plans you should seek professional advice to help you decide the best course of action in regards to your property. You may choose to appoint a joint surveyor with your neighbour or appoint your own surveyor if you prefer. They will then draw up a Party Wall Award to ensure the work is carried out in a way that keeps both parties happy.