PARTY WALL ETC. ACT 1996 Glossary of terms:
Building Owner:- The person who owns the building where the works will be carried out. This can be the Freeholder or the Leaseholder.
Adjoining owner:- The Freeholder or Leaseholder of the adjoining property.
Adjoining Occupier:- This is the person or the Business who occupies the adjoining property but does not qualify as an adjoining owner.
Party Wall Surveyor:- This is the person who under the Party Wall Act is appointed by the Building Owner or Adjoining Owner to resolve any disputes between the owners relating to the Party Wall Act.
Line of Junction:- The meeting point of land or property that adjoins otherwise known as the Boundary, where the land or property is under different ownership.
Notice:- The communication from the Building Owner to the Adjoining Owner informing of the proposed works.
Schedule of Condition:- A record of the condition of the adjoining property or properties before the work commences. Photographs usually support the record.
Award:- An Award is a legal document under the Party Wall Act prepared by the Party Wall Surveyor.
PARTY WALL NOTICES:
The most frequent question we are asked is 'do I need a Party Wall Notice' ?
The following gives a breakdown of the most common scenarios where under the Party Wall Act etc.1996 you will be required to serve a Notice under the Act on your adjoining property owner or owners.
Building an Extension
Assuming the Extension is making the greatest use of the space available then it is very likely that the intention is to build on the Line of Junction between your own and a neighbouring property. The creation of Foundations will also very likely fall under the Act. Under these circumstance we strongly advise seeking professional advice. Notice under the Act required YESadvice
Loft Extensions typically require some form of bracing against the walls on both sides. This would require the consent of the neighbours on either side. Under these circumstances we strongly advise seeking professional Party Wall advice. Notice under the Act required YES.
Where it is intended to create Foundations or Excavate for whatever purpose and these Foundations or Excavations are within 3 metres (6 metres in certain circumstances) of any neighbouring building and are beneath the Foundation depth of any Wall owned by a neighbour. Under these circumstance we strongly advise seeking professional advice. Notice under the Act required YES.
Some Common Works to a Party Wall
Making an existing Party Wall higher. Common in Loft Conversions.
- Underpinning a Party Wall. Common in Basement Conversions.
- Carrying out repairs to a Party Wall.
- Constructing a New Party Wall. Common in building Extensions.
- Installing Steel Beams into a Party Wall. Common in Loft Conversions.
- Demolishing/Re-building a Party Wall. Common in cases of structural faults etc.
- Removing a Chimney Breast from a Party Wall.
- Cutting away projections from a Party Wall in order to construct a New Wall against the existing.
- Cutting into a Party Wall to install Flashings.
- Exposing a Party Wall to the weather where that Party Wall was previously enclosed.
The above list is by no means exhaustive and we strongly advise seeking professional advice before proceeding with any of the above or similar works where a neighbouring property is involved.
Schedule of Condition
A Schedule of Condition is carried out to the properties of Adjoining Owners. The Schedule will be a detailed written report backed up by photographs of Adjoining Rooms etc. Stephen Hawes & Co. strongly advise that a Schedule of Condition be prepared in all Party Wall cases.
Will Property Owners be responsible for damage to Adjoining Owners Property? Yes, providing that the damage was caused by the Party Wall works. A Schedule of Condition is essential in this respect in that pre-existing damage can be excluded.
Who decides on the cost of the damage? Compensation is payable under the Act. The Party Wall Surveyor(s) will decide of the level of costs.
Can I have access to my neighbours property to carry out work? The Party Wall Act permits access to an Adjoining Owners property during working hours. The access is granted only for the purpose of the notifiable work.
Will I have to give notice that access is required? Yes, the Party Wall Act stipulates that adequate notice be given to Adjoining Owners.
What access does the Act permit? The Party Wall Act permits access to undertake those works that can be shown to be absolutely necessary and are works covered under the Act.
Will my Surveyor be able to act for myself and my neighbour? Normally the answer is Yes. Most small projects within a domestic property can be handled by an 'agreed' surveyor.
What if my neighbour wants their own surveyor? Adjoining Owners are fully entitled under the Party Wall Act to appoint a surveyor to represent them.
Who pays if my neighbour wants their own surveyor? The Building Owner would normally pay the reasonable costs of the Adjoining Owners surveyor.
What if the two surveyors cannot agree? In the event of disagreement between the two surveyors a third surveyor is appointed to mediate.
Who pays for the third surveyor? The Building Owner would normally pay the costs of the third surveyor.
Can I remove my Party Wall surveyor? No, the appointment of a Party Wall surveyor is a 'statutory appointment.
Can I serve my own Party Wall Notice(s)? Yes, the Party Wall Act permits Building Owners to issue their own notices.
Should I serve my own Party Wall Notice?
We strongly advise that you call Stephen Hawes & Co 0203 974 2860 for advice before serving your own Party Wall Notice