Frequently asked questions

What is the Party Wall etc. Act 1996?


The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is legislation created to resolve construction-related disputes between a building owner who is proposing works and any adjoining owner's whose structure is adjacent to those works. It offers a clear dispute resolution mechanism for managing disputes should they arise thus avoiding lengthy and costly litigation between homeowners.




Are my works notifiable under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996?


Works notifiable under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 are either proposals that include works to a party wall, at the boundary line or excavations within three or six metres of an adjoining property and at a depth lower than the neighbouring properties existing foundations. Extensions, basements, loft conversions and chimney breasts removal are some of the common works carried out within the jurisdiction of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. Works such as fitting shelves, replastering,wallpapering and electrical rewiring are considered de minimis under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 thus meaning not sugnificant enough to be notifiable under the Act.




Should my neighbour serve noitce on me?


If your neighbour is proposing works which are notifibale under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 then the Act staes that valid notice must be servd on the adjoining owners.




What is a Party Wall Award/Agreement?


A Party Wall Award is a legally binding document, which sets out the rights and responsibilities of both the building owner and the adjoining owner during the course of the notifiable works.




Can I change my Party Wall surveyor?


Once a party wall surveyor has been appointed in writing usually by why of that surveyor's standard letter of appointment his appointment cannot be rescinded and he may only be removed from the process by deeming himself incapable of acting in writing.




Who is the Adjoining Owner in the Party Wall etc. Act 1996?


The Adjoining Owner is an owner or occupier of a building/structure adjoining that of a building owner who is proposing works notifiable under the Act. The Adjoining Owner can be a Freeholder or Leaseholder.




Will I have to pay for my neighbours surveyor?


Usually, the building owner being the party proposing works that will be to their benefit will pay the costs of the surveyors (s) involved in drafting the award and managing the party wall process from receiving appointment to final inspection. Although this is not stated in the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 so the surveyor (s) making the award can award the reasonable costs as he/they determine, there are cases where an adjoining owner may purposely obstruct the process and make many requests to the surveyors (s) to incur their time and increase the fee they think is payable by the building owner, in such a situation the party wall surveyors may determine to award part of their fee against the adjoining owner.




Who is the Building Owner in the Party Wall etc. Act 1996?


The building owner is the developer who owns the land where works are being proposed. This can be a Freeholder or Leaseholder.




Should I serve my own Party Wall Notice?


We would advise that you call Stephen Hawes & Co. Party Wall Surveyors before you serve your own notice. Serving your own invalid noitce can mean an invalid process.




Will Building Owner be responsible for damage to Adjoining Owner Property?


Prior to the notifiable works commencing the surveyor (s) will attend the adjoining owners' property to carry out a schedule of condition survey so there is a recorded condition of the adjoining owners' property prior to notifiable works commencing, if damage is reported that was not evident at the schedule of condition survey and that damage justifiably attributed to having been caused by the building owner's notifiable works then the surveyor (s) will award that damage in the adjoining owners favour and the building owner will either have his contractor make good this dmage at their expense or if the adjoining owner requests payment will be made in lieu so that the adjoining owner can appoint their own contractor to make good the damage.




Will the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 allow access?


The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 allows the building owner, his surveyor, agents or workmen access to the adjoining owners land or buildings when necessary to complete the notifiable works awarded in the Party Wall Ward which was served, but only for the notifiable works, this includes access required by the surveyor (s) as part of the process to resolve a dispute.
The Adjoining Owner must be given 14 days’ notice of the intention to exercise rights of entry and such notice must be given in writing in accordance with section 8 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.




Will my Surveyor be able to act for myself and my neighbour?


Yes, the adjoining owner can concur to the appointment of the building owners surveyor as the jointly appointed agreed surveyor the cost of which will be met by the building owner proposing the works. Alternatively, if the adjoining owner were to appoint their own surveyor prior to being served valid notice from the building owner, the building owner may request to share the services of the adjoining owner's party wall surveyor as the jointly appointed agreed surveyor, permission would need to be requested by the building owner and consent given in writing by the adjoining owner.




What is the role of the Party Wall Surveyor?


The surveyor or surveyors will settle any dispute that arises as a result of the notifiable works by making an award, usually prior to the notifiable works commencing a schedule of condition survey will also be undertaken of areas of the adjoining owner's property adjacent the notifiable works so to simplify matters in the instance that damage was to occur as a result of those notifiable works. The Party Wall Surveyor will also review the architectural plans and structural drawings so to identify any additional protective measures or supports that may be required.