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  • Writer's pictureStephen Hawes MFPWS MCIOB CIHCM MCIArb AssocRICS MAPM MCABE C. Build E

Is your neighbour proposing building works? Been Served a Party Wall Notice?

If you've received a party wall notice from a building owner proposing construction works that fall under the jurisdiction of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, it's crucial to understand how best to respond. As an adjoining owner, you have rights and obligations under the Act, and it's essential to exercise them responsibly. So, let’s consider the various options available to you in response to the notice and discuss the benefits of appointing an experienced party wall surveyor to represent your interests.


Understanding the Party Wall Notice:


The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is designed to resolve disputes relating to notifiable construction work that could affect your structure or rights during such works. The Act requires building owners to serve a party wall notice on adjoining owners, informing them of their intentions to carry out notifiable works. The notice typically outlines the proposed works, the start date, names of the owners, the notice period, and often structural drawings will accompany the served notice giving full transparency on the proposals proposed within the notice served. However, it is only a section 6 notice which legally requires a section drawing for the proposed excavations for foundations, in order for that notice to be valid.


Your Options in Response to the Notice:


Consent to the Notice: By providing written consent to the notice, you acknowledge your agreement to the proposed works. This option is suitable if you are satisfied with the project and have no concerns about its potential impact on your property. Keep in mind that giving consent does not absolve the building owner from their responsibilities under the Act. and this consent can change to a dissent in the event of a future dispute relating to the works mentioned in the notice served.


Dissent to the Notice: Dissenting to the party wall notice means you have reservations or objections to the proposed works. As an adjoining owner, you have the right to dissent within 14 days of receiving the notice. Dissenting instigates the mechanism of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 and thus the appointment of a party wall surveyor (s) to resolve the dispute would then be necessary.


The position on Dissenting:


Protection of your rights: Dissenting to the notice ensures that your interests and property are protected throughout the construction process. A party wall surveyor will advise you of your rights and responsibilities, ensuring that the building owner adheres to the provisions of the Act and that your concerns are adequately addressed and thus any dispute is determined by way of a Party Wall Award.


Expert advice and guidance: Appointing a party wall surveyor is a wise decision to navigate the complexities of the Party Wall etc. Act. 1996, as adjoining owners party wall surveyor we will provide you with expert advice, guidance, and support at every stage, from reviewing plans, sections, and calculations so to monitor the works' potential impact on your property, ensuring that all is in order and risks to your structure are minimized.


Avoidance of disputes and damage: Having a party wall surveyor involved helps resolve disputes and prevent damage to your property and avoid any future disputes. We will assess the building owner's plans, record a schedule of condition survey of your property prior to works commencing, and ensure that appropriate measures are taken to minimize any potential risks to your property during the construction process. If requested, we can also attend for a final inspection of your property, upon completion of the notifiable works.


Fair and impartial determination of disputes: In the event of a dispute between the building owner and the adjoining owner, a party wall surveyor acts in a quasi-judicial role to determine the dispute. Helping review structural drawings, undertaking a schedule of condition survey of your property, drafting a party wall award, and overseeing the proper implementation of clauses set out in the served party wall award.


How I Can Help as your Party Wall Surveyor:


As an experienced party wall surveyor and multi-chartered construction professional, I can assist and guide you throughout the entire process, ensuring your rights are protected and that the proposed works are carried out so to minimize the chance of impact on your property and infringement of your rights.


Here's how I can be of service:


Initial consultation: I will provide you with a thorough explanation of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, discuss your concerns, and assess the potential impact of the proposed works on your property.


Assessment and advice: I will review the building owner's structural drawings and calculations, identify any potential risks, and offer expert advice on protecting your interests and minimizing disruption to your most valuable asset.


Determination of disputes: If further disputes arise, I will act in a quasi-judicial role, impartially, facilitating constructive discussions with you and the building owner to reach a fair and impartial determination.


Preparation of party wall awards: I will prepare the necessary party wall awards, also known as party wall agreements. This is presented in a contract format but is a legal determination by the party wall surveyors (s) to resolve a dispute. These awards outline the rights and responsibilities of both parties, including the scope of the works, access rights, security, due diligence and liability in the event of damage occurring as a result of the notifiable works awarded in that award. It is crucial to have these awards in place to protect your structure and rights during construction works and ensure compliance with the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.


Ongoing monitoring and inspections: Throughout the construction process, I can, if reasonably necessary, conduct regular inspections to monitor the progress of the works and assess any potential impact on your property. This proactive approach helps identify and address issues promptly, minimizing any potential damage or disputes. Such inspections are limited to the notifiable works within the act and the served award’s jurisdiction and thus must be demonstrated as resonably necessary before they are undertaken, the costs of such inspections would be determined in accordance with section 10 of the Party Wall et. Act 1996.


Resolution of disputes and claims: In the unfortunate event of disputes or claims arising during or after the construction works, I will provide expert guidance and support to help you navigate through the process. I will assess the validity of the claims, between the parties involved, and strive for a fair determination,


My Final Word:

Receiving a party wall notice can be a significant event for adjoining owners, as it represents an opportunity to protect your rights and ensure that construction work adjacent to your structure proceeds smoothly. By understanding your options and the benefits of dissenting, you can make informed decisions and safeguard your interests.


Appointing a multi-chartered and experienced party wall surveyor, such as myself, is a wise choice when responding to a party wall notice. I will act as your appointed surveyor, providing expert advice, guidance, and support throughout the process. From reviewing structural drawings and specifications to the determination of disputes and serving of a party wall award I will ensure that your concerns are addressed and your property and rights are protected.


Remember, dissenting to a party wall notice is not about opposing the construction outright but rather ensuring that your rights are upheld and that any potential risks or impacts are mitigated. By taking an active role and engaging a party wall surveyor, you can navigate the complexities of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 with confidence and peace of mind.


If you have received a party wall notice or have any concerns regarding proposed construction works, feel free to contact Stephen Hawes & Co. as your local, friendly and experienced party wall surveyor.


Together, we can protect your interests and ensure a smooth process for all parties involved.

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