Stephen Hawes MFPWS MCIOB CIHCM MCIArb AssocRICS MAPM MCABE C. Build E
What Party Wall Notice must I serve for my project?
What Party Wall Notice must I serve for my project?
We discussed in our previous blog some points to consider when planning is granted for your project, and you’re obliged to serve notice in accordance with the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, now we have established that your works are notifiable and discussed a path forward, what party wall notice must be served on your adjoining owner (s), and under what section of the act do your notifiable works fall.
Under the act you must serve notice if you are:
· Proposing a new building at the boundary line
· Proposals that affect the party wall or party wall structure of an adjoining property
· Proposing excavations at a depth lower than the adjoining owner’s existing foundations and within a notifiable distance of a structure on their land.
There are three types of party wall notice with respect to the works mentioned above within the jurisdiction of the party wall act.
Let’s start by looking at a Section 1 Line of Junction Notice:
The below snippet from the act itself tells us what works fall under section 1, construction and repair of walls at the boundary (line of junction); in layman’s terms, if you are proposing to build a new wall at the boundary line to facilitate a rear or side extension then you can build that flank wall wholly on your land, and up to (abutting) the boundary line, in this scenario, you will be required to serve a section 1 (5) notice on your adjoining owner (s) whom you share that boundary with. It is familiar with rear/side extension proposals that both the flank walls on either boundary will be positioned wholly on the land of the building owner, up to that boundary line, in this instance, you would have an obligation to serve notice under section 1 (5) of the act on adjoining owners you share a boundary with. (both neighbours)
This section of the act also allows for notice to be served under section 1 (2) for the building of a new wall sitting astride the boundary line, thus making it a new party wall. Once notice under section 1 (2) has been served on the adjoining owner (s), the proposed new party wall can only be built with consent from the adjoining owner. If consent has not been given for building a new party wall, then the building owner will have to revert to building his proposed wall wholly on their land and up to the boundary line as previously discussed and in line with section 1 (5). We recommend providing a drawing demonstrating the position of the proposed party wall with the section 1 (2) notice.
It should be noted If a section 1 (2) notice is served to propose the new flank wall being built astride the boundary line and no consent is received after 14 days, then the building owner will have consent) to build the flank wall wholly on their land and up to the boundary as described in section 1 (5) as the 1 (2) notice served without reply after 14 days would then default to consent for section 1 (5) works.
A section 1 notice carries a one-month notice period, and works may not commence until this notice period lapses or the adjoining owner (s) consent in writing that it may be waived.
Now let’s move on to notice served in accordance with section 3 (1) of the act for rights given to a building owner to complete works set out in section 2 of the party wall act. A Party Structure Notice.
These works include changes to an existing party wall structure or party fence wall. So, what is a party structure? Party structures divide the properties of different owners and include party walls also floors and ceilings between two flats within a shared structure, essentially a structure with a physical division between two properties in separate ownership. The below snippet from the act defines when section 2 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 applies…
Notifiable works under section 2 (2) require a section 3 (1) notice to be served as per the snippet from the act describes below…
Examples of works that must be notified within a section 3 notice and that fall under section 2 of the act are typical loft conversions, with notifiable elements such as inserting RSJ’s (steel beams) into a party wall under section 2 (2) (f), raising a party wall under section 2 (2) (a), exposing a party wall under section 2 (2) ( n), Inserting a flashing detail under 2 (2) (j), it is common to also remove the chimney breasts from the party wall or the half chimney stack which the party wall act allows for under sections 2 (2) (g).
There are also ground floor works covered within section 2 of the act, which include underpinning a party wall under section 2 (2) (a) or demolishing an existing party fence wall that sits astride the boundary line and rebuilding as a new party wall under 2 (2) (l).
There are further rights given to the building owner proposing works under this section which our chartered expert would be happy to talk you through if you would care to contact one of our offices for a free consultation.
A section 3 (1) party structure notice, unlike the one-month for section 1 and section 6 notices, carries a two-month notice period, and works may not commence until this notice period lapses or the adjoining owner (s) consent in writing that it may be waived.
Section 6 Adjacent Excavation Notice:
Now we move on to section 6 and excavations; we are often asked why excavations fall within the jurisdiction of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 when they do not involve the party wall. It is the ‘etc.’ within the act which covers excavations for foundations, and we will explain the ‘etc.’ in more depth within a future blog.
The snippet from section 6 of the act below describes what works fall under this section:
In layman’s terms Section 6 of the act applies when:
· Excavating within 3 metres of an adjoining owner’s structure and to a depth lower than their existing foundations under section 6 (1)
· Excavating within 6 metres of an adjoining owner’s structure, typical foundation methods such as piles or deep excavations for a basement project fall under section 6 (2).
Notice served under this section of the act carries a one-month notice period, unlike sections 1 and section 3 notices which we have already discussed. For a valid section 6 (1) or 6 (2) notice to be served, it must be accompanied by a foundation cross-section drawing demonstrating the proposed site and depth of the excavations; works may not commence until this notice period lapses or the adjoining owner (s) consent in writing that it may be waived.
Below is an example of a typical foundation cross-section drawing which can accompany a
section 6 (1) notice, trench fill mass concrete foundations tend to be most common on residential projects.
Consent or dissent to notice served
Upon service of notice in accordance with the act, your neighbours will have 14 days from the date of notice to respond. If no response is received once the 14 days have elapsed, a dispute is deemed to have arisen, and your party wall surveyor will then serve a final ten-day notice requesting that the adjoining owner either concur to their appointment as the jointly appointed agreed surveyor or appoint their own surveyor so the matter may be resolved by way of a party wall award.
The notice must be served on all adjoining owners, both freehold and leasehold, and owners can be identified via an investigation on the online land registry.
We would also allow an additional 24 to 48 hours for postage in addition to the 14-day notice period and 10-day notice period, respectively.
If notice is served and consent is received within the 14-day notice period, we would recommend that a schedule of condition survey visit be arranged to record the condition of the adjoining owner’s property before works commence. This is undertaken by a fully qualified chartered party wall surveyor providing a written report with supporting photographs that is a record of the property’s condition before the works commence and can be referred to if the works cause accidental damage. It is also a reference document to help avoid disputes or potential false claims of dilapidation.
There is, of course, the possibility that after the combined 14-day and 10-day notice periods lapse (a combined 24 days), a response may not be received with the adjoining owner’s being non-respondent. The act has a mechanism to allow the process to move forward and avoid delays to your work. Under section 10 (4) (b) of the party wall act, your surveyor may make an appointment of a second surveyor on behalf of the non-respondent owner; your surveyor may not appoint himself as the jointly appointed agreed surveyor in this scenario. In a later blog post, we will cover section 10 (4)(b) in more detail.
If you have any further questions having read this blog, please do not hesitate to call our office on 0208-945-5898 to speak with a chartered expert on party wall matters.