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Free Template
Notice Forms:

Party Structure Notice

Three/Six Metre Notice

Line of Junction Notice

Acknowledgement
(Three/Six Metre Notice)

Acknowledgement
(Party Structure Notice)


Useful links:

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996

RICS Party Wall information

FAQs (Pyramus & Thisbe Club) Party Wall FAQ's from the Pyramus & Thisbe Club


The Party Wall etc. Act 1996: Explanatory Booklet
( 2.7mb PDF)

Party Wall Explanatory Booklet

Party Wall Enquiry Form

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SPECIALIST PARTY WALL ADVICE

PARTY WALL ETC. ACT 1996?

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 came into force throughout England and Wales on 1 July 1997 and provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes between owners of neighbouring properties in relation to work on or close to a party wall. [download PDF booklet]
Party Wall Issues

WHAT WORK IS COVERED BY THE PARTY WALL ETC. ACT 1996?

  • Work to existing party walls, such as demolition, re-building, underpinning, cutting into a party wall to support load bearing beams (for example during a loft conversion), reducing or increasing the height of the wall or inserting a damp proof course etc.
  • Work to some boundary walls, known as “party fence walls”
  • New building up to or astride the boundary line
  • Excavations and foundations within 3 metres and to a greater depth than the foundations of neighbours' property
  • Excavating foundations within 6 metres of an adjoining structure and below a 45° line drawn from the bottom of the foundations.


    NOTE: Minor work such as the insertion of rawl plugs, screw fixing wall units and shelving, inserting or renewing electrical sockets and re-plastering walls is generally not considered notifiable under the Act.

 


Quick links:

Party Wall Etc. Act 1996

What work is covered by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996

What is a notice?

What happens if I do not serve a notice?

Who should serve the notices?

Do I still need to serve notice if i have planning and building regulation approval?

What do I do if I receive a notice?

Appointment of surveyors

Am I protected against damage if I consent to the proposed works?

What is an award?

Is damage likely to occur?

Costs and expenses?

How much do surveyors charge?

Access rights

What do I do if my neighbour is about to start work and i haven’t yet received a notice?

Can the act be used to resolve a boundary dispute?

What else does the act cover?

 

WHAT IS A NOTICE?party wall issues

A Building Owner intending to carry out any of the above mentioned work has a strict legal obligation to serve written notice on any Adjoining Owner who may be affected by the proposed works.

When undertaking work to existing party or party fence walls, a “Party Structure Notice” is appropriate and two months written notice is required.

If building up to the boundary or carrying out excavation works, a “Line of Junction” or a “Three/Six Metre Notice” respectively, must be served at least one month prior to commencing work on site.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I DO NOT SERVE A NOTICE?

The service of a Notice is a legal requirement and failure to do so can lead to expensive delays and legal costs if the Adjoining Owners seek to stop your work through a Court Injunction or other legal remedy.

WHO SHOULD SERVE THE NOTICES?

There is nothing contained in the Act to prevent a Building Owner from serving a Notice, but any error contained in the Notice can render it invalid. Therefore to avoid unnecessary delays and costs, Building Owners and Adjoining Owners should seek advice from a Chartered Surveyor experienced in dealing with party wall matters.

DO I STILL NEED TO SERVE NOTICE IF I HAVE
PLANNING AND BUILDING REGULATION APPROVAL?

Yes. Such statutory approvals do not negate the requirements imposed on a Building Owner under the Party Wall etc Act 1996.

WHAT DO I DO IF I RECEIVE A NOTICE?

If you are an Adjoining Owner and you receive a notice under the Party Wall etc Act 1996, you will have 14 days to carefully consider how to safeguard your interests. If you do not respond or appoint a surveyor within this time period a further 10 day notice will be served, requesting that you do. When serving a notice, the following three options should be made available to an Adjoining Owner:

Consent to the Notice: If you are satisfied that there will be no damage or consequences to your property, then you may consent to the notice and your neighbour will be able to proceed with their proposed works forthwith. 

Dissent to the Notice and appoint your own surveyor: The two surveyors will prepare an award authorising the proposed works.

Dissent to the Notice and concur in the appointment of an Agreed Surveyor: If you are happy for a single surveyor to represent both parties’ interests, he/she will act impartially to draw up an Award.

Cracks in brick wallAPPOINTMENT OF SURVEYORS

If an Adjoining Owner dissents to the proposed works in writing, the preferred solution would be to appoint one surveyor (Agreed Surveyor) to draw up a Party Wall Award. This surveyor should ideally be a Chartered Surveyor experienced in party wall matters, must be independent and must not be involved in the design or specification of the works.

If the Adjoining and Building Owners cannot agree upon an Agreed Surveyor, then each side should appoint their own surveyor.

Excavating a trenchAM I PROTECTED AGAINST DAMAGE IF I CONSENT TO THE PROPOSED WORKS?

If an Adjoining Owner gives consent to works contained in a Notice, a Building Owner may proceed with his/her work forthwith. In consenting, although an Adjoining Owner would lose the benefit of having an award authorising the notifiable works, he/she is entitled to appoint a Surveyor, under Section 10 of the Act, to resolve a dispute in the event that any damage arises at a later date as a direct result of notifiable works. Adjoining Owners still retain their common law protection and rights, but attempting to recover damage through such a procedure can be costly and time consuming.

WHAT IS AN AWARD?

An Award is a legal binding document authorising the execution of building work pursuant to the Act, whilst at the same time safeguards Adjoining Owners’ property by:

1. Ensuring that all reasonable and necessary measures are
taken to protect their property from foreseeable damage.

2. Preventing unnecessary inconvenience.

3. Being compensated for any loss or damage
caused by notifiable works.


crack in wallIS DAMAGE LIKELY TO OCCUR?

There is always a potential risk that excavations will undermine the foundations of neighbouring buildings or that the insertion of steel beams into party walls may cause structural damage. Each case must be evaluated on its own individual merits and the Award sets out necessary measures to protect an Adjoining Owner’s property.  

In most cases the surveyor(s) will examine the proposed plans, check engineer’s calculations, make an initial assessment of the likely impact of the works and in some instances, request soil investigation reports.


Party Wall damage

An Award would normally include a schedule of condition of the Adjoining Owner's property, which is recorded prior to work commencing on site, and acts as a benchmark for determining whether any damage arises. It also provides reassurance to the Building Owner, insofar as eliminating potential spurious allegation claims of damage by an Adjoining Owner.


COSTS AND EXPENSES?

Costs incurred by an Adjoining Owner in appointing a surveyor to produce an award, are in most normal circumstances, the responsibility of a Building Owner undertaking the works. Ultimately it is the appointed surveyors that determine the responsibility and reasonableness of the adjoining owner’s costs, which may be awarded proportionately if the work being undertaken is to the benefit of both parties.

HOW MUCH DO SURVEYORS CHARGE?

Fees for party wall surveyors are extremely diverse. They can vary from between £750.00 plus VAT to £1,500.00 plus VAT for a typical Award. Most surveyors will quote an hourly rate until such time they have seen the proposals and have established the parameters involved.

We specialise in party wall work and we have very efficient systems in place, which enable us to offer fees that are normally below those of our competitors.

ACCESS RIGHTS

The Act allows access to Adjoining Owners land by Building Owners where reasonably required to facilitate the proposed works that are considered to be pursuant to the Act.

Party wall work WHAT DO I DO IF MY NEIGHBOUR IS ABOUT TO START WORK AND I HAVEN’T YET RECEIVED A NOTICE?

We would encourage Building Owners to at the very least openly discuss their proposals with their neighbours. Sometimes Building Owners are not aware of the Acts’ existence and therefore face to face discussions between both parties, from an early stage, can often prevent potential disputes at a later date.

If work does in fact proceed without any formal notification being received, an Adjoining Owner does have the right to apply to the court for an injunction to be served. This has the effect of ceasing work forthwith. This action is only recommended as a last case resort, as it can cost both owners thousands of pounds. It is therefore important that the procedures of the Act are correctly adhered to.   

CAN THE ACT BE USED TO RESOLVE A BOUNDARY DISPUTE?

No, but in many cases the Act will prevent disputes arising in the first place. 

WHAT ELSE DOES THE ACT COVER?

The Act comprises twenty two sections, which are very detailed. This site is intended to provide you with a brief guidance into the Act and is not an authoritative interpretation of the law. We offer free specialist advice regarding all party wall matters and we would be happy to discuss or answer any questions or queries that you may have.

 

Party Wall Enquiry Form

 


 

James Lewis BSc (Hons) MRICS | © 2011 James Lewis Surveyors Ltd.| Tel:01932 820 374 |Fax: 01932 821 671 | Email: info@jlewissurveyors.co.uk
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