Party wall surveying can often be a complicated and confusing procedure and process for building owners and adjoining owners alike.
In this week’s instalment of our property surveying blog post, we are going to be looking at the conventional and typical processes that come into play when a building owner is undertaking construction works to their property. Those construction works falling within the realm of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
This blog is written from a typical perspective, and will look at the conventional procedural introductions that can come into play through the administration of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
Party Wall Notice Service
The first substantial step in the party wall surveying procedures is for the building owner to serve a Party Wall Notice upon their neighbour, the adjoining owner.
From a legal perspective, the Party Wall Notice will formally invoke the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
Once formally invoked, the statutory time frames and requirements have legally commenced.
In response to a Party Wall Notice, the adjoining owner will have the following options.
Party Wall Notice Consent
Consenting to the Party Wall Notice means that they are giving the building owner the legal right to progress the works without any further formality being followed.
Party Wall Notice Dissent, Agreed Surveyor Appointment
The second Party Wall Notice response option that an adjoining owner has at their disposal, is to dissent to the Party Wall Notice and appoint an agreed party wall surveyor.
An agreed party wall surveyor will act impartially for both building owner and adjoining owner.
The surveyor will administer the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 ensuring the necessary protections are in place.
Party Wall Notice Dissent, Two Surveyors
The third and final option that an adjoining owner has at their disposal upon receipt of a Party Wall Notice is to dissent and appoint their own party wall surveyor.
In doing this, they will be requiring the building owner to also appoint a party wall surveyor.
These two surveyors will then administer the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, agreeing a Party Wall Award.
Post Party Wall Notice, Schedule of Condition Report
The second substantial step in the party wall process is for the adjoining owner’s property to be recorded via a Schedule of Condition report.
A Schedule of Condition report is a robust and comprehensive record of the current and pre-works condition of the adjoining owner’s property.
The Schedule of Condition report ultimately ensures that there is a surveyor’s record in place, meaning that if there is any issue or damage caused, that surveyor is able to definitively confirm whether it is a result of the building owner’s construction works, or alternatively, whether it was a pre-existing property issue.
Schedule of Condition report will often be undertaken by the building owner’s party wall surveyor. Or alternatively by the agreed party wall surveyor.
Party Wall Award Agreement
The final stage in the party wall process is for the agreement of a Party Wall Award to occur.
A Party Wall Award, is also commonly referred to within the general public as a Party Wall Agreement.
For the avoidance of any doubt, we can confirm they are one and the same.
The Party Wall Award will ultimately regularise the building owner’s planned construction works, giving them the legal right to progress them.
Furthermore, the Party Wall Award will set out protective provisions above and beyond common law.
These protective provisions being in place to safeguard the adjoining owner and their property against any issue or damage.
Once the Party Wall Award has been served the building owner has the legal right to progress their planned construction works.
At this stage the party wall surveyor’s role will naturally be concluded, however, this is not to say that the party wall surveyor will not become re-involved.
Generally speaking, if there is some form of issue relating to the works, often being damage, at that stage the party wall surveyor’s duty will be to step in and formally resolve the dispute and issue at hand.
If you would like to discuss party wall surveying procedures with our team of experienced and qualified party wall surveyors here at Stokemont, please feel free to give us a call today, we will be more than happy to assist and advise you.