Party wall surveying procedures will naturally have statutory timeframes and adjoining owner response periods factored into them.
These timings can often be overlooked by a building owner who is planning on undertaking construction works to their property. Those construction works falling within the realm of the Party Wall Etc Act 1996.
In today’s property surveying blog post, here at Stokemont, we are going to be looking at this topic and hopefully giving building owners the all necessary advice to avoid pitfalls and delays.
Throughout the Party Wall Etc Act 1996 and procedures within it, there are a number of different timings that a building owner should be aware of.
Party Wall Notice Service
First and foremost, if the building owner is planning on using a property professional to serve their Party Wall Notice, this professional is likely to take a couple of days to not only prepare a party wall surveying quotation, they will also set up the file and undertake the necessary legal checks and downloads, review the construction drawings and ultimately prepare the Party Wall Notice.
One of the largest timing delays that can come through the service of a Party Wall Notice is the statutory notice periods.
It is impossible for a building owner to shorten or reduce these, as it is very much the statute’s way of ensuring an adjoining owner is given the necessary opportunity to not only review the Party Wall Notice, however ultimately making an informed response decision.
Statutory notice periods are as follows:
The first statutory notice period a building owner should be well abreast of is the 14 days statutory notice period.
It comes into play when a building owner serves the Party Wall Notice on the adjoining owner. The adjoining owner will have 14 calendar days to respond to that initial Party Wall Notice.
The second statutory notice period that the building owner should be well abreast of is the timings that come into play if an adjoining owner hasn’t responded to the first Party Wall Notice served.
In this scenario, the building owner will need to serve a further and follow on Party Wall Notice upon the adjoining owner.
That follow on notice gives the adjoining owner a further 10 calendar days to review and respond to the Party Wall Notice.
The aim of the follow on notice, formally referred to as a Section 10 (4) Notice, is to give the adjoining owner a final prompt or reminder, of the need to respond.
In both of the scenarios mentioned above, case law also sets out that building owners must allow an adjoining owner an additional 2 calendar days upon each notice served. These 2 calendar days allow for postage delays, usually taking into account that the majority of first class post will be received the following day, or more realistically, the day after that.
The statutory notice periods can significantly delay a building owner’s planned works. All the more important that they are well abreast of them.
Party Wall Notice Response
If a building owner has served a Party Wall Notice upon an adjoining owner, the adjoining owner has the legal right to consent to that Party Wall Notice, or to dissent. If they consent, the building owner will, in theory, be able to commence and progress their planned construction works.
However, if the adjoining owner dissents to the Party Wall Notice, the building owner will then need to administer the necessary party wall surveying procedures. We have a number of blog posts that go into detail and depth on party wall surveying procedures, and we would suggest having a look on our property surveying blog page to fully accommodate yourself with these.
In short, Party Wall Notice surveying procedures are likely to take anywhere from two weeks up to sixteen weeks. The timing is all dependent upon the complexity of the works, speed at which the party wall surveyors administer the Act and ultimately the adjoining owner’s availability for access.
Statutory Notice Timings
A little known fact of the Party Wall Notices is that they both carry with them statutory notice timings. In short, this means that even if you do get a Party Wall Notice response from your neighbour promptly, they can still request and insist that the statutory notice timings set out within the Party Wall Etc Act 1996 are adhered to and upheld.
Statutory notice timings will mean that the earliest start date that a building owner is legally permitted to commence their works will be either one month, or two months, after the notice has been served upon the adjoining owner.
One month notice periods tend to cover excavation works.
Two month notice works tend to cover all other forms of party wall works, including building new walls, works directly to a party wall, works directly to a party structure (floor or ceiling of flat), or works to a party fence wall (garden wall).
Stokemont Party Wall Advice
Overall, while we will always try and give building owners firm estimates of the likely timings the party wall surveying procedures can take, it is always going to be an estimate.
It is very difficult to ever give accurate timings when it comes to Party Wall Notice procedures. Mainly because the timings are very much in the hands of the adjoining owner. Equally, if the adjoining owner dissents, the timings will very much be in the hands of the adjoining owner’s surveyor.
Here at Stokemont, we ensure that we nudge and push along any party wall surveying file we are handling. This is made up of a number of reminder emails, automated diary entries, jolting our party wall surveyors to take action.
We find that this not only helps keep the ball rolling in the right direction, however, hopefully keeps that ball rolling relatively swiftly.
If you would like to discuss party wall surveying matters with our team of experienced and qualified party wall surveyors here at Stokemont, please feel free to get in touch with us today. We will be more than happy to assist and advise you.