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How To Avoid Party Wall Problems!

Jan 15, 2024

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Hello and welcome to today’s property surveying blog post, in today’s topic we are going to be taking a look at Party Wall Surveying procedures and how to avoid some of the common Party Wall problems that we here at Stokemont have encountered over the years.

Due to the nature of works that fall under the Party Wall etc Act 1996, problems are likely to occur. 

This was the very reasoning for the creation of the Act itself was to stop disputes and ensure that they were different avenues that neighbors were able to explore to resolve their disputes than through the courts.

Party Wall Surveyors

Such as the appointment of a Party Wall Surveyor who is going to take a look at the works from the perspective of the adjoining owner’s property and ensure that there are protections that are put in place to best prevent damage from the planned works.

One of the other common problems that we have seen over the years is around the time the Party Wall Notice would need to be served.

Party Wall Notices

Party Wall Notices do come with minimum times that they need to be served by:

Section 1 – A minimum of a 1 month’s notice be served before their planned works are to take place.

Section 2 – A minimum of a 2-month notice be served before there planned works are to take place.

Section 6 – A minimum of a 1 month’s notice be served before their planned works are to take place.

So you must consider your planning around the serving of the Party Wall Notice.

It is also important to consider that the Party Wall Notices are only valid for 12 months, so you must ensure that the works are to take place within that time frame.

Party Wall Notices must be drafted and served in a certain way and one of the common problems we see at Stokemont is Invalid Notices as they are missing details, which can go to cause you further delays to your planned works as the Notices would then need to be reserved.

Party Wall Notice Response Options

Once served the adjoining owner will be able to respond in one of 3 ways.

First being to consent to the works which will void the Party Wall etc Act 1996 and if a dispute was to arise then this would have to be dealt with by way of common law.

Dissent and appointing an agreed surveyor is the second response option that you have available to you, and if this response option was chosen then they would be one surveyor that would be acting on behalf of both parties.

The last response option is to dissent and appoint your own surveyor, so there would be a Party Wall Surveyor who would work on behalf of the building owner and one who would work on behalf of the adjoining owner. Each would work together to uphold and implement Party Wall surveying procedures.

A common problem from the perspective of the building owner is the adjoining owner not responding the way they want, many owners when it comes to their planned works assume that their neighbor is going to consent to their works, but from our experience over the years, this is rarely the case.

Most people understandably want to protect one of if not the most valuable assets that they will ever own, so they will more likely choose one of the dissenting options, so they can gain the full protections that are afforded to them through the Party Wall etc Act 1996.

Party Wall Access

Certain works will require access to be completed, especially when planned works are taking place along the line of junction, such as if there is a rear extension and the new flank wall of the extension is being built astride the line of junction.

If this was the case then you would have no room on your land to complete the pointing or render on the side of the wall that is on the adjoining owner’s side.

This is where problems can arise as people may not want to grant access, for a variety of reasons from not wanting contractors to bring in a mess or they just don’t want anyone on their land.

Under section 8 of the Act, access can be granted to complete the planned works, but it is not a given unless the access would be deemed necessary to complete the works.

So the adjoining owner would be able to withhold access if they where another way the works could be completed.

Thank you for reading today’s blog post, if you have any questions in regards to today’s blog post or any of the other services that we offer here at Stokemont then please feel free to get in touch today.

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