Hello and welcome to today’s property surveying blog post, in which we are going to be discussing Party Wall Surveying matters. In today’s blog post, I am going to be looking into loft conversions, going over some of the typical problems and issues that may be associated with conducting a loft conversion.
If conducting a loft conversion on a terraced or semi-detached property, then this would fall under the Party Wall etc Act 1996 and so you would have a statutory duty to serve a Party Wall Notice before you were able to begin your planned works.
What is a Party Wall Notice?
A Party Wall Notice is a letter that is sent to your neighbors (adjoining owners) that will outline what planned works you intend to undertake and what sections of the Act the planned works fall under.
For the Party Wall Notices to be valid this would require certain information be contained within it, such as the name and contact details of the building owner.
Party Wall Notices will also generally be accompanied by drawings, which are mandatory for any planned works that fall under section 6.
Planned works for loft conversions will usually fall under section 2 of the Party Wall etc Act 1996 as this is the section that is connected with works along the party Wall.
Some of the common clauses that you are likely to include when serving a Party Wall Notice for a loft conversion are as followed:
- (a) to underpin, thicken or raise a party structure, a party fence wall, or an external wall that belongs to the building owner and is built against a party structure or party fence wall;
- (f) to cut into a party structure for any purpose (which may be or include the purpose of inserting a damp proof course);
- (g) to cut away from a party wall, party fence wall, external wall or boundary wall any footing or any projecting chimney breast, jamb or flue, or other projection on or over the land of the building owner in order to erect, raise or underpin any such wall or for any other purpose;
- (j) to cut into the wall of an adjoining owner’s building in order to insert a flashing or other weather-proofing of a wall erected against that wall;
- (k) to execute any other necessary works incidental to the connection of a party structure with the premises adjoining it;
- (n) to expose a party wall or party structure hitherto enclosed subject to providing adequate weathering.
When serving a Party Wall Notice under section 2, this would require that you serve a Notice a minimum of 2 months before the planned works were to take place.
Party Wall Notice Response Options
After serving the Party Wall Notice, the adjoining owners will have a total of 14 days to respond to the first Notice, if this isn’t responded to then a second Notice would need to be served, known as a 10(4) Notice, this would come with a total of a 12-day response time.
In terms of the adjoining owner’s ability to respond to a Party Wall Notice, they would have 3 distinct response options that would be available to them.
First being to consent, this is as it sounds, this would be the adjoining owners consenting to the works and this would be the end of the Party Wall Surveying procedures, if any dispute was to occur from this point it would then be handled by way of common law.
The second option is to dissent and appoint an agreed Party Wall Surveyor, so, in this case, there would be one surveyor who would act on behalf of both parties, where the surveyor would do their duty to uphold the at Act and implement all the necessary procedures.
The last option is to dissent and appoint your own Party Wall Surveyor, if this response option is chosen then this would mean that there would be individual Party Wall Surveyors for both the building owner and the adjoining owner, who would both work together to uphold the act and implement all the necessary procedures within accordance to the Act.
Party Wall Award
The Party Wall Award is the cumulation of the Party Wall Surveying procedures that will give the building owner the right to conduct their planned works, while also outlining the protections that will be put in place for the adjoining owner’s property.
Typically when it comes to a loft conversion this will include such clauses as but not limited to:
- Access for scaffolding or roof access and the duration of that access.
- Ensuring that all scaffolding has adequate weatherproofing.
- Any cutting into or away from the party walls has to be carried out using rotary disc cutters/grinders or un-powered hand tools to minimise the risk of percussive damage. Under no circumstances should powered percussion tools (Jack hammers or Kangos) be used on the Party Wall.
- Prior to commencing the works directly to the Party Wall or Party Structure, the contractor is to visit the adjoining owner’s property and cover all open vents and chimney breasts with HD polythene sheeting taped in place. In the event that access isn’t given to the contractor, he is to leave HD polythene sheeting and tape outside the adjoining owner’s property for the adjoining owner to install themselves.
Thank you for reading today’s blog post, if you have any questions in regard to today’s topic or any of the other services that we offer here at Stokemont, then please feel free to get in touch and we will be happy to assist and advise.