A Party Wall Award, also commonly referred to as a Party Wall Agreement is the conclusive document that is produced by a party wall surveyor.
One of the most typical questions we find ourselves asked here at Stokemont, is what is a Party Wall Award? When it is applicable? And, if one is required?
In this blog post, we are going to be taking a closer look at these questions, and overall, what a Party Wall Award is.
What is a Party Wall Award?
As confirmed above, the Party Wall Award is the conclusive document as set out by the Party Wall Etc Act 1996.
(12) An award may determine—
(a) the right to execute any work;
(b) the time and manner of executing any work; and
(c) any other matter arising out of or incidental to the dispute including the costs of making the award; but any period appointed by the award for executing any work shall not unless otherwise agreed between the building owner and the adjoining owner begin to run until after the expiration of the period prescribed by this Act for service of the notice in respect of which the dispute arises or is deemed to have arisen.
A Party Wall Award will give the building owner the legal right to commence their planned works, while also setting out various legal provisions they need to adhere to during the course of those works.
What is the difference between a Party Wall Award and a Party Wall Agreement?
Commonly, the phraseology surrounding a Party Wall Award is the same as a Party Wall Agreement. What this means, is that the building owners and adjoining owners alike, even party wall surveyors for that matter, will often refer to the document as a Party Wall Award or Party Wall Agreement.
The two are one and the same and nothing more than different phrases relating to the same document.
Who can prepare a Party Wall Award?
A Party Wall Award is a legal document. It can only be prepared by party wall surveyors. Under the Party Wall Etc Act 1996, if indeed a building owner dissents to the Party Wall Notice, they will have the option of appointing their own party wall surveyor, known as the adjoining owner’s party wall surveyor. Alternatively, they can agree in the appointment of a single party wall surveyor acting on behalf of the adjoining owner and building owner. This party wall surveyor is often referred to as an Agreed Party Wall Surveyor.
Party Wall Awards cannot be prepared by building owners or adjoining owners, and are reserved for party wall surveyors.
What goes into a Party Wall Award?
A Party Wall Award will definitively set out a building owner’s right to undertake their planned works.
However, it will importantly, also set out terminology and wording that best protects the building owner’s property during the course of those works.
Typically, Party Wall Awards will contain:
- Schedule of Condition report, undertaken of the adjoining owner’s property pre-works.
- The party wall construction drawings.
- The agreed working hours for the planned works.
- The agreed working days for the planned works.
- Provisions to deal with damage should it arise.
- Provisions to deal with amendments or changes to planned works should they arise.
- Procedures and protocol to pursue dispute should it arise.
The Party Wall Award is the all important go-to document in the event of issue between the building owner and adjoining owner, or, the building owner’s party wall surveyor and adjoining owner’s party wall surveyor.
Who pays for a Party Wall Award?
As the Party Wall Award is in place to regularize the building owner’s planned works, from a legal perspective, it will be a building owner who, in reasonable circumstances, bears the reasonable cost of the drafting, agreement and signing of the Party Wall Award.
While the Party Wall Etc Act 1996 doesn’t definitively confirm that a building owner has to bear the costs of any party wall surveying procedures, in all cases that we have ever handled, it has always been the building owner who is liable for the professional fees surrounding the agreement of a Party Wall Award.
How much does a Party Wall Agreement cost?
This is a typical question that we find ourselves being asked here at Stokemont.
Party wall agreement costs will vary depending upon:
- Locations of the properties.
- The planned works taking place.
- Quality of information provided to the party wall surveyors.
- Project specific considerations.
Generally speaking, the building owner’s party wall surveying fees will be at a fixed/capped level. These fees having been presented at the start of the process, and usually in advance of the Party Wall Notice being served.
The adjoining owner’s party wall surveying fees are likely to be at a variable level, whereby they are made up of a combination of the party wall surveyor’s hourly rate, and the total amount of time they spend in agreeing the Party Wall Award.
If you would like to discuss party wall surveying fees in greater detail, we would advise getting in touch with our team of experienced and qualified party wall surveyors here at Stokemont and we can fully advise you from a project specific perspective to expect a budget for.
What happens if I don’t like the Party Wall Award?
From a legal perspective, the building owners and adjoining owners alike are not given the legal rights to review a Party Wall Award.
However, Party Wall Awards will be formally served upon both respective owners. Upon service, the building owner and adjoining owner will have the legal right to appeal the Party Wall Award in accordance with Section 10 (17) of the Act as follows:
Either of the parties to the dispute may, within the period of fourteen days beginning with the day on which an award made under this section is served on him, appeal to the county court against the award and the county court may—
(a) rescind the award or modify it in such manner as the court thinks fit; and
(b) make such order as to costs as the court thinks fit.
This effectively gives both owners the right to dispute the content within the award.
Will my party wall surveyor allow me to review the Party Wall Award?
No, as set out above, the Party Wall Award will not be shared with the owner’s upon agreement.
The premise behind this is that the party wall surveyor has been tasked by statute to resolve the dispute.
The dispute being resolved through the agreement of the Party Wall Award itself. Therefore, allowing owners to review the party wall agreement pre service, will prejudice Section 10(17) of the Act as set out above. Furthermore, it would make it near impossible for a party wall surveyor to impartially agree the Party Wall Award after an owner has reviewed and commented on it.
How long does a Party Wall Award take to agree?
This will very much depend on the works that are taking place. However, generally speaking, here at Stokemont, we would advise for your more straightforward projects, allowing 2-6 weeks. For your more complicated or complex projects, anywhere from 2-12 weeks.
Here at Stokemont, we are party wall specialists. If you would like to discuss your party wall surveying matters with our team of experienced and qualified party wall surveyors, please feel free to give us a call today or pop us an email. We will be more than happy to assist and advise you.