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Party Wall Agreement FAQ

Sep 15, 2022

Thank you, for clicking on today’s Property Surveying blog, in this week’s instalment of our surveying blogpost we are going to be looking at party wall surveying.

In particular, we are going to be looking at the specifics and definitions of a Party Wall Award.

A Party Wall Award, also commonly referred to in the general public as a Party Wall Agreement is the concluding document as per the procedures as set out by the Party Wall etc Act 1996.

The Party Wall Agreement itself is going to regularise the building owner’s planned works, and importantly give them the legal right to progress and undertake the works without any further formality or procedures as set out by the Party Wall etc Act 1996.

It is important to note that for a Party Wall Agreement to be in place, a number of scenarios need to have been adhered to prior to that point.

We are now going to take a brief look at these so that you are fully informed in that regard.

Party Wall Notice

To start with, in order for a Party Wall Award or Party Wall Agreement to be applicable, the Party Wall etc Act 1996 must be formally invoked.

Formally invoking the Party Wall etc Act 1996 comes by way of a building owner serving a Party Wall Notice upon an adjoining owner prior to the works commencing.

The Party Wall Notice will not only kick off the Act’s legal procedures, it will also give the building owner the legal right to dissent to that Notice, and appoint a party wall surveyor of their choosing.

Party Wall Surveyor

Once the adjoining owner has decided that they are going to dissent to the Party Wall Notice, at that stage they have then got to decide upon an appointment of a party wall surveyor.

The party wall surveyor’s role is going to be one of looking at the planned works from the perspective of the adjoining owner’s property, ensuring that the risks resulting and arising from those works are at their lowest possible point.

The party wall surveyor will achieve this through careful information review, and professional input.

It is important to note that a Party Wall Agreement can only exist if indeed a party wall surveyor, acting in their capacity as an agreed surveyor, or alternatively two respective party wall surveyors have agreed a Party Wall Award or Party Wall Agreement.

Party Wall Award/Agreement

As set out above, the concluding piece of the puzzle through the eyes of party wall surveying procedures, is the agreement of the Party Wall Award.  The Party Wall Award itself is going to set out a number of different provisions that the building owner’s contractors need to adhere to and honour during the course of the planned works.

Commonly, these provisions are going to be in place to reduce the risks to the adjoining owner’s property, and importantly ensure that they are best protected in the event of any issue of damage.

A Party Wall Award is the document that will be referred to and checked should there be any issues on site, predominantly because the majority Party Wall Awards will also include a Schedule of Condition Report.

Schedule of Condition Reports

As set out, the Party Wall Award will include the pre-works Schedule of Condition Report.

A Schedule of Condition Report will have been undertaken by the party wall surveyor, prior to the building owner’s works commencing, and will importantly ensure that there is a record of the adjoining owner’s property in place prior to the planned works having commenced.

This record will not only be in written format, however will also be photographic.

This is pivotal in the event of any damage allegation, as it will enable the party wall surveyor, adjoining owner and building owner to all definitively check the document to confirm if indeed the damage is new, rather than taking a standing on how likely the damage is down to the party wall element of the planned works.

Party wall surveying procedures are naturally going to be confusing.  Here at Stokemont we take great pride in helping assist and advise numerous clients and owners throughout England and Wales.

If you would like some advice about party wall surveying procedures, please feel free to give us a call today, and we will be more than happy to assist and advise you.  You can also pop us an email, and we will be happy to assist and advise that way.

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