In this week’s property surveying blog post topic, we are going to be discussing party wall access, and in particular, party wall garden access.
Under the Party Wall Etc Act 1996, a building owner has the legal right of access onto an adjoining owner’s land, for the purpose of undertaking their construction works in a safe and sound manner.
In order to gain this legal right of access, the building owner must first serve a Party Wall Notice upon their neighbouring owner, known as the adjoining owner under the Act, with the adjoining owner ultimately being given the legal right of response to that notice.
While we will not discuss the adjoining owner’s notice response options in this blog post, we have indeed discussed it in a number of others, therefore, if you are unsure of this, we would advise taking a quick look on our property surveying blog page on our website, as that should help clarify.
Now, back to party wall access.- While the Act does indeed give the building owner the legal right of access, it also ensures that the adjoining owner’s rights are fully considered, well in advance of the construction works commencing.
This will commonly be in the form of, and via, a Party Wall Award which is also commonly referred to as a Party Wall Agreement. The Party Wall Award will set out the adjoining owner’s legal rights, and ultimately govern the building owner’s proposed works, ensuring they are the least amount of risk as possible.
When it comes to the garden access, this will be via a robust and well considered hoarding, or fenced area, and is usually no more than 1m in width from the location of the building owner’s proposed wall.
The ground to the adjoining owner’s property will usually be covered with foam board, polystyrene or thick heavy duty plastic sheeting, usually lapped over a couple of times, thereby ensuring that the pressure of the workmen standing on the garden, patio or decking area of the adjoining owner’s property, poses the least amount of risk as possible, ensuring there aren’t any scuffs or scratches to the property post work.
The hoarding will then be erected, ensuring that there is a screen between the building owner’s construction site, and the rest of the adjoining owner’s garden. The access will be restricted and controlled for a set period of time, usually a matter of weeks, thereby ensuring that the building owner is obligated to complete these works in the most time effective way possible.
Party wall access can often be frowned upon by an adjoining owner. Here at Stokemont, we would always advise taking it with a pinch of salt, as while it is a short term nuisance to your property, and ultimately the way you use your garden, in the long run, it will ensure that the finish of the building owner’s flank wall, which is ultimately what an adjoining owner will be looking at, is as neat and tidy as possible.
Party wall access is a hotly disputed topic of the Party Wall Etc Act 1996, with many owners having a very firm view on whether they would like to allow it or not.
We would always advise speaking to one of our qualified and experienced surveyors here at Stokemont well in advance of the proposed works taking place, as this will ensure you are fully aware of the facts surrounding the matter.
If you would like to discuss party wall surveying matters with us, give us a call today, and our team of qualified and experienced surveyors will be more than happy to assist you.