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5 Facts if you’ve been sent a Party Wall Notice

Aug 8, 2022

Hello and welcome to this week’s new addition to our blog post series on Party Wall Surveying. The aim of this blog post is to provide a little bit of advice to anyone who has recently received a party wall notice.

There are a few reasons why you may receive a party wall notice from your neighbour.

Firstly, it might be because they are planning on constructing a new wall up to or astride the boundary separating your properties. Commonly, this would form the flank wall of an extension.

It may also be because they are planning to do works directly to the party wall. For example, they may be planning on completing a loft conversion, removing a chimney breast, or other internal works.

Finally, it could be due to your neighbour planning on digging excavations within 3m of your property. Commonly, this would form the foundations of an extension.

If you have recently received a party wall notice it is important that you do not ignore this notification.

As an adjoining owner you are left with 3 response options to the notice.

The first option available is to consent to the works which will allow the neighbour to proceed with no further party wall procedures in place.

Alternatively, you can dissent to the works and appoint either and independent party wall surveyor or appoint an agreed surveyor who would act on behalf on both your property and the building owner who is undertaking the works property.

Initially, you will have a 14-day period to respond to the notice. However, if you do not respond within this period a further notice should be served upon you which provides you with a further 10 days to respond.

Although, if you have still not submitted a response after this period then the building owner who is undertaking the works has the right to appoint a party wall surveyor on your behalf who will then carry out an external Schedule of Condition and create the party wall agreement.

A key thing to note is that when a party notice has been served upon you, it is not possible to prevent the works from going ahead.

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is an enabling act and the purpose of it is to ensure that there is a procedure in place to allow the smooth progression of planned works whilst also offering protection to any neighbouring property.

If you have received a party wall notice it is beneficial to get in contact with an experienced party wall surveyor as soon as possible rather than leaving it until the last minute. 

If you speak with a party wall surveyor early on, they will be able to review the party wall notice which you have received, allowing them to greater understand the potential risks to your property.

It is important that you carefully select the party wall surveyor who represents you as ultimately this will ensure that your property is well protected against the neighbouring works.

It would not be recommended to go for the cheapest party wall surveyor available as in some cases this can become problematic for you.

When selecting a party wall surveyor be sure to see which bodies they are accredited by and if they are a member of the RICS. If the surveyor is a member of the RICS then you are likely to be in safe hands and they will be able to offer better protection to your property.

Furthermore, have a look into their recent reviews and research into their recent projects to see if they have left other adjoining owners satisfied.

A little known fact is that under the Act, anyone, and we do mean anyone, can refer to themselves as a party wall surveyor, we’d therefore advise being diligent on the selection of your surveyor.

Once you have progressed through the party wall procedures you will be provided with the party wall award. It is important that you read through this thoroughly so that you fully understand how the works should progress.

The party wall award sets out the methods that should be used by the contractor to protect your property.

When the works commence it is important that you keep a close eye on the works to ensure that the correct methods are being followed. If you believe the contractor is not following the guidelines set out by the award, then you should get in contact with your party wall surveyor who can then visit the site to ensure that they are followed.

Not only this, during the works you should also keep a close eye on your property in case there is any new damage.

In the result of damage taking place to your property you should contact your party wall surveyor who can then ensure that this does damage does not get worse.

Additionally, the party wall surveyor can then make arrangements for the building owner to make good the damage to your property.

If you are an adjoining owner who has recently received a party wall notice, please feel free to get in contact with our team of qualified and highly experienced team of party wall surveyors by clicking here.

We would be happy to offer you advice and if you would like to appoint us to act as your party wall surveyor, we would be delighted to take on that role!

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