What Types of Work Does the Party Wall etc Act 1996 Cover?
The Party Wall etc Act 1996 governs 3 particular types of construction work and covers all properties within England and Wales:
Works directly to a Party Wall, Party Structure (ceiling or floor) or Party Fence Wall (garden wall)
Excavations within 6 metres of any neighbouring structure
The construction of new walls built up to, or astride a boundary line
What are the Party Wall
Post Party Wall Notice Service and once the neighbouring owner has responded with a Party Wall Notice Dissent, the Party Wall Surveying Procedures will include:
The Party Wall Surveyor will review the property owner’s construction works from the perspective of the neighbouring owner’s property. The review will include, but is not limited to:
- Existing and Proposed Architectural Drawings
- Proposed Structural Drawings
- Structural Calculations
- Construction Method Statements
- Land Registry Title Deeds and Plans
- Any other information pertinent to the construction works taking place
Schedule of Condition Inspection & Report
During the Schedule of Condition Inspection, the Party Wall Surveyor will accommodate themselves with the lay of the land and ensure that they’ve taken all aspects of the property owner’s construction works and risk into account.
They will then proceed to record and document the full condition of the neighbouring owner’s property, ensuring they have a clear and thorough record in place pre-construction works. This record will form part of the Party Wall Award and provide the neighbouring owner with legal protection in the event of issue or damage.
Agreement of a Legal Party Wall Award
Once the Party Wall Surveyor has undertaken full review of the property owner’s construction works and considered all risk and procedural aspects of the work, he or she will then move onto the agreement of the Party Wall Award.
The Party Wall Award governs the property owner’s construction works. Common clauses and additions to the Award include:
- The scope of construction work
- Procedures to be implemented in the event of damage or issue
- Procedures to be implemented in the event of compensation
- Permitted working hours
- Construction method and requirements
- Protective measures during the course of the construction work
- Temporary access provisions and procedures
- Procedures to be implemented in the event of construction work variations
A Party Wall Award has the legal benefit of being more protective in terms of timing and cost when compared to a neighbouring owner’s common law rights.
Once the Party Wall Award is agreed and served, the property owner undertaking the construction works will be free to progress the works on site, subject to adhering to the Party Wall Award requirements.
Post Construction Work Inspection
Post Construction Work, the Party Wall Surveyor will undertake a further inspection and visit of the neighbouring owner’s property.
The inspection will enable the Party Wall Surveyor to check off the original Schedule of Condition Inspection & Report assessing if there has been any change to the condition, or damage resulting from the construction works.
If there has been issue or damage, the Party Wall Surveyor will then handle the damage and ensure it is repaired by the contractor, or ensure the neighbouring owner is compensated for the repair costs and loss.
Typical Party Wall Surveying Questions
Do I need to serve a Party Wall Notice?
Yes, it is a legal requirement.
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 requires the building owner to serve a Party Wall Notice upon the adjoining owner in advance of the proposed works commencing.
Can I serve the Party Wall Notice myself?
Yes, you have a legal right to serve the Party Wall Notice yourself, without the input of a Party Wall Surveyor.
We would advise Party Wall Notices are prepared by Party Wall Surveyors, it not only ensures legal validity is met, it can also avoid delay and issue further down the line in the event of invalidity.
Who pays for the Party Wall Surveying costs?
In all normal circumstances, it is the building owner who is responsible for the Party Wall Surveying costs.
These can include their Party Wall Surveyor’s costs and, depending on the adjoining owner’s response, an adjoining owner’s Party Wall Surveyor’s costs.
How long do the Party Wall Surveying procedures take?
Timings are very much variable and depend ultimately upon the Party Wall Notice response of the adjoining owner.
In the first instance, an adjoining owner has up to a full month to respond to the Party Wall Notices.
Once Party Wall Notice response is in, agreeing a Party Wall Award could take anywhere from 2 weeks to 8 weeks.
When should I serve a Party Wall Notice?
We would advise serving a Party Wall Notice as soon as possible.
Under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 Party Wall Notices need to be served a minimum of 1 or 2 months in advance of the proposed works commencing.
Our team of Surveyors are not only highly experienced but importantly they are also qualified.
We’re proud to confirm our Surveyors hold membership status and accreditation to some of the world’s leading professional governing bodies including; the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), The Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE), the Pyramus and Thisbe Club (P&T) and the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR).
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