When to Serve A Party Wall Notice

Oct 24, 2021

In this week’s property surveying blogpost topic our surveyors are going to be discussing Party Wall Notices and party wall procedures as a whole, and in particular when we would recommend serving a Party Wall Notice.

Party Wall Notices are required when a building owner is undertaking certain types of construction work to their property.

The Party Wall Notice is governed by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, and ultimately gives the adjoining owner a legal notification of the building owner’s works in advance of them commencing.

The timings, as set out by the party wall procedures, are that Party Wall Notices need to be served a minimum of one, or even two, months in advance of the proposed construction works commencing on site. 

For this reason, many owners tend to think that the Party Wall Notices should be served no earlier than two months in advance of the proposed works, however, our take on it here at Stokemont, is that the Party Wall Notices should be served at the earliest possible date, and in many cases this will be before the two-month statutory Notice period, as this ultimately ensures that if there is any issue surrounding the works, or procedures, that the eventual works are not delayed on site.

Upon receipt of a Party Wall Notice, an adjoining owner has three legal rights of response options, option 1 being that they consent to the works, this is the quickest option for the building owner, as ultimately they will not need to progress any further party wall surveying formalities, and will likely be free and within their legal rights to commence their work soon after they receive that response. 

Response option 2, is that the adjoining owner may respond with the appointment of their own party wall surveyor, with that party wall surveyor reviewing the works from the perspective of their property, and ultimately agreeing a Party Wall Award to best protect their appointing owner. 

Option 3, is that the adjoining owner responds with the appointment of a party wall surveyor, allowing that party wall surveyor to act also on behalf of the building owner.  This is known as having an agreed party wall surveyor, or agreed surveyor, and ultimately means that the surveyor will act impartially on behalf of both respective owners, progressing through the procedures to agree a Party Wall Award. 

Options 2 and 3, mean that a party wall surveyor will need to review the works from the perspective of the neighbouring owner’s property, and for this reason there can be a slight delay in getting party wall procedures underway, and an eventual Award agreed, as the surveyor goes through the various steps associated in agreeing the Party Wall Award. 

Here at Stokemont, we would advise getting Party Wall Notices served as soon as you possibly can, as ultimately that will reduce the likelihood of total delay to the works, and ensure that the party wall procedures and Party Wall Award have been agreed and served well in advance of the proposed construction works commencing.

Party wall procedures, while simple on the surface, can quickly lead to complication and complexity.

If you would like to discuss party wall surveying procedures with our team of party wall surveyors here at Stokemont, give us a call today and we will be more than happy to assist you.