PARTY WALL AGREEMENTS
We act for either building or adjoining owners on projects as diverse as small residential extensions up to multi million pound commercial developments. For building owners we serve the appropriate notices under the Act, liaise with the adjoining owners’ surveyors, prepare the schedules of condition, prepare and agree the part wall awards and attend to any matters during the works and sign off the awards upon completion.
WHAT IS A PARTY WALL AWARD?
The process and requirements of a Party Wall Award are as set out in the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. A Party Wall Award is an agreement made between at least two neighbouring occupiers prior to the commencement of construction/building work which is to be undertaken to a party boundary or structure, or where works are being undertaken in close proximity to a party boundary or structure. There are three main types of work which require a Party Wall Surveyor to conduct a Party Wall Award and these are:
- Line of junction (building a new wall on or alongside a boundary)
- Party Structure Works (works to an existing party wall such as cutting into, rebuilding, thickening etc.)
- Adjacent Excavation (excavations to a lower level within either 3m or 6m of an existing building)
WHAT IS A PARTY WALL AGREEMENT?
Technically the same as above. A party wall agreement is, as it says on the tin, a legal agreement made between you and your neighbours regarding any building work occuring that affects either a shared wall, outbuilding, or boundary. Two months and before any work commences you need to serve notice to all legal owners of any building affected by your proposed build. If you have an architect, they’ll be able to notify you when/if this needs to happen. Under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, neighbours have 14 days to respond.
WHO PAYS FOR A PARTY WALL?
The surveyor (or surveyors) will decide who pays the fees for drawing up the party wall award and for checking that the work has been carried out in accordance with the award. Usually the building owner will pay all these costs.
HOW MUCH DOES A PARTY WALL SURVEYOR COST?
Surveyors and other companies will generally charge between £65-£100 to arrange a notice to be served on your behalf. Alternatively, you can draft your own using the Party Wall booklet. If you’re using McCallums, we’ll help advise on the best course of action.
WHEN DO YOU NEED A PARTY WALL?
If you wish to undertake any work on a wall that acts as a division between your property and the neighbour’s property, or you are constructing a new wall near or on the boundary between yours and your neighbour’s properties, then it might be necessary to give a party wall notice to your neighbour. Giving notice and getting permission from a neighbour is referred to as a party wall agreement.
There are different categories of notice depending on where the wall is, as follows:
- Line of junction notice in relation to a new wall on your land only
- Line of junction notice for when building a new wall entirely on your land but up to the boundary line
- Line of junction notice for a new wall astride the boundary
- Party structure notice in relation to existing walls
- Party wall issues can become quite complicated. To speed the agreement process up it is important to get legal help when selecting the right documents and to ensure that they go to the people concerned.
WHAT IS THE PARTY WALL ACT?
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 introduced a procedure for resolving disputes between owners of neighbouring properties, arising as a result of one owner’s intention to carry out works which would affect the party wall, involve the construction of a party wall or boundary wall at or adjacent the line of junction between the two properties or excavation within certain distances of a neighbour’s structure and to a lower depth than its foundations.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T SERVE A PARTY WALL NOTICE?
The benefit of the protection a Party Wall Notice is normally felt when your neighbour claims you have damaged their property. Up to that point things often progress without issue. A Party Wall Notice followed by a Party Wall Award (formal agreement) can be used as an effective means of arbitration between two parties which should avoid a head on confrontation. A matter of a few hundred can escalate into many thousands in court because an agreement couldn’t be reach between two ‘friends’.