The Party Wall etc Act 1996 gives rights to building owners to undertake certain works to their property whilst protecting the interests of anyone who might be affected by the works. The Act requires building owners to serve notice on their neighbours informing them of the proposals. This notice must set out the work that is to be done and when is it to commence. At least one months notice is required but for some work this is increased to two.
Notices are required for the following works:-
- work undertaken to a wall or structure separating two properties. (Party Structure Notice)
- the erection of a new structure up to the boundary between two properties. If it is desired to build astride the boundary a notice must be given but also the permission of the neighbour is required for the work to be carried out. (Line of Junction Notice)
- the formation of foundations or other excavations close to the neighbours buildings – within 3 metres if deeper than the neighbours foundations and within 6 metres in some other cases. (Notice of Adjacent Excavation)
The neighbour has the option to consent within 14 days but if he/she does not, a dispute under the Act occurs that must be settled by either a single Surveyor who is agreed by the parties or alternatively each party can appoint a Surveyor. The Surveyor(s) must consider the interests and rights of both owners and will issue a document known as an Award. If the work is solely for the benefit of the person undertaking it he/she will usually be responsible for all the reasonable costs of the Surveyor(s).
The Award sets out the work that is to be carried out, when and how the work is to be undertaken and includes measures necessary to protect the neighbour’s property. It will include a schedule of the current condition of the relevant part of the neighbour’s property taken before the work commences which will allow any damage that may result from the work to be properly assessed and made good. The Award will also allow access for the Surveyor(s) to inspect the work whilst it is being undertaken to ensure that the Award is being complied with.
Paul Grundy Surveying can assist throughout the process. We can advise Building Owners if the Party Wall Act 1996 applies to work they wish to undertake to their property and, if so, what notices need be served. We can also advise an Adjoining Owner about work that his neighbour wishes to undertake. There is no charge for initial advice given over the telephone. Either party or both parties may appoint us as their Party Wall Surveyor to ensure that the Act is complied with.
We are members of the Pyramus and Thisbe Club (www.partywalls.org.uk) the organisation for professionals specialising in party wall matters and have worked with the Act since its inception.
A more detailed explanation of the Party Wall etc. Act can be downloaded from the Dept for Communities and Local Government at: www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/partywall
The Party Wall etc. Act can be downloaded at: www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1996/Ukpga_19960040_en_1