Does the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 affect me?

DO YOU INTEND TO CARRY OUT WORK WHICH INVOLVES:

  • Work on an existing wall, ceiling or floor structure shared with another property?
  • Building on or at the boundary with another property?
  • Excavating near a neighbouring building or structure?

If so you must find out whether the work falls within the scope of the Act. If it does you must serve the statutory notice on all those defined in the Act as ‘adjoining owners’.  

Determining if a particular building project is within the scope of the Act is often more complex than simply checking the general criteria stated above.

Failure to correctly identify the status of your project  could result in the building works being unlawful. If you are in any doubt you should always seek professional advice.

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Party Wall Act Surveys & Agreements

Alpine Surveys are experts with regards to Party Wall Act Surveys and the Party Wall Act, and are also members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors. With over 30 years surveying and building experience, we are here to support you through what can be a problematic process

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0330 333 9238

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PARTY WALL ACT SURVEYS

Party Wall Act Surveys Carried Out By Alpine Surveys

  • Members of the RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) and MFPWS (Member of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors).
  • Offices throughout the South of England including Greater London, with qualified Surveyors nearby. 
  • We are totally independent of all building contractors.
  • Over 30+ years of surveying experience.
  • Both Domestic and Commercial properties assessed and surveyed.

Alpine Surveys are experts with regards to Party Wall Act Surveys and the Party Wall Act. We are here to support you through what can be a problematic process.

Our qualified Party Wall Surveyors support both the property owner where the works will be undertaken, and / or the adjacent owner(s).

With offices throughout the South of England including Greater London, we have Party Wall Surveyors ready to assist nearby.

Our Party Wall Surveyors will in effect control and monitor the process for you.

This includes undertaking the required Building Condition Survey(s), producing the detailed report, in order that a complete condition record of the property(s) is obtained prior too commencing with the proposed works.

We will serve the required notices, and liaise with any other Surveyors that are involved.

The first step is to give us a call on 0330 333 9238 to discuss the proposed building project.

We will assess the proposed plans, and fully ascertain who is affected by the works, and who should be notified.

In short we will walk you through the whole process, ensuring that the Party Wall Act is fulfilled correctly, and in turn all parties are covered.

WHAT DOES THE PARTY WALL ACT COVER?

The Act covers:

  • New building on or at the boundary of 2 properties
  • Work to an existing party wall or party structure
  • Excavation near to and below the foundation level of neighbouring buildings

This may include:

  • Building a new wall on or at the boundary of 2 properties
  • Cutting into a party wall
  • Making a party wall taller, shorter or deeper
  • Removing chimney breasts from a party wall
  • Knocking down and rebuilding a party wall
  • Digging below the foundation level of a neighbour’s property

Outstanding Service

Outstanding service from the very first phone call to the completion of the service. The support team behind the phone were informative and helpful, addressing all questions about the service, which was exceeded by the expert who surveyed the house.

The expert was very pleasant, supportive and tried to accommodate any concerns or specific problems. Alpine Surveys really aim to deliver an excellent service and outcomes. Thank you!!

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The Party Wall Act: FAQ

The Party Wall Act

THE PARTY WALL ACT 1996

The Party Wall Act 1996 is preserved in English law and enforces a legal requirement on homeowners who plan to modify their home in a way that could affect a boundary or wall which is shared with adjoining neighbours – this is known as a Party Wall. These requirements will apply to all residential and commercial properties where extensions, or new building work is propositioned that may have the possibility to affect a shared boundary.

Do I Require A Party Wall Agreement?

Would I Require A Party Wall Agreement?

If you are planning to cut into or construct on the party wall, or building or if you are excavating, a Party Wall Notice will have to be served on the owner of the adjoining building, and consent must be received for these works prior to commencement.

Most often the Party Wall Surveyors would need to be informed to act for the building owner and/or for the adjoining building owner/s with regards to any works on or near a boundary. As the owner who would like to commence building works, you may face issues not just with the Party Wall, but in the area of an adjoining building, party wall or boundary. All possibilities of any proposed building works on the surrounding foundations and grounds must be taken into consideration.

It would be very highly recommended that you would give instructions to a well-versed Party Wall Surveyor at the first opportunity you get. The following processes may be quite complicated and with the guidance of Party Wall Surveyor with exceptional expertise, could save you from unnecessary expenses, construction delays and potential disputes.

Please see below for some frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) with regards to party walls and the procedures which are outlined in the Party Wall Act 1996. Through the use of these FAQ’s, we will attempt to offer some guidance on what type of issues you may face.

What Types Of Work Will The Party Wall Act Apply To?

What Types Of Work Will The Party Wall Act Apply To?

The Act covers three types of work:

  1. Excavation with prescribed distances of shared or adjoining structures or walls.
  2. Building along the boundary between two properties
  3. Any alterations to a party structure

This will also include cutting into the party wall dividing terraces houses to insert beans as part of a loft conversion or extension, excavating within 3 or 6 metres (depending on the depth and type of foundation) of the neighbour/s property/properties to construct the foundations to an extension and erect the flank wall of an extension at or close proximity of the boundary.

Why Should A Party Wall Surveyor Be Appointed?

Why Should A Party Wall Surveyor Be Appointed?

The appointed surveyor/s will prepare a Schedule of Condition covering the parts of the adjoining owner’s property that is at risk before any construction work commences and for this reason it is strongly recommended that a surveyor is appointed. The report will detail the current condition of the property with photos. The schedule of condition report protects both parties in the event of any damage occurs from the notifiable works undertaken from unfair or misleading claims made by the other party. This document is proof of the property’s condition prior to the works so it will help dealing with such matters.

Do I Need To Stop The Works?

My Construction Works Have Already Started, And I Have Been Made Aware That I Need To Serve Notice On An Adjoining Owner, Do I Need To Stop The Works?

Unfortunately, yes. It is outside of the law and you could be penalised if you have commenced works and not gained consent from any affected adjoining owners or have not gone through the Act’s dispute resolution procedure. You should not continue until you have served the notice to cover the remaining work and followed the procedures under the Act. Any dissents to the notices will have to be dealt with by the surveyors appointed under Section 10 of the Party Wall Act.

I Have Not Been Informed About Building Works That My Neighbour Has Already Commenced. What Can I Do?

I Have Not Been Informed About Building Works That My Neighbour Has Already Commenced. What Can I Do?

Prior to any major works that may affect a party wall or adjoining structure the owner is required to take consent from the owner/s of the adjoining property/s. If the owner of the property has not received consent from you, they are in breach of the law and you may be able to take action against them to stop their works.

The process of stopping any illegal works would require applying for an injunction from a County Court. The judge will listen to your case and you will most likely be required to provide cross-undertaking in costs, this would mean if your neighbour has not been doing illegal works, you will be responsible for any costs incurred as a result of the injunction. It would therefore be wise to seek legal advice prior to applying for an injunction.

Works Have Been Undertaken Next Door And The Construction Noise Is Unbearable. Can Something Be Done About This?

Works Have Been Undertaken Next Door And The Construction Noise Is Unbearable. Can Something Be Done About This?

As an adjoining owner or occupier, you are expected to tolerate “reasonable disturbance”. However, the building owner who is carrying out the works has a responsibility to conduct their construction works without causing unnecessary inconvenience. If you suffer a quantifiable loss as a result of the works covered by the Party Wall Act, you will be eligible for compensation (i.e. if you operate a business and customers can no longer enter your premises).

The building owner must adhere to keeping noise and vibrations within local limits and working within time restrictions given by the council.

The Contractors Require Access To My Property To Carry Out Proposed Works, Do I Have Grant Access?

The Contractors Require Access To My Property To Carry Out Proposed Works, Do I Have Grant Access?

The Party Wall Act does require you to grant your neighbour access to your land if their construction work cannot be completed any other way, however they must provide you with the required notice. This is normally 14 days, but if it’s an urgent matter (such as a pipe burst), the notice can be reduced due to the matter. We always try to advise that works should be undertaken within the building owners land unless it is absolutely necessary and there is no other way.

The surveyors will also prepare a Party Wall Award to regulate the manner of works and the time covered by the Act. The Award covers important aspects such as access, working hours and safeguards to reduce the risk of damage.

Can I Start My Construction Works Before The Party Wall Award Is Served?

Can I Start My Construction Works Before The Party Wall Award Is Served?

The part of the works that is covered by the Act cannot start until the Party Wall Award is agreed. It will be considered unlawful.

There Is Damage Caused To My Property As A Result Of The Works Undertaken Next Door. What Do I Do?

There Is Damage Caused To My Property As A Result Of The Works Undertaken Next Door. What Do I Do?

If damage has been caused to your property as a result of the notifiable works undertaken next door by the Act, you can either allow the building owner’s contractor to make good works to restore your property to the condition it was at prior to works commencing or request a payment in lieu. The appointed surveyor/s will be able to handle any disputes over the cause of the damage or the cost of making good generally in a further award. The award will include a timescale within which the payment in lieu must be made. Should this payment covered in the award not be made, you can take enforcement action in the Magistrates’ Court.

Party Wall Act Example

Mid Terrace Property

This mid terrace propery has the potential of a rear extension similar to both neighbours and a loft conversion. These works are notifiable under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 therefore a Party Wall Survey will need to be carried out and the property owner will need to serve Party Wall Notices to both adjoining owners if they intend to undertake any of these works as they will require cutting into the Party Wall, excavating within 3m of the neighbours existing structure as well as exposing the party wall in the process of the loft conversion.

Party Wall Act Example
PARTY WALL ACT SURVEYS

Loft Conversion

Here we can see that the chimney breast has been removed and the Chimney Stack is supported by gallows brackets. These works are notifiable and will require a Party Wall Survey as it requires cutting into the party wall.

WHAT IS A PARTY WALL?

There are various scenarios that are considered to be a “party wall”. The main types of party walls are:

  1. A wall that stands on the lands of 2 (or more) owners and forms part of a building – this wall can be part of one building only or separate buildings belonging to different owners.
  2. Wall that stands on the lands of 2 owners but does not form part of a building, such as a garden wall but not including timber fences.
  3. Walls is on one owner’s land but is used by 2 (or more) owners to separate their buildings.
  4. The Act also uses the expression ‘party structure’. This could be a wall or floor partition or other structure separating buildings or parts of buildings in different ownership, such as in flats

    Feel Free to Get in Touch

    We are more than happy to help you.

    Complete the form or give us a call to discuss more about your Party Wall Survey Agreement requirements.

    We can support and guide you through the entire process reducing the stress and problems often associated with the Party Wall Act