When you decide to have work done to or near the wall shared by your neighbour, you have a legal duty to serve a Party Wall Notice to all affected neighbours. An official agreement must be in place between the owner and the adjoining owner for work to commence.
Suppose an adjoining owner does not consent to the proposed works within 14 days of receiving notice, under the Party Wall, etc. Act 1996, the parties will be deemed “in dispute.” At this point, both building owners and adjoining owners will need to appoint a surveyor for an agreement to be settled.
A Party Wall Agreement is necessary for building work to commence and is produced by two Party Wall Surveyors acting for their respective owners.
The agreement consists of three parts:
The award is usually based upon a draft document, with the most popular being produced by the RICS.
Our team of Chartered Surveyors has extensive property experience and is here to provide you with the best support. The following is why we are fast becoming the go-to Party Wall surveying service in the UK.
Contact Us Today For A Free Quote
Fee Stage 1
Inspecting the drawings and serving notice on the Adjoining Owner.
£200 +VAT for the first Adjoining owner
An additional £100 +VAT for each subsequent Adjoining Owner (if required)
Fee Stage 2
Inspecting the Adjoining Owner’s property and preparing the Schedule of Condition
£400-£600 +VAT per Schedule of Condition for Flats (Depending on Size)
£500-£600 +VAT per Schedule of Condition for Houses (Depending on Size)
Fee Stage 3
£600 +VAT in preparing the Party Wall Agreement (Award) for the first Adjoining Owner*
£400 +VAT each in preparing the Party Walls Agreements (Awards) for subsequent Adjoining Owner’s (if required) **
We are appointed to oversee matters related to the party wall and are not involved in the building project. Therefore, we can act as an agreed surveyor to both the building owner and adjoining owners.
However, if your neighbours (Adjoining Owners) decide to appoint their surveyor, you will be responsible for their reasonable fees. These are likely to be charged at an hourly rate of between £150 and £250.
At Prinsegate, we try to minimize the Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor’s time by providing them with all the information they require from the offset and preparing clear and concise documents for them to review.
Notifiable works under the relevant sections of the Act (such as excavating within 3 metres of a neighbouring foundation) will require a notice, and by serving such notice in effect invokes the Party Wall, etc. Act 1996. Once the Act has been invoked, an Adjoining Owner (one who has had a notice served upon them) may consent or dissent. Dissenting to a notice will require a party wall agreement to be drafted up, either by an agreed surveyor or two surveyors.
More information on the process can be found here.
A party wall award is a legally binding agreement that can be used in court. It contains all the relevant details from the building owners and adjoining owners and surveyors involved, the type of works and a description of the works, and relevant sections of the Act applicable to the works; this should also include all suitable plans and engineer’s drawings/calculations, ground investigation reports, and method statements for more tricky areas, which set out exactly how the works are to be carried out.
This documentation helps keep the adjoining owner informed of precisely what is occurring next door and what is permitted under the Act (e.g., where the foundations are proposed to lie).
An essential part of this process is that once an award is drafted, there can be no deviation from the notifiable works without written permission from the owners or surveyors. Suppose deviations from the plans and notifiable works are made. In that case, this can be then brought to the attention of the Building Owner to rectify, preventing a contractor from potentially carrying out illegal works.
If a dispute would occur between the Building Owner and Adjoining Owner, before or after the award has been served, they would then bring this to the surveyor, who would have an impartial quasi-judicial role in resolving the dispute.
The surveyor would inspect the property and reason with what has occurred within the framework of the party wall agreement. Usually, these issues can be resolved before anything ends up in the courts via this method. A lot of the time, such problems as illegal works are covered under common law; however, party wall agreements have a function of preventing potential disputes from getting resolved in courts.
The party wall agreement also sets out the Building Owners’Owners’ obligations, such as providing support to retain the neighbouring land and buildings; this will include protection measures against minor issues that are no doubt going to occur, such as dust and debris resulting from the works. The building owner will be held responsible for keeping the neighbouring property free from any such nuisances.
The award will set out that the Building Owner is held responsible for any damages occurring due to the notifiable works.
If damages occur to a neighbouring property in an ideal world, the Adjoining Owner can communicate this to the Building Owner to achieve resolution. However, disagreements can happen, and it is not always clear-cut. A party wall agreement includes a Schedule of Condition, a pre-works survey of the Adjoining Owners property. It details any existing damage and forms a part of the documents registered in the award. If neighbours are in disagreement about damages, they can then refer to the surveyor(s) to award damages, where they have a statutory duty to be impartial.
There are many more elements that make up an award. Feel free to give us a call for free advice regarding the Party Wall Act.