What is a Party Wall?
A Party Wall is a dividing partition between two adjoining buildings that are shared by the occupants of each residence or business.
Why Do You Need a Party Wall Surveyor?
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.
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.
If a dispute occurs 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. Most of the time, such problems as illegal works are covered under common law; however, Party Wall agreements have the function of preventing potential disputes from getting resolved in courts.
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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
- Surveyors involved
- The type of works and a description of the works
- Relevant sections of the Act applicable to the works
Including all suitable plans and engineer’s drawings/calculations, ground investigation reports, and method statements for more tricky areas 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).
Deviating from the Agreement
The award will ensure 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’s not always clear-cut. A Party Wall agreement includes a:
- Schedule of Condition
- Pre-works survey of the Adjoining Owner’s 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.
Adjoining Owner's Surveyor Fees
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 to review.
Why You Should Appoint Prinsegate
Our team of Chartered Surveyors has extensive property experience and is here to provide you with the best support.
The following are reasons why we are fast becoming the go-to Party Wall surveying service in the UK. We offer: