RES Property Surveyors Ltd can provide expert advice on anything related to the Party Wall Etc. Act 1996. We are able to work on behalf of building owners and adjoining owners to ensure both parties are compliant and protected at all times. We are members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) so our work is fully accredited and reliable.
Party Wall Etc. Act 1996
The Party Wall Etc. Act 1996 was introduced as a framework for preventing and resolving disputes between the owners of neighbouring buildings. Anybody who intends to start building work which involves the adjoining wall of another building needs to provide notice of this work and adjoining owners are then able to agree or disagree with the intentions.
Party Wall Information for Building Owners
Do I need to serve a Party Wall Notice?
A Party Wall Notice needs to be served before undertaking any building work that involves a wall or structure at the boundary of a neighbouring property. This typically includes the removal of chimney breasts, loft conversions, excavating near adjoining structures and rear extensions.
It is best to informally let your neighbours know your plans before sending notice to help avoid disputes further down the line. This allows you to discuss intentions and hear their concerns before the official process begins.
Once you have sent the notice, your neighbour must agree within 14 days. Otherwise, this is recognised as a disagreement and a surveyor will be required to resolve the dispute.
What happens if my neighbours reject my Party Wall Notice?
If the Party Wall Notice is dissented to by your neighbour(s), an impartial surveyor will need to be appointed. This can be one agreed surveyor for both parties or a separate surveyor for the building owner and adjoining owner. The role of the surveyor is to outline the rights and responsibilities of both parties, including such responsibility as what happens in the event of damage.
The surveyors may also need to draw up a schedule of condition to identify any pre-existing damage to avoid future disputes once the work has commenced. The schedule should be produced shortly before building work begins to ensure accuracy.
When do you need a Party Wall Award?
A Party Wall Award, sometimes known as a Party Wall Agreement, is the document produced by a surveyor to resolve the dispute of the initially dissented Party Wall Notice. The role of the award is to outline the intended works, the responsibilities each owner has in terms of damage and access to the land as well as compensation. The agreement can also assess the compliance with statutory regulations such as planning permission and water board authority with respect to the proximity of drains.
If you and your neighbour are using your own surveyors and an agreement cannot be reached, you may need to appoint a separate independent third surveyor to fully resolve the issue.
What can RES Property Surveyors do?
RES Property Surveyors Ltd provides service of Party Wall Notices within 48 hours of appointment and provision of full and proper information. We work to short timescales as the often pressing nature of the award is one of the main concerns of building owners looking to undertake notifiable work under The Party Wall Etc. Act 1996 (the Act). We are able to act as independent surveyors on your behalf to resolve and avoid disputes with the neighbouring owners.
We can also advise on whether the Act applies to the work you are planning and help produce the initial Party Wall Notice to confirm that all the relevant information is included and that the notice is valid.
The skilled team at RES Property Surveyors can provide you with advice on how to proceed no matter what stage you are in the process.
Party Wall Advice for Adjoining Owners
Should I have received a Party Wall Notice for my neighbour’s building work?
Any building work that involves party walls, excavation or the boundary line between two properties will need to have been agreed by a Party Wall Notice before it can go ahead. This includes adjoining walls, structures that sit across the boundary or garden walls but not wooden fences.
A Party Wall Notice can be sent before planning permission has been granted and building work can start anywhere up to a year after the notice has been agreed. If your neighbour has begun work on or near the boundary of your two properties without serving you a notice, you have no guarantee that they are willing to pay for any damage caused to your property and little knowledge of how they intend to carry out the work. An injunction maybe necessary.
Do I have to pay for my neighbour’s Party Wall Surveyor?
If the building work is being undertaken by your neighbour and you are the adjoining owner, the payment for a Party Wall Agreement typically falls on them. You and your neighbour can either agree to use the same independent surveyor or appoint your own to ensure impartiality in the process.
Resolution are able to represent you as the adjoining owner. Get in touch with our specialists to learn more about which approach is best to resolve your dispute and how the costs of the work will be attributed.
Can you refuse a Party Wall Agreement?
You may be able to negotiate the initial Party Wall Notice to ensure that your interests are protected but if the dispute can’t be resolved, a Party Wall Award will need to be produced. If you are still not happy that the surveyor your neighbour has appointed is working independently, you have the right to appoint a third surveyor to come to a final conclusion.
Why should I appoint a Party Wall Surveyor?
Agreeing on a joint surveyor for both building and adjoining owners will help keep the costs down for your neighbour which can help keep the process as smooth and stress-free as possible. However, you may be concerned that the surveyor they appoint will not complete their work independently and attempt to protect your neighbour’s interests more than yours.
If you feel that you would be more confident with your own surveyor, this can be the best way to proceed and can help resolve the issues you have with your neighbour’s building work to your satisfaction.
What can RES Property Surveyors do to help me?
RES Property Surveyors take adjoining owners through all necessary steps that need to be taken and will always act to protect an adjoining owner’s interests. Our services include:
Assessing the validity of the notice;
Completing a schedule of condition for your property;
Ensuring satisfactory working hours, responsibilities and agreed access to your property;
Outlining the time frames and intended work that will be taking place; and
Remaining on-hand throughout the project in case a contravention of the award takes place at any time.
Talk to the Experts
We are members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and have extensive experience with Party Wall matters. For advice on anything relating to building work by your neighbour, contact RES.