If your neighbours are planning building works to their property that may affect the Party Wall, there are certain procedures that they – and you, as the Adjoining Owner – need to follow. Here’s our comprehensive Party Wall advice guide for Adjoining Owners, from receiving a Party Wall Notice and what to do if you disagree with the works, to who pays the Party Wall Surveyor fees. At the end of this guide you’ll find some downloadable forms to help you on your way.
What is a Party Wall Notice?
A Party Wall Notice is a legal document that is prepared by the Building Owner or his/her representative (i.e. Party Wall Surveyor) regarding the works he/she intends to carry out to their property and which may affect the Party Wall – structures which are on the boundary line between two properties. The Party Wall Notice is intended to inform the Adjoining Owners (you) of the implications of the works. There are a few types of Party Wall Notice, so it is important that you understand what it is you have been issued – you can get Party Wall advice from a Structural Engineer or Building Surveyor.
The Party Wall Notice needs to be issued to you at least 2 months before your neighbour plans to commence their building works (or one month for ‘Line of Junction’ or excavation works). If you have received a Party Wall Notice but you rent the property, please inform the Building Owner as they will need to issue a Notice to the owner/freeholder too.
If you agree to the works, you will need to provide an agreement in writing within 14 days of the date of the Party Wall Notice. If possible, it is advisable that the Building Owner talks to you in person before issuing the official notice, in order that any potential problems may be resolved and thereby reducing the likelihood of any issues arising.
Why Do I Need a Party Wall Surveyor?
A surveyor is needed in order to follow the procedures set out in the Party Wall Act and to determine how and when the building work is carried out. This will help to minimise disputes arising between the two (or more) neighbours. It is highly likely that your neighbour, as the Building Owner, will already have taken Party Wall advice from a Surveyor prior to issuing you with the Notice.
If you dissent to the works, both you and your neighbour will need to appoint a Party Wall Surveyor to act on your behalf. If you wish, you can both appoint the same surveyor, who would then be known as the ‘Agreed Surveyor’ and would act impartially for both parties. This is possible because the Agreed Surveyor acts on behalf of the Party Wall itself, rather than either neighbour.
What is a Party Wall Award?
When there is difficulty agreeing to building works, the Party Wall Surveyor would prepare a document known as a Party Wall Award. This describes in detail the proposed work and how and when it will be carried out. The Award also includes a Schedule of Condition, which will record the condition – prior to the work being undertaken – of any parts of your property which may be affected by the works. This Party Wall Award ensures that both parties’ interests are satisfied and that the works will be carried out in satisfactorily, with your structure being reinstated back to its original condition, as captured in the Schedule of Condition.
Under the Award the surveyor would be granted access to both properties in order that he can make the necessary inspections during the course of the works.
The Award would also establish who is responsible for funding the building work and paying the Party Wall Surveyor fees. It is usually the Building Owner implementing the works that would pay for all the expenses.
Who Can be a Party Wall Surveyor?
Party Wall Surveyors are normally experts in building matters and are typically Structural Engineers or Building Surveyors. Philip Goacher Associates are ideally placed to provide Party Wall advice and act as Party Wall Surveyors as we are aware of the legal issues and understand the construction of buildings. A common sense approach is critical for a rapid and cost-effective solution to Party Wall matters and our years of experience make us the ideal choice to assist you in your Party Wall dealings.
Where Can I Get Party Wall Advice?
At Philip Goacher Associates we are able to give clear, impartial and expert advice relating to all Party Wall issues.
We can provide you with Party Wall advice and an expert Party Wall Surveyor to act as your Surveyor to ensure your rights and your property are adequately protected under the Party Wall Act during the building works going on next door.
What do I do next?
Should you wish to appoint us as your Party Wall Surveyor, please complete the relevant forms (see below) and return them either by post or email. Alternatively, please telephone us on 01903 217723 (Sussex) or 01579 345777 (Cornwall) for further Party Wall advice, or head over to our dedicated Party Wall Surveyors website for more information.