There are a few procedures you will need to follow if you are planning on building work to your property which will affect the party wall. Here’s our comprehensive Party Wall guide for Building Owners, from sending a Party Wall Notice and minimising disputes, 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 of the implications of the works. There are a few types of Party Wall Notice, so it is important that you take advice on the correct format before issuing it to your neighbour(s).
The Party Wall Notice needs to be issued to your neighbours (the Adjoining Owners) at least 2 months before commencing any building works (or one month for ‘Line of Junction’ or excavation works). If your neighbour rents the property or only owns a flat in the building, you will also need to inform the landlord or freehold owner of the building. If more than one adjoining property shares the party wall, you will need to inform all affected parties.
If your neighbour consents to the works, they will need to provide you with an agreement in writing within 14 days of the date of the Party Wall Notice. If possible, it is advisable to talk in person with your neighbours prior to issuing the official notice, in order that any potential problems may be resolved and thereby increasing the likelihood of obtaining their consent.
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.
If the Adjoining Owner dissents to the works or you do not receive a response within 14 days of serving the notice, both you and your neighbour will need to appoint a 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 party.
What is a Party Wall Award?
When there is difficulty agreeing to a Party Wall Notice, the 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 records the condition of parts of the adjoining property which may be affected prior to the work being undertaken. This Party Wall Award ensures that both parties’ interests are satisfied and that the works will be carried out in satisfactorily, with any damage to the Adjoining Owner’s structures being reinstated back to the original condition, as per 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 – Structural Engineers or Building Surveyors. Philip Goacher Associates are ideally placed to provide this service 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.
What We Can Do For You
At Philip Goacher Associates we are able to give clear, impartial and expert advice relating to all Party Wall issues.
We can provide the majority of Party Wall Notices, and all you have to do is fill in the authorisation and information forms below and return them to us with copies of the relevant documents. We will then confirm instructions and fees with you, and act as your Party Wall Surveyor – dealing with all Party Wall issues on your behalf.
What do I do next?
Should you wish to proceed, 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 advice, or head over to our dedicated Party Wall Surveyors website for more information.