Party Wall Matters and Professional Matters

Building Owner Information

As a Building Owner, it may seem a rather expensive inconvenience to have to deal with Party Wall matters when you just want to get on with your project. We try to keep things as simple and affordable as possible.

Remember, the Party Wall Act is a facilitative law, it is intended to enable you to do the work you want, not to prevent it starting. Look at our case studies to see what can go wrong.

Once we have reviewed your plans we would try to identify any possible problems. Once we have confirmed the fee to you and you have formally appointed us by letter, the process starts.

It is really important that the Notices served upon your neighbour are valid. Firstly land registry checks are made on the adjoining property to ensure that the correct owners names are obtained for the Notices. We recommend that you speak to your neighbour early in the process to let them know that notices are going to be arriving through their door.

Once they have the Notices, they should appoint their surveyor. In due course a record of the condition of their property is taken so that any damage caused can be easily identified.

A Party Wall Award document is then prepared, detailing the works, any precautions that must be taken and any other issues relating to the work.

The works proceed and the condition is then checked upon completion. Providing all is well, the matter is signed off, if there is any damage, this is listed and neighbour has the choice of having the repairs carried out by your contractor or taking compensation in lieu.

You can send us drawings on our enquiry form and we'll email you back as soon as we can:

Party Wall Notices

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 requires that homeowners can only do certain types of work to a party wall after they have firstly notified their adjoining owners and then either obtain their written consent or ensure that a Party Wall Award has been prepared. Some of the typical works are:

1) Building a new wall or raising an existing wall for an extension perhaps.

2) Excavating for new foundations or underpinning within a certain distance of a nearby structure, also excavating for a basement.

3) Cutting into a party wall, for example a steel beam end in a loft floor construction, or for new roof flashing extension

4) Cutting walls away from a party wall, such as chimney breast removal.
There are three different types of Notices depending on the works proposed, Party Structure Notice, 3m Notice or 6m Notice, Line of Junction Notice.

To avoid problems (look at our case studies) it is best to appoint a Party Wall specialist. We can check your plans and issue valid, correct party wall notices to ensure your project runs smoothly. We take care of all the paper work and will contact your neighbours.

You can send us your drawings with our enquiry form by using the buttons on the right:

Adjoining Owner Information

The Party Wall Act obliges property owners to serve formal Notice on their neighbours of building works that might affect the party structure between their properties.

If you haven't had a Notice and works have started, then knock on their door and ask what is happening, it may be that the building works don't require a Notice. If you are not certain, please ask us.

Normally, you'll have been sent a Notice that asks you to 'consent' or 'dissent' to the works. This sounds like you can prevent works going ahead - but it doesn't. If you 'consent' then the work will proceed without any checks under the Act. Look at our case studies to see what can go wrong.

We always recommend that adjoining owners dissent to the Notices as this will ensure you will have the protection of the Party Wall Act rather than relying on a personal claim if things go wrong.

When you dissent you need to appoint a surveyor to act for you. This can be the same surveyor, since the surveyor has to be impartial under the Act, effectively working for the best interests of the wall - something that may not be easy if the surveyor is also the designer. Your neighbour is required to pay all of the surveyor's reasonable costs so it should cost you nothing.

After this, your property will be inspected by the surveyor(s) and its condition recorded. Then a Party Wall Award document is issued detailing the works and also any precautions that might need to be taken to protect your property.

The works then go ahead and your property is inspected on completion to check for any damage. If there is damage, then you have the choice of letting their contractor put it right or taking compensation instead.

You can contact us easily using the form below and we'll get back to you as soon as we can:

Call our office today, if you require further advise

Party Wall Surveyor

We specialise in party wall matters acting for both building owners and adjoining owners. We are able to advise appointing owners through the process and assist in the preparation of formal documentation to enable works to proceed. Similarly we are able to advise adjoining owners who may be potentially affected by such works and in this regard our services are free of charge when acting for adjoining owners.

Rights To Light

An extension or development could infringe a neighbours right to light and may lead to a dispute. As a right of light is a civil matter, just because an extension or development has obtained Planning Permission, it does not automatically follow that it can be built if there is a significant right to light infringement and this can result in abortive design or construction work and requires early consideration.

Boundary Disputes

If you are involved in boundary/neighbour disputes, we can offer expert advice with the ability to undertake full land survey measurements, providing expert reports, working alongside solicitors and barristers with facility for direct referral to counsel under the Direct Public Access Scheme for barristers.

Expert Witness/Construction Disputes

We provide expert advice on construction and other related building disputes in accordance with the Civil Procedure. In addition to the preparation of detailed expert reports we can provide preliminary advice to either party in a dispute who may require an initial assessment on the validity of a claim before legal action is taken and obtain counsels advice under the Direct Public Access Scheme for barristers.

Preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls

The Party Wall Act The Party Wall etc Act 1996 provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.

A building owner proposing to start work covered by the Act must give adjoining owners notice of their intentions in the way set down in the Act. Adjoining owners can agree or disagree with what is proposed. Where they disagree, the Act provides a mechanism for resolving disputes.

The Act is separate from obtaining planning permission or building regulations approval.

What is a party wall?

The main types of party walls are:

  • a wall that stands on the lands of 2 (or more) owners and forms part of a building - this wall can be part of one building only or separate buildings belonging to different owners

  • a wall that stands on the lands of 2 owners but does not form part of a building, such as a garden wall but not including timber fences

  • a wall that is on one owner's land but is used by 2 (or more) owners to separate their buildings

The Act also uses the expression 'party structure'. This could be a wall or floor partition or other structure separating buildings or parts of buildings in different ownership, such as in flats.

What the Act covers

The Act covers:

  • new building on or at the boundary of 2 properties

  • work to an existing party wall or party structure

  • excavation near to and below the foundation level of neighbouring buildings

This may include:

  • building a new wall on or at the boundary of 2 properties

  • cutting into a party wall

  • making a party wall taller, shorter or deeper

  • removing chimney breasts from a party wall

  • knocking down and rebuilding a party wall

  • digging below the foundation level of a neighbour's property

Explanatory booklet

This provides detailed guidance on the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. The guidance explains how the Act may affect a building owner who wishes to carry out work covered by the Act or an adjoining building owner who receives notification under the Act of proposed work.

The guidance has been further updated in May 2016 to take account of amendments to the Act to allow the electronic transmission of notices and other documents, required under the Act, where both the giver and receiver of the notices and documents agree.

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