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The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is an enabling Act which came into force on 1 July 1997 and applies throughout England and Wales. The Act provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.
Marwood Surveyors are happy to offer impartial advice with respect to any proposed building works that you or your neighbour may be considering. We always keep our clients up to date and informed so they know and understand the process completely.
We provide fully qualified party wall surveyors who have in depth knowledge of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 to help determine whether any proposed works are notifiable under the Act and help prevent neighbourly disputes. Most importantly we are dedicated to resolving problems between neighbours rather than profiting from a dispute, that is why we offer a fixed fee service.
In addition to party wall notices, party wall awards, party wall agreements and schedule of conditions we offer a Pre-Notice site visit.
From our experience around 50% of building owners who choose a Pre-Notice site visit found they did not need to serve a party wall notice by changing either a foundation design or moving a little away from the line of junction. Other building owners decided to serve a notice just to allow them rights of access to the adjoining owners’ land for scaffolding etc.
The Pre-Notice site visit is a valuable tool for those who truly want to know and understand all their options.
Party Wall Act 1996
The statutory definition of a party wall is as provided by Section 20 of the Party wall etc. Act 1996 and can be explained by a consultation with our surveyor(s).
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 requires Building Owners to serve Notices on their adjoining owners when they are most commonly:
• Building on or up to the boundary line/line of junction between two properties.
• Carrying out works to a party wall or structure built on or astride the boundary line
•Excavation within 3 metres or sometimes 6 metres and at a lower depth of an adjoining owners’ buildings or structure.
Notice fees are quoted on application
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 sets out the rights & duties of building owners undertaking such works and is used to help provide protection to an adjoining owner.
The Party Wall Surveyor’s duty is to examine the proposed works and to confirm whether they are notifiable under the Act.
Once a notice is served by a building owner upon an adjoining owner then the adjoining owner must respond within 14 days either consenting or dissenting to the notice. In the event of consent, there is no further involvement from the party wall surveyor and the works may proceed subject to the notice period. In the event of a dissent to the notice then a dispute is deemed to have arisen and an Award will need to be made.
An Award is made by the surveyors appointed by the building and adjoining owners which will set out the duties and responsibilities of the building owner when carrying out the notifiable works. The Award will include reference to drawings etc. when required to ensure that they are properly designed and that the works are executed in a manner which is not likely to cause damage to adjoining buildings or property.
In the unlikely event damage does occur, then the party wall surveyors can award damages as set out in the Act so that the adjoining owners’ property is always protected.
There is provision within the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 subject to the notice(s) served, to grant rights of access to the appointed party wall surveyors and to the building owners or their builders, to undertake inspections and allow access for the purpose of completing the works, erecting of scaffolding and maintaining the adjoining owners’ lands and property. The appointed surveyors can award compensation to the adjoining owner for the use of their lands for the purpose of scaffolding used in completing the works.
Section 1 Notice / Line of Junction Notice
If you are planning to build a new wall either as a Party Wall or a Party fence wall (astride a boundary) subject to your neighbour’s consent, or up to the line of junction and wholly on your own land, a Section 1 Notice must be served.
If a proposed wall needs foundations to a lower depth than your neighbours foundations, a Section 6 notice could also be required.
One month notice must be given before the works commence.
New Party Wall
New Party Fence Wall
Section 3 Notice / Party Structure Notice
If you are planning to cut into a Party Wall to insert flashings or a damp proof course, cut away chimney breasts or projections, raise, rebuild repair, underpin, expose the Party Wall to the weather or enclose upon a wall on or at the line of junction turning it into a Party Wall, in such cases a Section 3 Notice must be served.
Two months notice must be given for a section 3 Notice.
Inserting a beam into a Party Wall
Enclosing upon a wall at the Line of Junction
Section 6 Notice / Notice of Adjacent Excavation
If you are planning to excavate within 3m of neighbour’s foundations to a lower depth, or within 6m to a lower depth than a line struck at 45 degrees down from the underside of the neighbour’s foundations, then a section 6 notice must be served.
One month notice must be given before work commences and in addition, plans and sections of the proposed works must be provided with the notice.
3 metre notice
6 metre notice
Consent or Dissent
If your neighbour intends to have building works carried out that involve alterations to your Party wall or excavations within 3 metres of your property, the Act requires that you are given due notice of the proposals and that agreement as to the execution of the works is in place prior to their commencement.
If you have received a Notice about proposed works your neighbours plan to carry out to their property, you are required to respond in writing within 14 days from the date on the Notice. If you would like help or advice in responding to any notice served, please contact us.
Consent to the Notice
If you are going to consent to your neighbours’ proposed works, without a Party Wall Award being produced, we recommend you do so on the basis of having a Party Wall Agreement put in place.
It is a document agreed between the person wishing to complete the work and their neighbours.
The purpose of the agreement is to provide both parties with a written detailed framework of the proposed works. It also includes a Schedule of Condition.
We do advise our clients who consent to a Notice to request that a Schedule of Condition be undertaken by a Surveyor, who will produce a record of the current condition of the adjacent areas prior to works commencing so that in the unlikely event of damage being caused it can be easily identified. The Agreement fee should be paid by the party proposing the building works.
Not responding will not delay the proposed works.
Dissent to the Notice
If you are concerned that the proposed works may adversely affect your property and thus dissent to the Notice, a Party Wall Award would be required before the work could start.
It is a fair and impartial report, prepared by the Surveyor which will deal with the right to execute the party wall works, the time and manner of executing the work, and any other matters that arise between the parties concerned.
Dissenting to the Notice is not a tool to delay or stop the proposed works.
You may concur on an Agreed Surveyor or each appoint an Independent Surveyor:
Appointed by both parties, by the Building and Adjoining Owner, and is required to act impartially to administer the rights and duties of both owners. The process can be quicker and more cost effective.
You may appoint an independent Surveyor of your choice. Your Surveyor’s reasonable fees in all normal circumstances will be met by the Building Owner.