When properties are situated close together, or adjoining at some point, when one property owner wishes to make alterations to their property that could affect the neighbouring property, it is wise to seek consent from the adjoining property owners. When consent is not obtained and the parties are deemed to be “in dispute”, the Party Wall Act 1996 comes into effect and surveyors are appointed to conduct Party Wall Surveys to work towards resolving the dispute by what is called an “Award”, also known as a Party Wall Agreement.
The Party Wall Act 1996 covers three specific types of work to properties:
- Alterations to party structures (mainly walls but can be floors)
- Building new boundary walls
- Excavating close to or adjacent to a neighbour’s property.
To carry out this work, it’s important to gain the adjoining property owner’s consent usually in the form of a notice being served by the owner of the property that is proposing the work.
If that consent is not given and the relevant parties are in dispute, we, as surveyors, are appointed to help resolve the problem. Some of the typical types of work that is generally covered by the Act include:
- Having beams cut into a party wall as part of a loft conversion
- Removing chimney breasts that are part of, i.e. attached to, a party wall
- Excavating foundations to allow the building of a new extension within a 3m distance of a shared or neighbouring structure
- Underpinning a party wall to avoid movement of the structure, or for a basement extension
The Party Wall Act 1996 also applies to adjoining property that is owned by the Government, the Crown and the Local Authority.
It is always wise to keep your neighbours up-to-date. To ensure your notices of proposed work are drawn up and issued by one of our highly experienced, RICS-qualified party wall surveyors to ensure that all the details are correct. Notices should be issued to all parties that may be affected by the proposed work. For example, our surveyor will conduct Land Registry searches to ensure that all parties concerned are notified.
If you are in a party wall dispute, or you don’t consent to any proposed work being carried out by your adjoining neighbour, it is your responsibility to appoint a qualified, experienced party wall surveyor to reach agreement of an Award. AT Laurence Quilter, we are here to help you every step of the way and come to an agreement.
Contact us to discuss your party wall survey needs in more detail so that we can ensure an Award can be granted and both parties are happy.