Questions Regarding the Party Wall

What kinds of work are included in the Party Wall etc. agreement? Act 1996

A: The Act is intended to cover:

a new structure constructed on or around the line dividing two parcels.

work on a party wall or party structure that already exists

excavation in close proximity to and below the level of the foundations of neighbouring buildings or structures

Examples of this could be:

erecting a brand-new wall on or near the dividing line between two properties

A hole was cut through the party wall.

modifying a party wall by making it either taller, shorter, or deeper

chimney breasts being excavated and removed from a party wall

tearing down and then reconstructing a party wall

neighbouring property is being dug up below the foundation level due to your work.

What exactly is a party wall, though?

A party wall is just a wall that is shared by two different parties in order to create a separation between them. In a general sense, this could be one of:

Type A refers to a wall that is either standing astride the boundary, has only one side that is part of a building, has both sides that are part of buildings, or has no attached buildings (such as a boundary or garden wall, which is referred to as a party fence wall; however, wooden fences are not actually included in the scope of the Act).

Type B describes a wall that is entirely located on the property of one owner but is utilised by both of those owners in order to physically separate their respective buildings. Any portion that does not physically separate two buildings is not considered a “party” and is therefore not insured.

See also the section below on the Party Structure. Party Wall Surveyor Hampshire

What exactly is meant by the term “Party Fence Wall”?

A garden or boundary wall is an example of a party fence wall, which is a wall that runs along the border between two properties but is not part of the building itself. The Act does not apply to similar walls since they are not considered party fence walls if they stand entirely on one landowner’s property. The Act does not apply to fences in any way.

What exactly is meant by the term “party structure”?

A: A party structure is any portion of a building that physically separates it from other parts of the same building that are owned by a third party. Some examples include the walls and floors that separate individual apartments.

What should I do if I wish to excavate close to the home or building of a neighbour?

A: If you want to unearth within 3 metres horizontally of their foundation and below the level of the bottom of their foundation, you need to comply with the Act and serve a notice under Section 6 of the Act. This is required if you want to excavate below the level of the bottom of their foundation. If you want to excavate within 6 metres of their foundation horizontally and below the line that cuts a 45 degree angle backward from the bottom of their base, you are required to comply with the Act and serve a notice under Section 6 of the Act. This is the case whether you want to excavate above or below the line

(2). You have the option of doing this on your own, or we may do it for you.

What should I do if the only thing I want to excavate near is a neighbour’s standalone structure and not their house or building?

A: The excavation clauses necessarily apply to excavations close residences or other buildings that belong to neighbours as well as their other separate ‘structures,’ which means that a notice must be served in accordance with Section 6. You have the option of doing this on your own, or we may do it for you. Masonry landscape walls, garages, concrete platforms, manholes, walls, ponds and pools, elevated flower beds, busts, memorials, and gravestones are some examples of the types of structures that fall under this category.

It is not a hard and fast rule that ‘structures’ must be defined in a certain way; rather, it may be a matter of discretion and risk assessment. This means that one must consider whether or not the structure could be damaged by the works, as well as whether or not the adjoining entrepreneur is likely to object if no notice is served. Please note that this refers to any “structure” in general, not a “party structure,” as described in the questions that came before this one.

How can I determine whether or not the depth of my excavation will be greater than that of my neighbours’ foundations?

A: The depth of the foundations for an addition will typically be at least one metre deep. If you are in the process of building an addition. If you are building next to a building that was constructed before the 1950s or is a small or simple construction, it is likely to have foundations that are shallower. It’s possible that the foundations of more contemporary homes are at depths that are comparable to what you’re considering. If it is unclear how deep the neighbours’ foundations are, you can ask them for permission to dig a test hole against the wall to expose and measure their depth.

You can do this if you are unsure how deep the neighbours’ foundations are. Keep in mind that once they review the foundation excavations, the building control inspector for your local authority may urge you to build deeper foundations. This could force you to comply with the Act even though doing so wasn’t necessary during the design and planning stage. When in doubt, it is best to err on the side of caution and presume that you are required to serve an excavation notice in accordance with Section 6 nonetheless in order to avoid a delay in the future. You have the option of doing this on your own, or we may do it for you.

Who exactly are the “Owners” who are granted rights by the Act?

A: According to the Act, an Owner is anyone who has an interest in the property, regardless of whose side they are on. This could be a freeholder, a leaseholder, or even a renter, provided that the length of their lease or tenancy is greater than one year. In the event that a single building contains all three or more of these features, there may be a need to confer numerous awards upon it. A buyer of the property could potentially be included in this if the parties have already exchanged contracts on it. The owner of the building where the renovations are taking place is referred to as the Building Owner, while the owners of the adjacent properties are known as the Adjoining Owners.

What exactly is an award known as the Party Wall Award?

A: An Award is nothing more than a legal agreement that binds the owners to certain undertakings. This means that the Adjoining Owner must consent to the works, and the Building Owner must make good any damage to the Adjoining Owner’s building and ensure that their contractor adheres to certain rules that have been agreed upon. The award makes reference to the designs of the proposed works as well as the schedule of existing conditions.

What exactly is meant by the term “Schedule of Condition”?

A Schedule of Condition is a record of the Adjoining Owner’s property at a certain point in time prior to the beginning of the work. It includes both a descriptive and photographic account of the property. It can be utilised in the future to validate or refute any claims that the works caused damage or defect in the property of the Adjoining Owner. This is because it can be used to determine if the damage or defect was caused by the works.

Who among us is qualified to act as the surveyor?

A: The surveyor does not need to be affiliated with the project or the parties. They might be anyone. They cannot be a member of the same family as any of the owners, nor can they be somebody who stands to earn or lose by the job, since this would create a conflict of interest. In spite of the fact that the surveyor might legally be anyone off the street, it is better to engage a qualified experienced party wall surveyor because the procedure can quickly become a long and expensive mess if it is not done properly.

There are going to be problems that require an expert level of comprehension of the technical architectural aspects. In the same vein as the last section, you need to carefully study all of your choices and evaluate multiple surveyors before deciding on one. The majority of trustworthy surveyors will provide you with a free allotment of time over the phone to initially explore the possibilities available to you and their service. You usually get what you pay for, and low-cost party wall surveyors offering fixed prices typically deliver the bare minimum of service.

A: Is it possible for us to only have one surveyor?

A: Each party has the option of hiring their own surveyor or coming to an agreement with the other party to share a single surveyor, who is referred to as the Qualified Surveyor. It is the responsibility of the Authorized Surveyor to behave in a way that is fair to all parties; the Act and the wall are his top priorities. There is no necessity for an adjoining owner to consent to the initial consultation of a consented surveyor; however, you may continue to believe that the surveyor would have a conflict of interest, especially if they are involved in the work, such as the designer.

Despite this, you are not forced to conform to the initial consultation of an agreed assessor. The Adjoining Owner has the right to insist on working with their very own independent surveyor. Note that an Agreed Consultant cannot be utilised in this scenario because the Adjoining Owner did not respond to the notice or declined to engage a surveyor. In this case, the Act allows for a second, distinct surveyor to be appointed for the Adjoining Owner.

Who is responsible for paying the surveyors?

A: In most cases, the Building Owner who is carrying out the work is the one who is responsible for paying the fees of either the Designated Surveyor or both surveyors. In most cases, the surveyors will include a note to this effect in the Award (agreement) that they provide. If the Adjoining Owner were to seek a variety of additional surveying, tests, or monitoring that the surveyors believed was beyond reasonable demands, they may apportion those fees to be paid by the Adjoining Owner. Alternatively, the surveyors may refuse the request.

In general, how long does it take to complete the Party Wall process?

A: The Party Wall Award process typically takes between four and six weeks to complete, given that both the Building Owner and the Adjoining Owner are cooperative and that the Building Owner has all of the necessary designs and information ready. When there are two surveyors working on a project, the procedure will often go at a little slower pace than it would with only one Authorized Surveyor. If communication and documentation are slow or if there is a specific point of disagreement, it may take as long as three months on occasion.

The party wall procedure can go on for at least six months or even longer in extremely unusual circumstances, such as when there are significant disagreements on various technical and legal grounds. It is important to be aware that there are statutory notice periods that must pass before any works can be performed on the property. The notice periods for Line of Junction and Excavation work (constructing a new wall on the border) are both one month long, whereas the notice periods for Party Structure work (alterations to an existing wall) are two months long.

These times can be shortened if an initial date is expressly provided to by the Adjoining Owner; however, a Party Wall Award cannot lower it unless the Adjoining Owner directly agrees to an earlier date. Because there is a statutory 14-day appeal period after an Award is served, it is recommended that work not begin until after this period of time has also gone. It is to your advantage to serve your initial notice as quickly as possible.

My neighbours next door recently submitted a planning application for construction, therefore I was surprised to get a letter from a firm of surveyors informing me that I need to comply with the Party Wall Act.

A number of surveying companies keep an eye on the local newspapers for any new planning notices that may have been published by the planning departments of local councils in response to planning applications. These companies then write letters to all of the neighbours in the area in the hopes of obtaining work as party wall surveyors. These letters typically include the heading “PARTY WALL ETC. ACT 1996,” and some of them are worded in a forceful manner, insinuating that you are obligated to appoint them to manage the matter. In all actuality, you have the discretionary power to select whichever party wall surveyor you want to serve as your adjoining owner’s surveyor.

If you are an adjoining owner, hiring a surveyor to defend your interests typically does not cost you anything because the individual who is really carrying out the work typically pays for all of the fees. As is the case with the vast majority of unsolicited proposals, you need to carefully study all of your choices and evaluate a number of different surveyors before deciding on one. You usually get what you pay for, and low-cost party wall surveyors offering fixed prices typically deliver the bare minimum of service. The majority of trustworthy surveyors will provide you with a free allotment of time over the phone to initially explore the possibilities available to you and their service.

If my relationship with my neighbour is good, should I still comply with the Party Wall Act even though we get along well?

A: Adjoining Owners have the option to simply agree to the work with the Building Owner when they issue notice of it. In the event that something goes wrong, this offers them and their building very little to no protection. The proposals have not been reviewed by a seasoned technical surveyor who has been assigned to look for and call attention to problems that may harm the homes that are adjacent to the development. In the case that the building sustains damage, the Adjoining Owner may be required to file a lawsuit against the Building Owner and present proof in support of their claim that the harm was caused by their activity.

This process may be time-consuming and expensive. In a similar vein, the owner of a building has no grounds to stand on when defending themselves against a claim for damage that was in fact already present. It is usually ideal for the protection of both parties to have a formal party wall process done by qualified surveyors, leading to a party wall Award with a schedule of condition. This will ensure that everyone’s rights are respected.

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