Thinking of building a large supermarket near to existing property or a simple home extension?
Whatever you are building – Don’t forget the Party Wall etc Act 1966.
Just because you have obtained planning permission and building control approval for your project does not remove the need to comply with the Party Wall Act where it is applicable.
The Party Wall etc Act 1966 covers:-
- Section 1 – New construction on a boundary (line of junction)
- Section 2 – Works affecting a Party Wall
- Section 6 – Works that could undermine a neighbouring properties foundations. (3 / 6 metre rules)
Some people think that the Party Wall Act is designed to prevent neighbours / neighbouring Businesses from carrying out works to their properties.
This is not so.
The Party Wall Act is an enabling act, one that allows works to proceed and access to be made available to neighbours land as long as the works are carried out with the benefit of a Party Wall Award. (See below for more details)
The Party Wall Act places a legal duty upon any building owner proposing works that are covered by the Party Wall Act, to notify the adjoining owners of their intentions.
Depending on the type of work being carried out, the notice must be served at least one month (two months under Section 2) prior to the date the work is due to start.
It is important to note that failure to serve a valid notice or to serve one in time, can lead to your neighbours requesting an injunction to prevent works being carried out. This sort of action can cause a significant delay to the works.
Delays can also lead to financial claims from the Building Contractor for disruption to their contracts.
Once you have served a party wall notice upon your neighbour he/she has 14 days in which to respond in writing. If he/she dissents from the party wall notice or does not respond to you within the 14 days then a difference is deemed to have arisen between the parties.
This means that both you and your neighbour must appoint party wall surveyors under section 10 of the Party Wall Act You can either jointly agree upon a single party wall surveyor or you can each appoint different party wall surveyors.
Party Wall Award
The party wall surveyors will prepare a fair and impartial party wall award which will deal with the right to execute the party wall works, the time and manner of executing any party wall work, and any other matter that arises between the parties connected to the party wall works. In all normal circumstances the party wall surveyors will prepare a report, called a “schedule of condition”, of the neighbouring property before works start in order to protect the interests of both parties in the event of a later claim for damages.
Party Wall Costs
Usually the building owner proposing the works will pay all party wall costs associated with drawing up the party wall awards if the works are solely for his/her benefit.