The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 regulates construction work on or in close proximity to the boundary between adjoining or adjacent properties. The Act provides a procedural framework to facilitate construction works and protect adjacent structures.
As party wall specialists, MSA can offer all the assistance and advice needed to ensure that the procedures of the Act are properly dealt with in a timely and thorough manner, whether acting as the appointed surveyor for the building owner, or the adjoining owner or as an agreed surveyor.
MSA have administered and extensive number of party wall matters ranging from simplistic domestic works to large and complex developments. Some examples of works that would fall under the Act include:
- Excavations works for domestic extensions, new builds, retaining walls, underpinning, basements and piling
- Cutting into or away from party structures to facilitate the removal of chimneybreasts, insertion of steel beams, loft conversions, rearrangement of internal layouts, wholescale refurbishment and adaptation of buildings
- Constructing new walls at boundaries whether wholly on one side or as a new party wall shared between the owners to form a rear extension.
The process starts with service of specific notices under the Act by the building owner carrying out the works or a surveyor on their behalf. It is very important to ensure that these notices are accurately served to ensure the subsequent process is valid. MSA provide a very cost effective notice writing service please click on our Notice Writing Service tab for more information.
In response to a notice an adjoining owner has the right to consent to the works, dissent and appoint an independent surveyor or dissent and appoint an Agreed Surveyor.
If surveyors are appointed the relevant structural works will be reviewed with reference to drawings, engineering details, method statements, etc., where appropriate.
The surveyors will also carry out a schedule of condition of the adjoining owner’s property within the vicinity of the works to record any current defects. This provides a useful reference point in the event that there is an allegation of damage.
The culmination of the process is the service of a party wall Award. An Award is a legally binding agreement which sets out the rights and duties of the parties in order to facilitate the works and safeguard the neighbouring property. The Award addresses matters such as confirmation of the notifiable works, protection measures, access requirements, timings of works, allocating costs and more.
Usually towards the completion of the works a re-inspection of the adjoining owner’s property is carried out to confirm if damage has or has not occurred.
In many cases party wall matters can progress smoothly, especially when neighbourly relations are amicable. However there are instances where potential issues arise requiring the expertise of an experienced surveyor such as works undertaken without notice, damage to property, works to the boundary, access, enclosure costs, security of expenses and more.
Whether a building owner, adjoining owner or representative consultant, please feel free to call one our experienced surveyors for further advice.
Please click on our News and Resources page for downloadable material on the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.