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Party Wall etc Act 1996

If you are about to, or intend to carry out work to your property, there are certain works which fall under the Act. You may very well have a Statutory Duty to serve notice on the adjoining owners. 

We cover the whole of Kent

                      Does the Party Wall etc. Act affect you?                                


DO YOU INTEND TO CARRY OUT WORK WHICH INVOLVES:



● Work on an existing wall, ceiling or floor structure shared with another property?

● Building on or at the boundary with another property?

● Excavating near a neighbouring building or structure?



If so, you must find out whether the work falls within the scope of the Act. 

If it does you must serve the statutory notice on all those defined in the Act


(It's a good idea to serve notice before you make a Planning Application or your neighbours will receive letters from other surveyors encouraging them to dissent and appoint them).


Party Walls or Party Structures are defined as one of the below


    ●    A wall that ‘straddles’ the boundary line between two premises is a party

         wall, even if it has not been built against and does not form a part of the

         neighbour’s building. 


    ●    A wall that divides two premises and forms a part of the structure of both is

         a party wall. This applies even if only part of the wall forms a part of the  

         structure. 


    ●    A flank wall of a building that has been built against is a party wall to the

         extent that both premises use it. This means part of the wall can be a party    

        wall and part might not be. This is the case even if the enclosure was done

       after the building was originally built.


    ●    A garden wall straddling the boundary is called a Party Fence Wall — repair

         costs will be shared under the Act.


   ●    Other parts of a building may be party structures and need similar process

        and notices — for instance the floor between two flats is a party structure.



Determining if a particular building project is within the scope of the Act is often

more complex than simply checking the general criteria stated above. Failure to

correctly identify the status of your project could result in the building works

being unlawful. If you are in any doubt you should always seek professional advice.


As a Party Wall Surveyor I can:


●  advise on the correct Party Wall process



●  Serve Party Wall Notices


   act as your appointed Surveyor


    also act impartially as the Agreed Surveyor for both parties (Building Owner     

     and Adjoining Owner).


    prepare a Schedule of Condition


    legally agree Party Wall Awards (or as they are commonly referred to as 'Party

     Wall Agreements').



Information provided for notice:

Our Notices are prepared based upon the drawings and information provided to us
by the Building Owner or their consultant(s).

We do not automatically make a prior inspection to verify the drawings and we will make enquiries and reasonable assumptions to obtain any information which is not provided but we cannot be responsible for any losses that may arise from any defects with the notices arising from errors or omissions in the information provided. If requested to do so we will make a prior inspection but this would incur an additional fee. 

If structural engineering drawings are not available, to assist and for no additional fee, we will annotate designers drawings to show information relating to excavation depths necessary to validate a Notice of Adjacent Excavation. We will do this based on our judgement but we will not accept responsibility for any losses arising from this, therefore, if this risk is to be avoided notices should not be served until adequate engineering information is available.


The Party Wall Act requires that notice be served on any person who has a tenancy agreement of more than 1 year and such tenants would not be listed on the Land Registry. We would serve notice on owners who are listed on the Land Registry and any other persons or entities that you advise us are owners. We would also make enquiries with freeholders when and if they respond to our notices but we would not accept responsibility for failing to serve notice on adjoining owners that, following the above process, we are not aware of. 


When a Notice is served on the neighbouring properties (Adjoining Owners) they have three options:

Option 1: Consent to the works, in which instance no further action is required,
although we would advise a Schedule of Condition is taken to record the
condition of the neighbouring property prior to the works commencing.

Option 2: Dissent to the notice, but agree upon the same surveyor as the 
individual(s) undertaking the works.

Option 3: Dissent to the notice and appoint their own surveyor. Under the Act, in most scenarios, the person(s) carrying out the works (building Owner) are responsible for the fees for the neighbours surveyor.

With options 2 and 3 a schedule of condition is produced of the neighbouring property which is in close proximity to the works. The schedule of condition acts as a record of the properties condition prior to the works commencing, if any damage is caused to the neighbouring property which is attributable to the notifiable works the Building Owner will be at liberty to make good. A Party Wall Award will also be produced which will lay out the rights and duties of the parties with regards to the party wall.

WE HAVE TRIED TO MAKE OUR FEE STRUCTURE AS STRAIGHTFORWARD AS POSSIBLE  BUT THE FEES DEPEND UPON THE TYPE OF WORKS PROPOSED AND THE NEIGHBOURS RESPONSE TO THE NOTICE.

Payment of fees:  Fees are payable in full upon delivery of the signed Party Wall Awards or Agreements (*even if a subsequent final inspection is included).                                                               
                                             See our Fee Structure here.

HELPFUL LINKS

You can use a Procedure Flow Chart which may be helpful in determining the approach you should take for your particular project.

You can of course serve the relevant documents on your neighbours yourself.        Use the example letters in the government's Party Wall booklet (PDF).                      Be sure to fill in the blanks correctly, otherwise the notice will not be valid.

Don't assume you know who owns the house next door. Get details of all the current legal owners from the Land Registry website.

You can get 30 minutes worth of free advice from the RICS helpline (020 7222 7000) and the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors (01424 883300). They may forward you to local members.

Regardless of who appoints the Surveyor, he is obliged by the Act to act impartially on behalf of both the building owner and adjoining owner.

It's the law!

Failure to comply with this legislation may result in the works being unlawful. If you are unsure you should seek professional advice.

Remember, we can provide a Schedule of Condition as a separate service if required.

We can be consulted for initial advice, appointed as either the Building Owner’s Surveyor, the Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor, or appointed as a joint Agreed Surveyor.



Party Wall Advice
I can answer your party wall questions if you email your question to enquiries@jbrownesurveys.co.uk

I would hope to eventually publish a collection of questions and answers on all things Party Wall related by way of helping others who may have similar queries.
I would urge you to include only the relevant information as short questions are much more likely to receive a quick response.  Please note that this is an Email ONLY service.

Unfortunately we cannot advise you on boundary disputes that you may be involved in as Party Wall Surveyors are restricted to party wall matters.


Mobirise

We are members of RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors), the CIOB (Chartered Institute of Building) and the FPWS (Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors), which means you can be confident of receiving sound advice and the highest standards of professional service before, during and after your project is complete.
Members of The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors have been trained and been
assessed for competence in party wall matters and are bound by the Faculty’s
Code of Conduct.

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