A Party Wall Agreement, also known as a Party Wall Award, serves as a legally binding document that delineates the rights and obligations of property owners when they share a common wall, boundary, or structure. Its primary purpose is to address construction or renovation activities that have the potential to affect the structural integrity of the shared wall or boundary.
The responsibility of initiating the Party Wall Agreement process rests with the party proposing the construction work (the building owner). It’s their duty to notify their neighbours about the proposed work and to provide them with a Party Wall Notice.
The principal parties involved encompass the building owner proposing the construction work and the adjoining owners who share the party wall. In certain circumstances, a third-party surveyor may also play a role in resolving disputes.
To serve a Party Wall Notice, you must furnish a written notice to your neighbours, outlining the proposed work, its potential impact, and a timetable for commencement. The notice should be dispatched at least two months before the scheduled work.
If your neighbour dissents or doesn’t respond within 14 days of receiving the Party Wall Notice, a dispute is considered to have arisen. In such cases, both parties are required to appoint a surveyor or mutually agree on the selection of a single “agreed surveyor” to address the dispute.
Typically, the costs related to the Party Wall Agreement process, including surveyor fees, are shouldered by the building owner initiating the work. However, in the event of a dispute, the neighbouring owner may be responsible for their own surveyor’s fees.
The timeline for completing the Party Wall Agreement process is variable and depends on factors such as the complexity of the proposed work, the level of cooperation among the involved parties, and the emergence of disputes. In general, the process may span several months.
Initiating construction without a necessary Party Wall Agreement can lead to legal repercussions and disputes with your neighbours. In such instances, you may be compelled to halt the work until the agreement is in place and may also face financial penalties.
Following the conclusion of a Party Wall Agreement, construction work can proceed in accordance with the stipulations outlined in the agreement. This entails adhering to the agreed-upon terms and conditions to safeguard the safety and structural integrity of the shared wall or boundary.
As a rule, a Party Wall Agreement remains valid indefinitely, provided that the specified construction work is executed within the designated time frame. If there are any subsequent alterations or new proposals, a fresh Party Wall Agreement may be necessary.