Building work can be an exciting venture, but it’s essential to consider the potential impacts on your neighbours and adjoining property owners. If your project involves modifications, demolitions, excavations, or building against a shared party wall, you may fall under the scope of the Party Wall Act 1996. To navigate this process smoothly and avoid disputes, it is highly advisable to enlist the expertise of a Party Wall Surveyor.
Understanding the Party Wall and the Act
A party wall, as the name suggests, is a wall that provides benefits to two or more property owners. It can be a structural part of a building or a standalone wall dividing adjacent properties, like a garden wall. Although it may be located on your neighbour’s land, if it separates your properties, it is considered a party wall.
The Party Wall Act 1996 is designed to protect the interests of property owners while allowing for property development. It outlines the necessary arrangements when carrying out building work that affects a party wall, safeguarding the rights of both the property owner undertaking the work and the neighbour property owners.
The Act Covers Various Scenarios
The Party Wall Act covers three main scenarios: building a new wall on the boundary, working on an existing structure or party wall, and carrying out excavation work near a neighbouring building. If your project falls under any of these categories, you are obligated to follow the procedures outlined in the Act and may need a Party Wall surveyor to assist moving things forward.
Notify the Adjoining Owners
As the property owner planning the work, it is your responsibility to notify all adjoining owners about your intentions at least two months before commencing the project. This notification must include details of the proposed work, its anticipated start date, and any potential impacts it might have on the adjoining properties.
The Role of a Party Wall Surveyor
While many cases are resolved amicably between neighbours, disputes can sometimes arise. In such situations, appointing an “Agreed Surveyor” or Party Wall Surveyor becomes crucial. A Party Wall Surveyor is an impartial expert responsible for evaluating the proposed work, considering objections from the adjoining owners, and creating a legally binding Party Wall Award.
The Party Wall Award
The Party Wall Award is a formal document that outlines the specifics of the proposed work, including when it will be carried out and how long it will take. It may also include details of any additional work required to address the concerns of the adjoining owners. The Party Wall Surveyor ensures that the Award is fair and impartial, benefiting all parties involved.
Adjoining Owners Can Appoint Their Surveyor
To ensure complete impartiality, adjoining owners also have the option to appoint their own Party Wall Surveyor. This surveyor will work in conjunction with the Agreed Surveyor, facilitating communication and negotiations to reach a fair resolution.
Why Choose a Party Wall Surveyor?
Choosing an experienced Party Wall Surveyor can make a significant difference in the smooth execution of your building project. These professionals have the expertise to handle potential disputes, understand the intricacies of the Party Wall Act, and ensure compliance with legal requirements.
At Simmons Taylor Hall, our Party Wall Surveyors have a wealth of experience in dealing with various issues related to party wall-building work. We provide expert guidance and support to ensure a seamless building process while respecting the rights and concerns of all parties involved.
When undertaking building work that affects a party wall, adhering to the Party Wall Act 1996 is essential to maintain good relations with your neighbours and avoid disputes. Enlisting the services of a qualified Party Wall Surveyor can help you navigate the complexities of the Act, ensuring a fair and impartial resolution for all parties involved. So, before you begin your next building project, consider the benefits of having a Party Wall Surveyor by your side to ensure a successful and harmonious construction process.
For further information on who should pay for a party wall surveyor, check out this other article.