Party Wall Agreement

In this blog post, Icon Surveyors will be discussing what is a Party Wall Agreement and whether you can do it yourself or not.

First, we will discuss...

What is a Party Wall Agreement?

A Party Wall Agreement is a legally binding document under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 governs works that are considered notifiable works under the Act. When breaking down the works relating to the Act it is mainly referring to the ‘Party Wall’ or ‘Party Structure/Party Fence Wall’ between 2 separate properties, typically within terraced properties or semi-detached properties and sometimes between separate apartments. The ‘etc’ aspect of the Act was added later on and is used to reference ‘notifiable’ works under Section 6 of the Party Wall etc Act 1996 which refers to the excavation and filling of new foundations within 3/6 metres of an adjoining owner’s property.

Why the Party Wall Agreement is Needed?

The purpose of a Party Wall Agreement is to govern any ‘notifiable’ building works and minimise any disruptions to an adjoining owner. It also legally protects the adjoining owner from any damage occurring in relation to the notifiable works and can also protect the building owner carrying out the works from any negligent claims the adjoining owner may make.

Within the Party Wall Agreement, you will find clauses referring to the timings the contractors are allowed to work until, the type of tools that can be used if applicable to the party wall, compensation if damage arises as well as many more. The document itself is usually compiled of the legal document with the relevant clauses, an inspection report of the adjoining owner’s property prior to any works commencing and any associated architects plans and Structural plans from the structural engineer. 

Who can do a Party Wall Agreement?

A Party Wall Agreement cannot be produced by the building owner carrying out works nor the neighbour to the works as a conflict of interest arises and the impartiality of the ‘appointed surveyors’ comes into question. Therefore, whilst you don’t necessarily need to be qualified to be a Party Wall Surveyor and produce a Party Wall Agreement; anyone other than the interested parties (building owner and adjoining owner) can in fact technically be the appointed Party Wall Surveyor and produce a Party Wall Agreement.

Whilst this is true, it is advisable that a building owner or adjoining owner selects a Party Wall Surveyor with some experience and accreditations to ensure their interests are best protected. The role of that appointed surveyor can take several paths when a dissent occurs under the Party Wall etc Act.

If a notice is served and an adjoining owner chooses to select their own surveyor then the appointed building owner surveyor will need to attend the site to carry out a Schedule of Condition Inspection and produce and agree a Party Wall Agreement with the appointed adjoining owner’s surveyor; note that both surveyors will need to come to an agreement, sign and serve the award to the respective owners.

If however, the adjoining owner chooses to select an Agreed Surveyor, they are agreeing to use the same surveyor as the building owner's surveyor. Whilst it is the same party wall surveyor, the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 states that any appointed surveyor must act impartially and not take sides when appointed. This ensures that the integrity of the buildings remain intact.

Icon Surveyors

We are a team of party wall surveying experts based throughout London and the surrounding areas. Here, we share informative property survey blogs created by industry experts.