Icon Surveyors are Party Wall surveying specialists who undertake a variety of surveying services throughout the South East of England.
Icon Surveyors are here to help you understand the range of works that the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 applies to. With that in mind, please find below some examples of common types of work covered by the party wall act that our surveyors have previously dealt with.
Party Fence Walls (Garden Wall Works)
The rules relating to Garden Walls can be found under section 2 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. As referred to Act a Party Fence Wall is a structure that separates the boundary lines between two or more adjoining properties.
From past experience, it would appear that many property owners are not aware of the restrictive measures that were put in place for works being directly carried out to garden walls. One such measure is the requirement that a property owner intending to carry out any works to a garden wall or structure must, prior to the commencement of any work, serve a Party Wall Notice, to their adjoining neighbour(s). Failure to comply with this requirement has in the past, proved to be a punitive and costly experience for many property owners.
The procedures as described above can be both confusing and time-consuming. This is particularly so if for one reason or another such procedures have been unheeded by other parties that a building owner uses prior to the works beginning. For example, an architect or design team. To save costs and/or any delay to the commencement of the proposed works, Icon Surveyors would advise that both building and adjoining owners ensure that they put in place, any party wall procedures as required by the Act, as early as possible.
Removal of Chimney Breasts
Removal of a chimney breast is a very common type of work. It should however be noted that the Act only applies to build and adjoining owners who intend to remove a chimney breast from semi-detached or terraced property.
This type of building work often engages several parts of the Act and is likely to encompass both a Party Wall Notice and Party Wall Award to an adjoining neighbour. The Act requires that within a specified time frame and prior to the commencement of any works a Party Wall Notice must be served by a building owner(s) on the adjoining owner(s). If an adjoining owner objects and/or requests security for expenses under section 12 of the Act, a Party Wall Award is likely to be granted. Icon surveyors would advise any property owner who is aware of any proposed work involving the removal of a chimney breast to contact an experienced party wall surveyor to discuss the matter further.
Due to high costs and the shortage of living space in large cities like London, many property owners are utilizing the basement area of their properties. As the risks, pertaining to a basement conversion is at the higher end of risk assessment of any future Party Wall damage that may be caused when carrying out such works it engages many sections of the Party Wall etc. Act.
It is therefore more probable than not, that a party wall surveyor will have to provide services that include advising site engineers, advising and/or negotiating security for expenses and monitoring movement. For this reason, Icon Surveyors would be happy to provide advice to any owner that is may become an engagement party to prospective basement conversion.
Rear and Side Extensions
Rear and side extensions are the creation of new structures to an already existing building. All buildings are built upon foundations. Foundations are the lower part of the structure and are used to provide a firm footing by distributing the weight of the new structure evenly.
As rear and side extensions are new structures foundations are required. In England, under the building regulations, there is a minimum requirement of 1 metre in depth for high-risk areas (inner city). However, if there were, or are, trees nearby, depths of up to 3 metres may be required.
Any party who proposes to carry out a basement conversion in a property whose adjoining neighbour is within 6 metres of the adjoining owner is required to serve a Party Wall Notice under section 6 of the Act. In addition, it is likely that a Party Wall Award, under section 12 of the Act will need to be agreed and served prior to the commencement of any works. For this reason, Icon surveyors would invite any owners who are considering carrying out basement conversions or adjoining owners who have been notified of such proposed works, to contact us to discuss the matter further.
Loft conversions are very common. Like many structural renovations, loft conversions require a considerable amount of planning under the building regulations applicable in England and Wales, which must be complied with. Such works, if carried out in semi-detached or terraced properties usually encompass the Party Wall between neighbouring properties to become exposed. In order to ensure that the added weight of the loft conversion is supported, steel beams are inserted into the Party Wall.
Therefore, not only will a building owner be required to comply with the applicable building regulations, under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, they are also required to serve a Party Wall Notice, within a specified time limit, prior to the commencement of any works. In addition, when carrying out works of this type, it is not unusual for further requirements under the Act, to come into play.
Like most legislation, the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is complex and can be difficult to comprehend. For this reason, Icon Surveyors would be more than happy to assist both building and adjoining owners who are planning to carry out any of the building works that we have highlighted in this or any other of our explanatory sections.
Please don’t hesitate to call us on 020 7493 9087 OR just drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.