Party Wall Agreement for an Extension: Required Or Not?
In this blog, Icon Surveyors will be deliberating on the question as to when Party Wall Agreements are legally required to build an extension. It is worth noting that Party Wall Agreement under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, are referred to as, Party Wall Award.
The simple answer to this question is,
whether or not the foundations or external walls of the intended extension are, according to the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, within or up to the boundaries of the adjoining neighbour’s property.
To build an extension, the building owner will be required to excavate the land in order to lay the foundations for the proposed works. Under section 6(1) of the Party Wall etc. Act, any building owner who intends to excavate land in order to erect a building or structure that is within 3 horizontal metres of any part a building or structure owned by an adjoining owner will be required under section 6(5) of the Act, to serve a Party Wall Notice upon the adjoining owner at least one month prior to the commencement of any works to excavate. Such notice must include whether the building owner intends to underpin or otherwise strengthen or safeguard the foundations of the adjoining owners building or structure.
Under section 6(1), if you were to build a glass conservatory with shallow foundations (less than 6 meters), provided that the external walls are more than 3 horizontal meters from any part of the adjoining owners land, buildings or structures, a Party Wall Notice and/ or Agreement, is not required.
However, under section 6(2) of the Act, if the building owner proposes to excavate for and erect a building or structure that will meet a plane drawn downwards in the direction of the excavation of a building or a structure belonging to the building owner at a horizontal angle of 45 degrees from the line formed by the intersection of the plane on the level of the bottom of the foundations of the building or structure of an adjoining owner with the plane of the external face of the external wall of a building or structure belonging to an adjoining owner, the building owner will under section 6(5) of the Act be required to serve a Party Wall Notice upon the adjoining owner. Again, such notice must be served at least one month prior to any proposed works being commenced.
Under section 6(2), if a building owner were to build an extension with foundations that were less than 6 horizontal meters from the adjoining land, building or structure, a Party Wall Notice and/or Agreement, is not required.
Under section 6(6) of the Act, such notices must be accompanied by plans and sections that include where the proposed excavation site is going to be, its depth and whether the building owner intends to erect a building or structure on it.
A Party Wall Agreement is only required if the criteria of sections 6(1) or 6(2) of the Act have been met. Under section 6(7) once an adjoining owner has been served with a Party Wall Notice they have 14 days in which to consent to the proposed works. If this is complied with, an agreement will have been formed under the Notice.
If an adjoining owner fails to respond within the statutory time limit of 14 days of service of the notice, or, disagrees with the proposed works and conditions under the Notice, a Party Wall Agreement, also known as a Party Wall Award, will need to be drawn up by a surveyor.
Like all statutory provisions, unless you fully understand what is required of you, costly mistakes can easily occur! That’s why Icon Surveyors are happy to provide a free 30-minute consultation of impartial advice to anyone who is considering the building of an extension but is unsure as to whether or not a Party Wall Notice is required to be served on an adjoining owner, or, whether a Party Wall Agreement, will be needed.