This blog is not an authoritative interpretation of the law; it is intended as a general guide.
In this blog, Icon Surveyor’s will consider what a Foundation Detail is and when notice of such detail is legally required.
What is a Foundation Detail?
In the simplest of terms a ‘Foundation Detail’ is a description of what type of foundation is being proposed, where it will sit, what materials are being used, and what safeguards are being put in place for all or any owners whose properties are adjacent to that of the proposed foundation.
When is Notice under The Party Wall ect. Act 1996, required?
In order to build a foundation, the ground upon which the foundation is to be built, must be excavated. Whether the Act applies or not can only be determined by the detailed plans put forward by the building owner who proposes to carry out the works.
Under, The Party Wall etc. Act 1996, section 6(1) provides that section 6 applies to a building owner who intends to excavate or put up a building structure that when measured horizontally is within 3 metres of any part of an adjoining owners land or building and such proposals will also include an excavation that is deeper than the existing foundations of the adjoining owners building or structure.
Under section 6(2) of the Act a building owner has a legal obligation to provide a detailed Notice to any adjoining owner whose property is horizontally within 6 meters of “any part of a building or structure belonging to any adjoining owner and any part of the proposed excavation building or structure will within those six meters meet a plane drawn downwards in the direction of the excavation, building or structure of the building owner at an angle of forty-five degrees to the horizontal from the line formed by the intersection of the plane of the level of the bottom of the foundations of the building or structure of the adjoining owner with the plane of the external face of the external wall of the building or structure of the adjoining owner.”
If the Act applies to a building owner, a Notice under section 6(5) must be served on every adjoining owner that may be affected by the works. In other words, building owners whose proposed works fall within either the 3 or 6 meter rule have a statutory duty to serve a detailed Notice on any affected adjoining owner.
Section 6(5) provides that a building owner who intends to carry out any of the specified works under section 6, must, at least one month prior to commencement of the works serve a notice on all adjoining owners stating what works s/he intends to carry out and whether there is an intention to underpin, strengthen or safeguard the foundations of the works being proposed. The Notice must be accompanied by plans showing the situ of the intended site, the depth of the excavation that is being proposed and whether there is an intention to erect a structure or building.
An adjoining owner has 14 day from the date of service of the Notice to respond to it. The adjoining owner may consent or disagree with the proposed works. However, an adjoining owner who fails to respond within the statutory time period will be deemed to have dissented thereby causing an automatic dispute to have arisen in accordance with section 10 of the Act. In other words, unless the adjoining owner consents within 14 days of the Notice being served, the building owner may not commence any of the proposed works until a Party Wall Agreement/Award has been issued in accordance with the Act.
Icon Surveyors are happy to provide a free consultation to any building or adjoining owners who may be affected by the subject matter raised in this blog.