How Long Party Wall Agreement Lasts

In Part 1 of this blog, Icon Surveyors will be focusing on the question as to what Party Wall Award is and how long such an Award will be legally valid before a building owner is no longer entitled to commence with the proposed works.

A Party Wall Award is a document that is required, under section 10 of the Act, to be drawn up by either; a single joint surveyor that has been appointed by both the building owner and an adjoining owner; by two surveyors, each appointed to represent an interested party (adjoining owner or building owner); or a single surveyor appointed by two surveyors each of whom represent an interested party.

Such an Award is statutory in its nature and is required to be raised if, under the Act, a dispute is deemed to have arisen.

There are Two Ways a Dispute may arise under the Party Wall Act

  • The first is an adjoining owner’s failure to respond within the statutory time frame of 14 days after receiving a Party Wall Notice from a building owner.
  • The second is an adjoining owner’s failure to consent or disagreement to all or any of the works being carried out as prescribed in the Party Wall Notice.

A Party Wall Award is designed to iron out the disputes raised by one party (the adjoining owner) in order to allow the other party (building owner) to execute their rights to build, construct, excavate and repair under the Act.

The statutory provisions pertaining to an Award act as a form of ‘dispute resolution’ and were put in place to ensure that all interested parties that are required by the Act to carry out certain mandatory actions are protected, in particular, an adjoining owner protections against any inconvenience that may be caused by a building owner invoking their rights under the Act. The Act further provides that the surveyor may make an Award for their reasonable costs.

Section 10(17) provides for an adjoining owner to appeal any of the terms of a Party Wall Award to a County Court within 14 days of its receipt. A surveyor is prohibited from making an Award allowing any works to commence before this period expires. Any Award made omitting an ‘owners’ statutory right to appeal would be deemed by the County Court as invalid for the simple reason that the surveyor in issuing such an Award; must have acted out with their statutory powers.

How Long are the Building Owner’s Rights Valid for Under a Party Wall Award?

According to the Act, a building owner must commence works within one year of the Award being deemed to have been validly served within the timeframes as provided by the Act.

That is to say if an Award is served and there are no disputes from either party, the date upon which the clock will start ticking will be 14 working days after the date of service.

This is because the Act provides that service of the Award is not only mandatory but that any recipient of the Award is afforded 14 days in which to raise an appeal of any of the terms and conditions within it at the County Court.

However, under the Act, any party to the Award can appeal the surveyor(s) decision or any of the terms and conditions therein to a County Court within 14 days of receipt of the Award. Therefore, should such an action be filed at the County Court by one of the parties to the Award, the clock would not start ticking until a final determination was made by the Court.

Litigation can be a long drawn out and costly exercise, Icon Surveyors would therefore suggest that such action is truly one of last resort. As Party Wall Awards can be tricky to negotiate, we at Icon Surveyors are happy to provide a free consultation of impartial advice to anyone who may be concerned or confused with any of the party wall matters discussed in this blog.

Additional Read:

My Neighbours are Moving: Do I need a Party Wall Agreement?

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.

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