When building or renovating a property, it is essential to comply with the Party Wall Act of 1996. This act is put in place to safeguard the rights of both building owners and adjacent property owners. It is essential to understand what the Party Wall Act entails, the process involved, and the consequences of not complying with it.
What Is the Party Wall Act?
The Party Wall Act of 1996 is a UK law that regulates construction work that affects shared walls or boundaries between properties. This act applies to residential and commercial properties, and it is essential to comply with its provisions before starting any construction work.
The act defines a party wall as any wall that separates two properties, including garden walls and fences. It also includes any structure on the boundary line between two properties. The Party Wall Act also covers works carried out on a party wall or boundary, including excavation and construction of foundations.
What Is the Process Involved in the Party Wall Act of 1996?
If you are planning to carry out construction work that falls under the Party Wall Act, you must follow the correct procedure. The process involves serving a notice to your neighbouring property owners, outlining the proposed works, and giving them time to respond.
The notice should be served at least two months before the proposed start date of the work. The notice should include the following information:
- The name and address of the building owner carrying out the work
- The address of the property where the work will take place
- A description of the proposed works
- The proposed start date of the work
Once you have served the notice, your neighbours have 14 days to respond. If they agree to the proposed works, you can proceed with the construction work. However, if your neighbours disagree, the next step is to appoint a party wall surveyor.
A party wall surveyor is an independent expert who is responsible for resolving disputes between building owners. You and your neighbours can agree on one surveyor who will act impartially, or you can each appoint your surveyor. In the latter case, the two surveyors will nominate a third surveyor who will serve as an arbitrator.
The surveyor will then prepare a party wall agreement that outlines the proposed works and how they will be carried out. This agreement will include details of the condition of the party wall before the works start, the proposed method of construction, and how any damage caused by the works will be repaired.
What Will Happen If Building Owners Do Not Comply?
If you carry out construction work under the Party Wall Act without following the correct procedure, you risk facing legal action. Your neighbours can seek an injunction to stop the work or claim damages if the work causes damage to their property.
If you do not serve a notice before carrying out the work, your neighbours can also apply for an award under the Party Wall Act. An award is a legal document that sets out the rights and responsibilities of each party and how the works will be carried out. If your neighbours apply for an award, you must pay their legal fees.
It is also worth noting that failing to comply with the Party Wall Act can affect the sale of your property in the future. Most buyers will want to see evidence that any construction work carried out on the property complies with the act. If you cannot provide this evidence, it may affect the sale of your property.
Complying with the Party Wall Act is essential when constructing work that affects shared walls or boundaries. The act is in place to protect the rights of both building owners and neighbouring property owners. It is important to follow the correct procedure outlined in the act and serve a notice to your neighbours, outlining the proposed works.
If your neighbours do not agree to the proposed works, you will need to appoint a party wall surveyor to resolve the dispute. Failing to comply with the act can result in legal action and affect the sale of your property in the future. Therefore, it is essential to seek advice from a qualified surveyor before carrying out any construction work that falls under the Party Wall Act.
Do you need certified surveyors in North London? Contact us today at Icon Surveyors and work with our party wall experts. Request a callback and get a free quote today!