Amongst other professional services; Icon Surveyors specialize in Party Wall Agreement. Icon Surveyors team has therefore created a blog to help our clients or indeed our prospective clients navigate through a quagmire of questions relating to Party Wall Works and related topics that we have found are most commonly asked. If however, any reader does not find a specified question or answer on our blog or would like a more in-depth answer to specific questions they may have, Icon Surveyors would be more than happy to hear from you.
As part of this series of blogs, Icon Surveyors intends to elucidate our readers understanding of, Party Wall Agreement.
What is a Party Wall Agreement?
Party Wall Agreement is statutory in nature also known as Party Wall Award. It is therefore a legal document. To be precise, an agreement of this type will only arise if, under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, a dispute is deemed to have arisen between a building owner and all or any of the adjoining owners whose property interest may be affected by any works carried out under the Act.
Once a dispute is deemed to have arisen, a Party Wall Surveyor will be appointed to resolve the dispute that may have occurred. The terms or conditions that have been agreed by the parties will be incorporated into an agreement so that the building owners proposed works may commence.
Party Wall Agreements come in a standard format and must include details as specified under the Act. Though, depending on the complexity of the agreement reached by the parties this may vary as it sets out the rights and responsibilities of the building owner. However, all agreements under sections 10(2) & (13) of the Act will include a determination as to;
a) The right to execute any work,
b) The time and manner of executing any work; and
c) Any other matter arising out of or incidental to the dispute including the costs of making the agreement.
Incorporated within the above-stated requirements the parties should expect to find;
- Details of the proposed works being carried out. This will ordinarily include both a written description and any drawings that may have been required for the proposed works to be carried out. The drawings usually consist of any changes that are being proposed to be made to the building owner’s property, or, detailed drawings of works that will affect an adjoining owner’s property. When such drawings are included, the Agreement process is simplified in that a building owner must carry out the proposed works in accordance with the stipulated plans. If the building owner, without prior consent of the adjoining owner, were to breach the terms or conditions of the Agreement, the building owner would be liable to the adjoining owner for any damage or losses that occur as a direct result of the breach.
- The Party Wall Agreement will also include what is known as a Schedule of Condition Report. This document is the basis upon which an Award is determined. The written Report documents the pre-works condition of both of the owner’s properties. For example the condition of the walls or ceiling, whether there is any pre-existing damage etc. Included in the written Report will be photographic evidence.
- The Agreement may include other matters such as security bonds for any foreseeable damage that may occur, insurance or costs matters. There are a varied number of issues that may arise, too many to list here.
A Party Wall Agreement provides protection for all or any of the parties who have an interest in the proposed works. That is to say, should any damage or damage claim result from the works, the Party Wall Surveyor or the County Court as the case may be, will use the agreement and incorporated documents to determine what, if any damage, has been caused by the works.
If any of our readers are affected by any of the issues raised in this blog and would like further guidance, please call or email Icon Surveyors who will be happy to assist.