Over the years we have been asked to clarify certain terms and wording within the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. In this blog post, though it would be useful to clarify the most common.
The Party Wall Surveyor
The Party Wall Act defines a party wall surveyor as, any person who is not a party to the matter, appointed under section 10 to determine disputes. A party wall surveyor mediates the dispute between owners. I.e. the building owner and adjoining owner.
The Party Wall Act defines a Building Owner as, a landowner or in some cases long term tenant who wishes to exercise rights under the Act. I.e. the party undertaking the planned work.
The Party Wall Act defines an Adjoining Owner as, a land or structure owner, in some cases long term tenant, who neighbours the planned works within the remit of the Act. I.e. the party neighbouring the planned construction work. Much like a building owner, the adjoining owner is both the leaseholder and freeholder.
The Third Surveyor
The third surveyor is an independent Surveyor agreed by both the building owner’s and adjoining owner’s surveyor. The third surveyor is only called upon if both appointed surveyors are in dispute. The third surveyor would then be called upon to settle the dispute in question.
A checking engineer is an independent engineer, appointed by Party Wall Surveyors to review the building owner’s plans, ensuring they pose the least amount of risk possible to the adjoining owner’s property. The fee for the Checking Engineer is paid by the building owner.
A party wall is a dividing partition between two adjoining buildings, this partition is shared by each of the residences or businesses.
Party Fence Wall
A party fence wall is a dividing exterior partition between two adjoining buildings, this partition is shared by each of the residences or businesses.
Type ‘A’ Party Wall
Type ‘A’ party walls form part of a building dividing the land of different owners, to a greater extent than the projection of any artificially formed support on which the wall rests. In practice, these are walls separating houses. I.e. terraced and semi-detached houses, that have been built to be in shared ownership.
Type ‘B’ Party Wall
Type ‘B’ Party Walls, form part of a building dividing the land of different owners, these are not original Party Walls however, through enclosure they have formed as Party Walls.
When the term “Notifiable Works” is used, it relates to construction works being undertaken by a building owner, that fall within the remit of the Act, meaning a Party Wall Notice is required to be served on adjoining owners.
This is a formal document served upon neighbouring properties considered to be adjoining owners, within the remit of the Party Wall Act. The notices must contain the relevant requirements of the Act in order to be deemed valid.
When an adjoining owner, consents to a Party Wall Notice. They are confirming they do not wish to invoke the Party Wall Process. Over the years we have seen many consents, turn into the issue at a later date. A great way to avoid further claims or issues if consenting, is to have a schedule of conditions undertaken.
When an adjoining owner, dissents to a Party Wall Notice. They are confirming they wish to invoke the Party Wall Process and require Surveyor input.
A dispute is a term written within the Act, in essence, this refers to an adjoining owner dissenting to a notice. This basically means the owner wishes to invoke the Party Wall procedures and a Surveyor will be appointed to assist in agreeing terms within a Party Wall Award.
Party Wall Award
A Party Wall Award is a legal document that confirms provisions for the planned construction works. Once all of the provisions are agreed upon by the appointed Surveyors, the Award will be served on the relevant parties and the works will be able to commence.
Schedule of Condition
A schedule of conditions also known as a ‘SOC’ is a photographic record of the properties condition, prior to the commencement of planned construction works. This is then used to refer back to, in the event of damage being caused or claimed.
Security for Expenses
Security for expenses is a sum of money the building owner must put into an escrow account; this sum is requested by the adjoining owner and will be used in the case the works are left uncomplete or significant damage is caused.
Here at Icon Surveyors, we specialise in Party Wall matters and are always happy to help. If you are undertaking works or your neighbour has just served a Party Wall Notice upon you, get in touch 020 7493 9087 with one of our Party Wall Experts, for your free consultation!