Party Wall procedures are governed by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. Like many pieces of legislation, the devils in the detail. For that Reason, Icon Surveyors felt it would be useful for those visiting our site if we explained in simple terms what these procedures are and how they are executed.
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996, is the statutory structure that was set up to prevent or resolve any disputes that may arise from works involving party walls, party structures, boundary walls and excavations. It is therefore imperative that the legislative procedures provided by the Act are carried out with precision as failure to comply with such provisions can result in unnecessary delays and expenses.
Party Wall Notices and Service
Any building owner who intends to carry out works to a building or on land that relates to party walls, structures, boundary walls or excavations has a statutory obligation to serve, in advance, a Party Wall Notice on all adjoining owner(s). This is to notify the adjoining owner(s) of the works that the building owner intends to carry out. An adjoining owner has the legal right to respond to the notice and can either consent to the works being done or reject all or any part of the proposed work.
Should the adjoining owner(s) agree to the intended works being carried out then, under the provisions of the Act, the neighbours have reached what is commonly termed as a Party Wall Agreement? If however, an adjoining owner dissents to any of the prospective works being carried out, the building owner is legally required to pay for all instructed Party Wall Surveyor(s).
Appointment of Party Wall Surveyors
If an adjoining owner does not consent to the works being carried out by the building owner, under the provisions of the Act, the parties are legally required to appoint an agreed joint Party Wall Surveyor to resolve any disputes and draw up a Party Wall Award. In the alternative, if the parties are unable to agree the appointment of a single surveyor, each is entitled to appoint their own independent surveyor, who will work together to draw up a Party Wall Award. In the event of a dispute arising between the two appointed surveyors’, the Act provides for a third Party Wall Surveyor to be appointed.
Schedule of Condition Report
Once a surveyor or indeed surveyors have been appointed a site visit and inspection will be scheduled with either or both of the concerned parties. Prior to any commencement of the intended works, the surveyor will take Photographs and notes recording the condition of either or both of the owner’s properties. These are used to compile a Schedule of Condition Report. The report is vital to any post-completion of works inspection as the surveyor will be able to assess whether any damage has been caused as a result of any of the agreed works.
Party Wall Award
After the Schedule of Condition has been compiled, the Party Wall surveyor(s) will enter into negotiations to agree the terms of the Party Wall Award. This legal document contains the rights and legal obligations of both parties, including the works being carried out, the time and manor of the proposed works and any liability with regard to any damage caused by any of the works. Drawings, method statements, documents for security for expenses and a Schedule of Condition may also be contained within the Award.
As the provisions of the Act legally oblige the parties to obtain a Party Wall Agreement, be it a simple Agreement or a Party Wall Award, Icon Surveyors would recommend any building or adjoining owner that is contemplating carrying out any works covered by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, or is currently entwined in such works to seek the help of a qualified, experienced and trustworthy Party Wall Surveyor.
Icon Surveyors would be happy to discuss any matters of concern regarding Party Wall Works that you may have as either a building or adjoining owner.