Recently, a question was raised regarding a Party Wall Act job, sparking an intriguing discussion.
Participants sought to establish what the expenses included in section 11(11) should secure if one owner re-constructs a fence under the Party wall Act, then another owner uses it in the future.
What does Section 11(11) State in the Party Wall Act?
Suppose a neighbour makes use of work done independently at the building owner’s expense. In that case, they (the neighbour) should cater for a certain percentage of the cost the building owner incurred when executing that particular work.
After the payment, the neighbour will be considered to have covered costs calculated based on the current market prices.
Party Wall Surveyors are tasked with assessing what the Party Wall Notice involves before determining the current cost of work.
The allocation we were debating on concerned a one-storied hind extension to a decked house in Fulham.
The adjoining owner had nearly five years before constructed an identical extension during which a 1500mm high-brick common barrier wall was demolished.
They would later re-construct it according to the Party Wall Act building regulations.
Now that the boundary was under the building regulation Act, the current owner was free to use it as a projected extension.
Seeing that the adjoining owner had appointed me as their Party Wall Surveyor, I collaborated with the building owner’s icon surveyors to discuss the following options.
Section 11 (11) Expenses would Depend on the Constructing Expenses as Follows:
- Covering the entire wall and the foundation
- Covering the entire wall minus the foundations
- Covering the entire wall but not the section where the initial Party Wall Fence lay
I proposed the first option, but the surveyor representing the building owner argued that option three would be ideal.
He claimed that it had been his option of choice for more than three years.
After a long phone call, we decided to consult a Third Party Wall Surveyor for an unofficial opinion.
He said: ”I would tend to go with 3. It could include allowance for the better foundations if appropriate.” While he was an unofficial opinion, we did not seek further clarification.
My translation of ‘better foundations’ was new foundations which is what had already been built.
On the other hand, the surveyor representing the building owner translated it as a 60% addition (the initial foundations that had been excavated were 400mm deep compared to 1000mm depth for the new foundations.)
We later agreed that section 11(11) costs should comprise the new wall but not the initial party wall fence section. However, the whole new foundation would be inclusive.
This option seemed illogical, in my opinion. However, now that it was two against one (the surveyor representing the building’s owner and the third Party Wall surveyor), I saw no point in consulting further.
I later posed the question to a professional legal panel comprising two expert property barristers and one consultant property solicitor during one of our Part Wall Act conference meetings.
They all agreed that the first option was ideal for that particular situation. The lesson I learned from this situation is that often you will have to compromise your stand, especially if you are the minority.
If you need any guidance on Party Wall Act related issues, feel free to get in touch with us at 020 7183 2578. You can also send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we shall get back to you.