valid party wall award

In this blog, Icon Surveyors will be focusing on the question as to what Party Wall Award is; what is required to make the Award valid and why there is a legal requirement for such an award to be drawn up.

What is a Party Wall Award?

A Party Wall Award sometimes referred to as a Party Wall Agreement, is a statutory document drawn up by a surveyor that stipulates certain terms and conditions that a building owner or adjoining owner must abide by in order for works Under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, to be carried out.

What is Required to Make a Party Wall Award Valid?

A Party Wall Award is only required under the Act if the adjoining owner (neighbour) of a property that has been served with a Party Wall Notice has either failed to respond to it within the statutory time limit of 14 days or, has responded but for one reason or another disagrees with the works of the building owner going ahead. This is because the Act considers that such dissents from the mandatory requirements put in place by the Act, automatically raise a dispute. For an Award to be valid it must, in accordance with the Act, be issued by a surveyor, whether that is a jointly appointed surveyor, an agreement between two surveyors each appointed by the respective parties or a third surveyor will depend on the degree of the dispute.

Under section 10(12) of the Act, an Award may determine whether the

  • building owner has the right to carry out any or all of the proposed works;
  • if so, the time and manner of executing the proposed works; and
  • any other matter arising out of or incidental to the dispute including the costs of making the award.

In simple terms, under (a) above, a surveyor can determine whether or not a building owner is legally able to commence with their proposed works. Thus, a surveyor, in certain circumstances, has the power under the Act to block notifiable works being carried out. This would not be a usual course of action but can occur for example if a building owner has failed to comply with any of the statutory provisions within the Act or other Acts, and would, in the surveyor’s opinion leave either or both parties unprotected.

Under (b) of subsection 10(12), a surveyor has the power to make it a condition of the Award that the works being carried out may only be carried out in accordance with the specified time scales and in the manner that has been prescribed in the Award.

Under ( c) above, the appointed surveyor has sweeping powers to include terms and conditions within an Award for the protection of either or both parties. For example, a building owner might be required to provide security for costs and damages for an adjoining owner’s property or an insurance policy that would give either or both parties protection against any future damage that may occur as a result of the works being carried out. another example might be that an adjoining owner must give the building owner access to certain parts of their land or property on certain days or stated times.

Under section 10(17) of the Act, should a party who is served with an Award disagree with any of the terms and conditions therein, they have the statutory right to appeal to a County Court within 14 days of receipt of the Award.

Why might a Party Wall Award be Needed?

A Party Wall Award is, under section 10 of the Act, a mandatory requirement for parties that are considered under the Act to have fallen into a ‘dispute’. It is intended to be a form of ‘Dispute Resolution’, thus, a mechanism that includes precautionary measures and protections against disputes that have arisen, so that an adjoining owner remains protected and a building owner may commence with their right to carry out any works covered by the Party Wall Act.

A Party Wall Award can be tricky to negotiate, for this reason, Icon Surveyors are happy to provide a free consultation of impartial advice to anyone who is either carrying out their rights under the Act or indeed anyone who has been served a Party Wall Notice, but is unsure whether to consent to it or, whether or not a Party Wall Award is required.

Icon Surveyors

We are a team of party wall surveying experts based throughout London and the surrounding areas. Here, we share informative property survey blogs created by industry experts.

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