Homes and buildings with two residences connected by a wall require two-party consent before specific construction acts can occur. The Party Wall etc. Act of 1996 protects owners of the connected property from damage resulting from the work completed on a party structure or within 6m of a foundation. A party wall notice can be issued directly by an owner, with a party wall surveyor being required if a dissent occurs.
The Party Wall Act 1996
The Party Wall Act is a legal requirement for property owners to seek consent from adjoining titleholders to go forward with construction work on a shared wall. These are usually between a terrace or semi-detached buildings. The Act also covers garden walls and building new foundations close to the other owner's house. The requirements under the Party Wall Act protect both property owners in the event of damage during the construction. Before party wall notices, courts were tied up with disputes over property damages and responsibility for payment. Under the Party Wall Act, the person initiating the construction, whether for repairs or cosmetic needs, is responsible for any damages. The party wall notice puts it in writing for the adjoining property owner.
What is a Party Wall Surveyor?
A party wall surveyor is an unregulated service in the UK. Home and building owners must complete due diligence before choosing the right person or company to complete the review and issue a notice to the other party. Consider the party wall surveyor's experience, education, certification, and professional organization memberships. This service provider works for you and helps you secure the party wall notice to begin work quickly.
Serving a Party Wall Notice
Before serving notice, the surveyor must review the properties planned changes. The professional will take photographs and write a detailed Schedule of Condition. If the works are of a structural nature, the formal letter of acknowledgement has to be sent at least two months before any work begins. For excavation near the building, one month's notice is necessary. It should include details for the adjoining property owners about the scope of work, and duration and explain the extent of working hours, noise, and any additional distractions that can occur during the construction or excavation. Additionally, the contractor and their employees are legally bound by these agreements.
Are One or Two-Party Wall Surveyors Necessary?
Sometimes a party wall notice doesn't go as planned. The property owner on the other side of the building doesn't have to agree to the new construction. In these situations, the neighbouring titleholder must decide if a single party wall surveyor can serve the needs of the two parties. Or appoint their own which will be funded by the titleholder undertaking the building works.
Are you considering changes to your home or business? Whether it's general repairs, upgrades, or additions, you'll need to secure the services of a party wall surveyor to review the property. Contact us today to schedule an initial free consultation to see what steps you need to complete, to comply with the Party Wall Act.