Issuing the party wall award is the final part of the process needed to facilitate the commencement of the construction or excavation works.
This process may be delayed due to technical questions regarding the projected works and the nomination of party wall surveyors.
Experts say that building owners should begin the process in advance.
What is the Right Time to Serve an Adjoining Owner with a Party Wall Notice?
The Party Wall Act outlines fixed notice timelines based on the type of projected work.
To build new boundary walls or excavate on adjacent buildings, you should issue the party wall notice one month in advance.
To perform works directly impacting a party wall property, issue the notice two months in advance.
Party wall notice timelines are not a compelling feature in the party wall agreement. Building owners will be excited to commence works after the party wall notice has been consented to, a party wall surveyor has identified, fixed any issues, and issued an award.
Many template awards expect the process to be smooth. However, there are some exceptions, especially where adjoining owners have a compelling reason to dissent the party wall notice.
For example, if people are revising for exams or having a garden event an adjoining owner may dissent the party wall notice.
A party wall surveyor can only suspend a party wall notice under legal authorization.
Building owners should serve a party wall notice as early as possible because predicting the length of the process is only possible once the adjoining owner responds to the notice.
Only one out of the three types of party wall notice should come with drawings.
Unless excavation (which should be communicated through the Party Wall Notice) is included in the projected works, a building owner can serve the notice once he decides to build. For example, if you are doing loft conversion works, you will need to cut beams in the party wall to reinforce your new floor and bear the rear dormer weight.
The party wall notice should include the type and components of the projected works. However, they do not have to contain the actual details meaning you can quickly draft a party wall agreement notice when you decide to execute the works. Your notice can be similar to the following example.
Carve pockets in the party wall to aid the inclusion of beams. These will help modify the roof space for accommodation purposes.
You can indicate the commencement date as two months post the party wall notice date or even earlier based on when the adjoining owner responds.
Some neighbours give consent almost immediately after receiving the notice allowing you to proceed with your planned works within a short time.
Even when your project involves excavations, the only drawings you will need are the sections and plans of the suggested excavations.
Consider drafting a simple floor plan complete with the foundations appearing in a dashed line format.
Some adjoining owners will give consent quickly only if they have the complete details of the project. In this case, you may have to approach the adjoining owners informally and present the comprehensive drawings once they become available.
Doing so helps you avoid unnecessary disagreements. During your discussion illustrate the proposed works and let them know that they fall under the party wall act.
If your adjoining neighbour’s property stands at, or close by the boundary, you may need to dig a test pit from part of the foundation.
Dig out the test pit before serving the party wall notice because the test results give you the critical information you should include in the notice.
Numerous party wall notice templates are available online and you can use them to draft your party wall notice.
Every party wall notice should comprise detailed information to make it valid. If you are considering drafting the notice on your own, research widely to avoid unnecessary delays that may result from presenting an invalid notice.
Party Wall Surveyors dealing with party wall issues can prepare the notice on your behalf for a small fee with the expectation that you will assign them when the need arises.
Using party wall professionals does not have to be costly. Feel free to reach one of our party wall surveyors through our contact details on the website or call us on 020 7493 9087.