When planning any construction or renovation work, it is essential to consider the Party Wall Act of 1996. This act is designed to protect the rights of both the property owners and their neighbours. If you plan to carry out any work that may affect a party wall, boundary wall, or excavations near neighbouring buildings, you need to notify your neighbours.
In this article, we will answer the most frequently asked questions about the Party Wall Act:
What Is the Party Wall Act?
The Party Wall Act is a law that regulates the rights and obligations of property owners who intend to carry out work on or near a party wall, boundary wall, or excavations near neighbouring buildings. The act sets out the procedures for serving notice to the affected parties, as well as the appointment of surveyors and the resolution of disputes.
What Is a Party Wall?
A party wall is a wall separating two or more buildings. It is jointly owned by neighbouring property owners. It can also be a wall that stands wholly on one owner's land but is used by two or more owners to separate their buildings.
What Kind of Work Does the Party Wall Act Cover?
The Party Wall Act covers various types of work, including:
- Building a new wall or repairing an existing one that stands on the boundary between two properties.
- Cutting into a party wall to insert beams, joists, or other structural supports.
- Altering a party wall or removing part of it.
- Excavating near a party wall or building a new foundation within three metres of a neighbouring property.
- Building a new wall on a property adjacent to a neighbouring property.
When Do You Need to Serve a Party Wall Notice?
If you plan to carry out any work that falls under the Party Wall Act, you must notify your neighbours before the work begins. The notice must be served at least two months before the work is due to start. Sometimes, it may be necessary to serve notice six months before the work begins.
Who Do You Need to Serve the Party Wall Notice To?
You must serve the party wall notice to any neighbouring property owners affected by the work. This includes all owners of properties that share the party wall or are located within three metres of the proposed works.
What Happens If Your Neighbours Do Not Respond to the Party Wall Notice?
If your neighbours do not respond to the party wall notice, you must make every reasonable effort to contact them and ensure that they have received the notice. If they still do not respond, you can appoint a surveyor on their behalf to protect their interests.
What Is a Party Wall Surveyor?
A party wall surveyor is a professional appointed to act on behalf of the property owners who are carrying out the work and the neighbouring property owners who may be affected by the work. The surveyor's role is to ensure that the work is carried out in accordance with the Party Wall Act and to resolve any disputes that may arise.
What Happens If There Is a Dispute?
If there is a dispute between the property owners and their neighbours, the surveyors will work to resolve the dispute. If they are unable to reach an agreement, they can appoint an independent third surveyor to make a final decision.
What Happens If You Do Not Follow the Party Wall Act?
If you do not follow the Party Wall Act, you may be liable for damages and may have to pay for any repairs needed to rectify the damage caused by the work. You may also face legal action if you carry out work without serving the necessary notice.
The Party Wall Act is a critical legal requirement that property owners must adhere to when carrying out any work that may affect a party wall, boundary wall, or excavation. By following the Party Wall Act, you can avoid disputes with your neighbours and ensure that your construction or renovation project runs smoothly and successfully.
At Icon Surveyors, we provide residential surveying services across England and Wales, with a focus on Party Wall Surveying, Boundary Surveying, Building Surveying, and Valuation. We work tirelessly to help our clients achieve the best possible outcomes for their property concerns, as we are driven by results and dedicated to our clients' success. Contact us today to learn more about the Party Wall Act!