We are experienced Party Wall Surveyors. If you are planning to undertake some work on your property which falls within the scope of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 we can advise you on the necessary procedures.
Alternatively, you may have been served notice by a neighbour in relation to some proposed works and require a party wall surveyor to act on your behalf. Whichever side you are on we will be happy to advise you
On 1st July 1997, the Party Wall etc Act 1996 came into force. It was based on The London Building Act 1939 and it sets out procedures, rights and entitlements that Building Owners and Adjoining Owners have in relation to each other. It also sets out means of resolution for any disputes that may arise.
Definition of a Party Wall/ Party Structure
A party wall or structure divides two separate self-contained dwellings or properties. Taking the example of a Victorian/ Edwardian terraced house, the Party Wall Line is a notional line that runs through the middle of the party wall. As this line would be practically difficult to determine, the party wall is considered a shared wall. So in our example, you (as the Building Owner preparing to carry out work) have rights to the entire wall, as does your neighbour (the Adjoining Owner).
This may seem a little confusing at first, but Party Wall Agreements are only required for certain works (see section below).
How Does it Affect You?
If you intend to carry out construction works that may affect your neighbour, or your neighbour is intending to do the same, it would be prudent for parties involved to enter into a party wall agreement to ensure that your rights and your property is protected, so that should any damage occur, having a record of the condition of both properties prior to the works could be invaluable in determining the cause and responsibility.
Any works you might carry out, say for a dormer loft conversion or a single storey rear extension, will affect your neighbour’s walls on one or both sides depending on if you are mid/ end of terrace or semi-detached.
A few typical situations where your neighbour(s) would be entitled to request a Party Wall Agreement would be:
- If you are chopping into the wall to bear steel beams for an extension or a dormer loft conversion
- If you are planning to excavate for foundations adjacent to the party wall for a rear extension
- Underpinning your house or property
- Excavating for a new basement room
- Cutting away from a party wall any footing or projecting chimney breast, jamb or flue
- Cut into a wall of an adjoining owner’s building in order to insert flashing or other weather-proofing
Before you Start Building Works
You, as the building owner carrying out works affecting the Adjoining Owner, would be liable for all reasonable fees relating to a Party Wall Agreement.
Please bear in mind, that if a Party Wall Agreement is required, it may take anything up to two months, depending on the work you are proposing, before you can start works.
It is important that such matters relating to the Party Wall are commenced as soon as possible.
For this reason and in order to speed up the process of you starting your building works, we recommend that you consult with your neighbours, explaining what you are proposing to build and obtain their written consent that they are happy for you to proceed. This does not waive their rights to seek redress for any potential damage caused by your building works to their side of the Party Wall.
However, this shall save you money in fees for a Party Wall Agreement and just as importantly save you time.
If your neighbour, would prefer to have a Party Wall Agreement in place, there are two options available.
- You can appoint one Party Wall Surveyor to act for both parties or your neighbour can choose to appoint their own Party Wall Surveyor. This is the Adjoining Owner’s choice. In terms of costs, it would be better for you as the Building Owner, to have one agreed Party Wall Surveyor for you and your neighbour.
- The second choice is for your neighbour to appoint their own Party Wall Surveyor. Again, the fees of Party Wall Surveyors will be met by you.
SEDC Ltd Party Wall Service
We are a member of The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors, a body that specialises in Party Wall Matters. We are experienced in creating, serving and implementing Party Wall agreements and Notices.
If required, a Party Wall Notice and Agreement can be prepared, on your behalf in accordance with the requirements of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. This would also include condition surveys of the party wall carried out before and after the works.