Party Wall Advice

Introduction

We specialise in party wall matters and have completed hundred’s of party wall awards and Dominic Henderson sits on the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors panel of helpline party wall surveyors offering members of the public an initial 30 minute free consultation. With over 20 years experience working on a wide range of projects both within inner London and the home counties. We would emphasise we do many, many routine party wall awards for small domestic loft and rear extensions and are very competitive for this type of work, we have also successfully negotiated and completed complex Party Wall Agreements and Awards for some of the largest residential basements constructed in London, commercial industrial estates and large flat developments.

Whether acting for the Building Owner (i.e. the person carrying out the work) or the Adjoining Owner (i.e. the neighbour living next door or owner to a prospective building site), we are able to assist in Party Wall matters and negotiate agreements between Appointing Owners, securing the necessary agreements in a professional and timely fashion.

 

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 – FAQ’s

Since the Party Wall etc Act 1996 came into force, home-owners in England and Wales have had a procedure to follow when building work has an effect on a Party Wall. We are expert Party Wall Surveyors providing Party Wall advice and Party Wall Awards.

All semi-detached and terraced houses have Party Walls. Apartments and flats have Party Structures. A Party Wall or Structure separates your and your neighbour’s property. If you are planning on starting work which will have an effect on the Party Wall you must get your neighbour’s agreement before you commence. Usually this is in the form of document called a Party Wall Award prepared by a Party Wall Surveyor - you cannot act for yourself!

The purpose of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is to minimise disputes by making sure property owners use a Party Wall surveyor to determine how work is carried out. The act also protects adjoining property owners that may be affected by the work but at the same time prevents them from frustrating the process.

What is a Party Wall matter?

Works which commonly affect the Party Wall include, but are not limited to:

  • Building extensions
  • Internal or external structural alterations (e.g.removing walls and inserting structural beams)
  • Damp proofing

Excavation work to a level deeper than your neighbour’s foundations will also constitute a Party Wall matter if they are within 3 meters (or in some cases 6 metres) of the Party Wall. This is also applicable to detached properties. If your proposed building works involve any of the above you require the services of a Party Wall Surveyor to prepare a Party Wall Award.
The Act doesn't cover minor jobs which have little effect on your neighbour. Henderson & Co. can advise whether your works require a Party Wall Award.

What to do if your work is covered by The Party Wall Act

If the planned work constitutes a Party Wall matter you must give a written Party Wall notice to your neighbour. This is generally two months’ prior to commencement or one month in the case of excavation works only. The Party Wall notice should go to the adjoining owner so if the property is tenanted you will need to find out the owner’s details. That includes the freeholder and anyone with a lease longer than one year.

It is usually better to speak to your neighbours in advance of serving the notice giving them as much information as possible about what you are planning.

The Act allows both owners to appoint their own Party Wall surveyor. The building owner’s Party Wall surveyor will draw up a document called a Party Wall Award which will be sent in draft format to the adjoining owner’s Party Wall surveyor. The Party Wall Award will include details of the work to be carried out, when and how it will be done and records the condition of the adjoining property before work begins. Once the contents of the Party Wall Award has been agreed by the Party Wall surveyors it is published and the work can commence. If both owners are in agreement a single Party Wall surveyor may be used - known as the Agreed Surveyor. Generally, the building owner who started the work pays for the Party Wall surveyor.

If you require Party Wall advice or a Party Wall Award and would like a quotation for us to act on your behalf as your Party Wall surveyor please call Dominic Henderson on
020 7129 1114 or email dh@hendersonpw.co.uk for a quotation including a brief description of the planned works