What is a Party Wall?

What is a party wall?What is a party wall?

This is a question RMA Surveyors, Newbury, are often asked to clarify, during an initial party wall enquiry.  The extract below is taken from the Department for Communities and Local Government Party Wall etc. Act 1996 explanatory booklet and explains what the Act defines as a party wall.

RMA Surveyors are experienced and professional Party Wall Surveyors. We act on behalf of building owners and adjoining owners, as well as agreed surveyors for both parties. If you’re looking for Party Wall advice, call RMA Surveyors on 01635 579 208. Proud members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors (FPWS) and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

 

The following extract and diagrams are highlighted in the Explanatory Booklet:

What is a party wall?

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 recognises two main types of party wall.

Party wall type A

A wall is a “party wall” if it stands astride the boundary of land belonging to two (or more) different owners.

Such a wall:

  • is part of one building (see diagram 1),
  • or separates two (or more) buildings (see diagram 2),
  • or consists of a “party fence wall” (see diagram 3).

A wall is a “party fence wall” if it is not part of a building, and stands astride the boundary line between lands of different owners and is used to separate those lands (for example a masonry garden wall). This does not include such things as wooden fences or hedges.

Party wall type B 

A wall is also a “party wall” if it stands wholly on one owner’s land, but is used by two (or more) owners to separate their buildings (see diagram 4).

An example would be where one person has built the wall in the first place, and another has built their building up against it without constructing their own wall.

Only the part of the wall that does the separating is “party” – sections on either side or above are not “party”.

The Act also uses the expression “party structure“. This is a wider term, which could be a wall or floor partition or other structure separating buildings or parts of buildings approached by separate staircases or entrances for example flats (see diagram 5).

Walls that are not Party Walls:

These may include boundary walls (a fence wall/garden wall built wholly on one owner’s land) and external walls (the wall of a building built up to but not astride the boundary).

Diagram 1:

What is a party wall PW Diagram 1

Diagram 2:

What is a party wall PW Diagram 2

Diagram 3:

What is a party wall PW Diagram 3

Diagram 4:

What is a party wall PW Diagram 4

Diagram 5:

What is a party wall PW Diagram 5

Does the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 affect me?

Party Wall etc. Act 1996If you’re unsure if the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 affects you, here’s some advice from the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors.

DO YOU INTEND TO CARRY OUT WORK WHICH INVOLVES:

Work on an existing wall, ceiling or floor structure shared with another property?

● Building on or at the boundary with another property?

● Excavating near a neighbouring building or structure?

If so you must find out whether the work falls within the scope of the Act. If it does you must serve the statutory notice on all those defined in the Act as ‘adjoining owners’.

Determining if a particular building project is within the scope of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is often more complex than simply checking the general criteria stated above. Failure to correctly identify the status of your project could result in the building works being unlawful. If you are in any doubt you should always seek professional advice.

RMA Surveyors are experienced and professional Party Wall Surveyors. We act on behalf of building owners and adjoining owners, as well as agreed surveyors for both parties.

If you’re in need of a Party Wall Surveyor, contact us on 01635 579 208. We are proud members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

RMA Surveyors – Party Wall Surveyors

Experienced Party Wall SurveyorsRMA Surveyors in Newbury, Berkshire are experienced Party Wall Surveyors. Providing professional advice on what can seem a daunting and complicated matter.

We are members of The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and offer party wall surveying and advice in compliance with The Party Wall Act 1996.

We act on behalf of building owners and adjoining owners, as well as agreed surveyors for both parties.

If you’re in need of a Party Wall Surveyor, get in touch on 01635 579 208.

For further information on the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, take a look at the RICS Consumer Guide: Party Walls.

Types of Party Wall Notice

There are three types of Party Wall Notice that a building owner may have to serve on an adjoining owner when undertaking works that fall within the scope of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.

The Party Wall Act covers:

– new building on or at the boundary of 2 properties

– work to an existing party wall or party structure

– excavation near to and below the foundation level of neighbouring buildings

This may, for example, include:

  • building a new wall on or at the boundary of 2 properties
  • cutting into a party wall
  • making a party wall taller, shorter or deeper
  • removing chimney breasts from a party wall
  • knocking down and rebuilding a party wall
  • digging below the foundation level of a neighbour’s property

Remember, the main types of party walls are:

  • a wall that stands on the lands of 2 (or more) owners and forms part of a building – this wall can be part of one building only or separate buildings belonging to different owners
  • a wall that stands on the lands of 2 owners but does not form part of a building, such as a garden wall but not including timber fences
  • a wall that is on one owner’s land but is used by 2 (or more) owners to separate their buildings

The Act also uses the expression ‘party structure’. This could be a wall or floor partition or other structure separating buildings or parts of buildings in different ownership, such as in flats.

For further information, view the Government Guidance.

Which Party Wall Notice should be used?

Party Structure Notice

  • A party structure notice, under section 3 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, describes the intention to exercise rights, conferred under section 2, to undertake certain works to a party structure and certain limited works to an adjoining owner’s independent building (minimum notice period is two months). The required notices must be served on all adjoining owners with an interest in the relevant structures or land.

Notice of Adjacent Excavation

  • Notices of Adjacent Excavation are concerned with works notifiable under section 6 of the Act. The provisions of section 6 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (the Act) are designed to try to avoid the careless destabilising of the foundations to buildings and structures that are in close proximity to a development site. If works will involve excavation of any type (whether or not for foundations), and that excavation falls within certain dimensional parameters in relation to an adjoining building or structure, then notices must be served.

Line of Junction Notice

  • A line of junction notice describes the intention to construct a wall either astride or abutting a boundary, which is not presently built upon, or is built upon only to the extent of a simple boundary wall wholly on one party’s land. (Minimum notice period is one month).

For more information on Party Wall Notices view the RICS Guide to Party Walls.

 

If you believe you need to serve a Party Wall Notice or you are in receipt of one, call RMA Surveyors for professional advice. Proud members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

RMA Surveyors are experienced Party Wall surveyors providing Party Wall surveying and advice in compliance with the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.  We act on behalf of building owners and adjoining owners, as well as agreed surveyors for both parties.

Contact RMA Surveyors in Newbury, Berkshire on 01635 579208.

 

 

Government Guidance on Party Walls

Government Guidance on Party WallsGovernment Guidance on Party Walls

Information on carrying out building work under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, or what to do if your neighbour tells you they’re about to carry out work can be found on the Gov.uk website.

The Act and Party Wall process can appear complex and daunting, as such the government has provided guidance on preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls.

Visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/party-wall-etc-act-1996-guidance to read it in full.

If you’re in need of professional advice, contact RMA Surveyors in Newbury, Berkshire on 01635 579208. Proud members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors. RMA Surveyors are experienced Party Wall surveyors that provide Party Wall surveying and advice in compliance with the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.  RMA Surveyors act on behalf of building owners and adjoining owners, as well as agreed surveyors for both parties.

RICS Guide to Party Walls

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have produced a clear and impartial guide to Party Walls.

To view the RICS Guide to Party Walls, click here: https://www.ricsfirms.com/media/1190/rics-consumer-guide-party-walls.pdf RICS Guide to Party Walls

If you’re in need of professional advice, contact Chartered Surveyors, RMA Surveyors Ltd in Newbury, Berkshire, on 01635 579208.

RMA Surveyors can assist in your understanding of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 and the notice requirements. 

Party Wall notices are required where a property owner (The Building Owner) is planning works that are likely to affect a neighbouring owner’s (The Adjoining Owner) property.

RMA Surveyors have served numerous Party Wall notices on behalf of those undertaking works notifiable under the Party Wall Act etc. 1996We act on behalf of building owners and adjoining owners, as well as agreed surveyors for both parties.

RMA Surveyors are experienced party wall surveyors and proud members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and the RICS. 

 

Experienced Party Wall Surveyors

Experienced Party Wall SurveyorsExperienced Party Wall Surveyors, RMA Surveyors in Newbury, Berkshire provide expert advice on the Party Wall process, as one client recently gave testimonial to:

We appointed Richard Mountain of RMA Surveyors to act on our behalf, as our neighbours had commenced work excavating right next to our house, without serving a party wall agreement.  Richard’s knowledge and expertise helped resolve the issue and allowed our neighbours build to continue whilst protecting our property, which was our biggest concern.  Unfortunately our neighbours chose to ignore the first award and we had to engage Richard again to go through another award.  He worked extremely well to support us and offered a voice of reason to ourselves, our neighbours and the barrister we had to engage.

Richard gave us the confidence that we needed throughout the entire process.  His is extremely thorough and practical, his communication was very proactive and he dealt with sensitive issues in a professional and timely manner, often coming out at short notice. I would fully recommend Richard for any party wall agreement.” (February 2018)

RMA Surveyors provide Party Wall surveying and advice in compliance with The Party Wall etc. Act 1996.  We act on behalf of building owners and adjoining owners, as well as agreed surveyors for both parties. RMA Surveyors are members of The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors, so you can feel confident that you’re receiving professional advice and guidance.

Contact experienced party wall surveyors, RMA Surveyors on 01635 579208 for further information on Party Wall matters.

Does the Party Wall Act apply?

Does the Party Wall Act applyA common question received at RMA Surveyors is: does the Party Wall Act apply to me? 

If you’re uncertain as to whether the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 applies to you, then why not look at the below chart. It’s a quick reference flowchart, from the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors, which shows the steps required when considering the Party Wall Act.

The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors flowchart.

RMA Surveyors Ltd are experienced party wall surveyors, based in Newbury, Berkshire.  We provide Party Wall surveying and advice in compliance with The Party Wall etc. Act 1996.  We act on behalf of building owners and adjoining owners, as well as agreed surveyors for both parties.

If you’re in doubt as to whether the Party Wall Act applies, contact RMA Surveyors for professional advice on 01635 579208. Proud members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors (FPWS) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

 

 

 

The Party Wall etc Act 1996

the party wall etc actA Guide to the Party Wall etc Act 1996

In 1997 the Government introduced party wall legislation across the whole of England & Wales in the form of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors (FPWS) was established out of a national need for education and support for surveyors but also to enhance awareness and provide advice and guidance to the public.

Determining if a building project is within the scope of the Act can be complex and failure to correctly identify the status of your project could result in the building works being unlawful. The FPWS always recommend that you seek professional advice. In addition, it has produced a useful Guide to the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.

RMA Surveyors are proud to be members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors. If you’re in need of professional advice, contact 01635 579208.

 

Do I need a Party Wall Surveyor?

You may need a Party Wall Surveyor if you intend to carry out work which involves the following:

– Work on an existing wall, ceiling or floor structure shared with another property

– Building on or at the boundary with another property

– Excavating near a neighbouring building or structure.

 

If you’re planning any of the above, you must call a Party Wall Surveyor to find out whether the work falls within the scope of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.

If you do not comply with the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 by serving the necessary notices and obtaining the necessary agreement or resolving matters by way of an award, your building works could be delayed, declared unlawful, possibly incurring legal claims and costs against you.

In order to be clear if your planned work comes within the Act, you should seek professional advice from an experienced Party Wall Surveyor.

Call Chartered Surveyors, RMA Surveyors Ltd on 01635 579208 for guidance on the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 or to enlist our services as a Party Wall Surveyor. 

We are members of The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors. We provide Party Wall surveying and advice in compliance with The Party Wall etc. Act 1996.  We act on behalf of building owners and adjoining owners, as well as agreed surveyors for both parties.