Section 1 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996

Section 1 of the Party Wall etc. ActSection 1 of the Party Wall etc. Act: RMA Surveyors have served numerous Party Wall notices on behalf of building owners who are undertaking works notifiable under the Party Wall Act etc. 1996.

There are three types of notices. This article deals with the requirements of Section 1 of the Party Wall etc. Act, where notice is required in respect of construction and repair of walls on a Line of Junction.

Section 1 has an effect where lands of different property owners adjoin and there is no building on a line of junction other than a boundary wall [note: In this case a wall is defined as a wall; and a timber fence is not deemed to be included under this definition].

A notice is required where either owner is about to build on any part of the Line of Junction. A Line of Junction is a specific term that would be determined between owners or their appointed surveyors. It is not deemed to be a boundary line, as the Party Wall Act is not legislation that can determine a boundary dispute.

If a building owner wants to build a party wall or a party fence wall on the Line of Junction, they should issue a notice to the adjoining owner at least one month before they intend to start building works and the notice should indicate their desire to build and the works intended.

If the adjoining owner, upon receipt of the notice, agrees with the works, the wall can be built half upon the land of each owner. This would be either side of the Line of Junction or the position agreed by the two owners (and/or their surveyors, if required).

In such an instance that the adjoining owner agrees, the cost of the wall would be split between the two owners, in such a proportion as to who made most use of the construction.

If the cost is deferred by one owner until a later date, it is usually the case that the cost they pay would be the equivalent to the cost of labour and materials at that later date. This seeks to take account of inflation or deflation.

If however, the adjoining owner does not consent to the works proceeding, the building owner may still build the wall but it would be at his own expense and the wall would be placed wholly upon his own land. Consent would need to be written if the building owner wanted to build upon the Line of Junction a wall that is placed wholly on his land, he would still need to serve the adjoining owner a notice describing the intended wall. And where the building owner builds a wall wholly on his land, he should have the right at any time, to begin construction one month after the day on which the notice was originally served and 12 months after that date.

The building owner would be able to place below the level of the land of adjoining owner a projecting footing and foundations as are necessary for the construction of the wall.

In many cases, nowadays, it is rarely necessary for there to be projecting footings, as walls can be built off eccentric foundations, however, that said, each case should be judged on its own merits.

Where a building owners builds a wall entirely on his own land, and does so at his own expense, he would still need to compensate the adjoining owner or any adjoining occupier for any damage to the adjoining property caused by building the wall or by placing the footings and foundations on the adjoining owners property.

Should any dispute arise under Section 1 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, the building owner and adjoining owner or occupier of the adjoining owners land should determine that dispute in accordance with Section 10 and this would entail appointing a surveyor(s) to act upon behalf of the parties.

If you would like professional advice contact RMA Surveyors, members of RICS. Contact us on 01635 579208.

Party Wall Notice Requirement

Party Wall Notice RequirementParty Wall Notice Requirement – 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.

The definitions of the Party Wall Act Etc. 1996 are clear and explain the circumstances where notice is required to be served, as well as the types of structures that are covered by the Act.
For example, we recently had an enquiry from somebody concerned that the tree on their property was likely to be affected by the neighbours building proposals. They were disappointed that, as a Party Wall Surveyors, we were unable to assist them. The party wall act does not define trees as a party structure.

That said, the definitions of structures that can be affected are not restricted to walls that separate adjoining buildings. Section 6 of the Party Wall Act is often flouted where Building Owners do not realise that where works involve excavations within 3 (or in some cases 6) metres of an Adjoining Owner’s structure, and to a depth lower than their foundation, then notice must be served.  Furthermore, Section 1 of the Party Wall Act requires notice to be served when the building owner is building on the line of junction. This can mean a party wall or a party fence wall. The definitions of a ‘party fence wall’ are provided within Section 20 of the Act, it is a wall that is not part of a building that stands on lands of different owners. However, timber fences are not considered party fence walls.

RMA Surveyors are members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, providing clear and professional advice on Party Wall matters.

If you need to understand your Party Wall Notice Requirement then contact us on 01635 579208.

RMA Surveyors reports RICS latest survey

RMA Surveyors reports RICS Residential SurveyRMA Surveyors, Berkshire, have been reading the latest residential news from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The RICS UK Residential Market Survey for September 2016 states that ‘confidence is starting to recover following the immediate reaction to the EU Referendum, as the UK residential market experiences a slight upturn in August’.

In brief it highlights that:

  • House price rises regain some momentum
  • Sales hold steady after four successive monthly falls
  • Buyer enquiries and sales instructions continue to slip – but at a greatly reduced pace.

Click to download the full RICS UK Residential Market Survey, Sept 2016.

RMA Surveyors Ltd

As chartered surveyors we continue to be chosen for our professional services with regards to Homebuyer Reports and Building Surveys, Party Wall Matters and Project management work.

If you’re in need of the services of RMA Surveyors, please contact us on 01635 579208 or complete the enquiry form.

Party Wall Flow Chart

Experienced Party Wall surveyors, RMA Surveyors in Berkshire, can provide advice on Party Wall matters and act on behalf of building owners and adjoining owners.

If you’re unsure whether the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 applies to your situation, take a look at the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors (FPWS) useful (guidance only) flow chart.

If you need professional advice, call RMA Surveyors on 01635 579208 or contact us via our enquiry form.

If an owner wishes to undertake works that fall within the remit of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 then it is their statutory duty to inform their neighbour(s) by serving a party wall notice.

The following diagram is a flow chart that sets out a step-by-step guidance only of what to do.   Please, however, contact a member for professional advice:

Party Wall diagram

Homebuyers Report Uncovers Serious Drain Defect

Homebuyers report discovers partially blocked drain

Drain partially blocked by tree roots

While undertaking a Homebuyers Survey on a four bedroom detached house in Highclere, RMA Surveyors, Newbury, highlighted a list of defects where further investigation would be required.

Notably, we found evidence of a partial blockage to the drain, believed to be caused by tree roots. We reported this back to our client in the Homebuyer Report.

We recommended the client commission a CCTV survey of the drain runs, as this would provide a clear diagnosis of any problem.

The client had the drains checked by a drainage specialist, who discovered there were bush and tree roots present in all of the drain runs.

As a consequence, insurers would only provide buildings insurance if subsidence was specifically excluded from the policy. This was a big risk for our client as we also noted some evidence of subsidence to a subsidiary structure at the premises within the same survey. The insurers stipulated that all drain repairs must be undertaken and a further structural survey be carried out prior to any policy being agreed.

As a result, the Mortgage company refused to lend and their mortgage offer was withdrawn. This defect was not picked up by the mortgage valuation survey as these types of survey are very limited in scope.

Why Get a Homebuyers Report?

By commissioning a Homebuyers Report, the client saved valuable time and considerable future expense and inconvenience.

It is important to remember that a mortgage valuation is not a survey. It is undertaken on behalf of the lender, not the purchaser and only serves to determine whether or not the property provides enough security for the bank to lend upon.

This case proves that a Homebuyers Survey and Report does save our client’s money. A property purchase is one of the biggest investments you will make, and commissioning a Homebuyers Report or Building Survey will provide peace of mind that the investment is a solid one.

If you’re thinking of purchasing a property and require a Homebuyers Report or Building Survey, please get in touch with RMA Surveyors Ltd for a quote. Call us on 01635 579208 or complete the enquiry form.

RICS Residential Survey

RMA Surveyors Ltd, Newbury, have been reading the latest on the RICS Residential Market Survey (April 2016) with interest.

RResidential surveyICS Residential Report Highlights

– Demand from buyers drops for the first time since March 2015
– Prices continue to rise due to continued lack of supply
– Long term outlook shows prices continuing to rise across the UK


It states that the lack of supply will continue to push up UK house prices despite short term uncertainty.  You can download the full UK Residential Market Survey for further reading.

Residential Survey Advice

As chartered surveyors, RMA Surveyors can undertake a building survey or Homebuyers Report on a property to help you make a reasoned and informed decision regarding a property purchase.

If you’re looking for some professional advice regarding a property purchase in Berkshire, please contact RMA Surveyors Ltd on 01635 579 208 or complete the Contact Us form and we’ll be in touch.


The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 amendment

Party Wall etc Act 1996On April 06 2016, the first amendment to The Party Wall etc. Act came into force, since it was enacted in 1996.

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 was approved by the Department for Communities and Local Government on 10th March 2016.

What Amendment has been made to the Party Wall etc. Act?

The Order amends section 15 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, which is in relation to the service of notices. Previously legislation allowed for notices and documents to be served or given only in person or by post. This amendment will mean that notices and documents pursuant to the provisions of the Act may be achieved by electronic communications, provided that the intended recipient has stated a willingness to receive them by those means.

The new section 15 (1a&c) states that ‘a notice or other document required or authorised to be served under this Act may also be served on a person (“the recipient”) by means of an electronic communication, but only if— (a) the recipient has stated a willingness to receive the notice or document by means of an electronic communication; and (c) the notice or document was transmitted to an electronic address specified by the recipient.’

A Party Wall usually separates buildings belonging to different owners, but could include garden walls built astride a boundary (known as party fence walls). The Act is designed to avoid and minimise disputes. It makes sure property owners notify adjoining owners in advance of proposed works. It’s important to remember that notice should be served even if works are being undertaken only to your side of a wall.

If you need advice on Party Wall matters, please contact RMA Surveyors.  We are members of the RICS and provide 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. Call us on 01635 579208 or complete the enquiry form.

Need a Party Wall Award?

party wallHaving recently undertaken Party Wall Award Notices in Windsor, Newbury and Leckhampstead. RMA Surveyors Ltd are experienced in providing advice in compliance with The Party Wall Act 1996, throughout Berkshire and the South-East.

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.

The Act is separate from obtaining planning permission or building regulations approval. It provides a mechanism for preventing and resolving disputes relating to building work near or on a shared property boundary, or ‘party wall’.

If you require advice on a Party Wall, contact us on 01635 579 208.

For further reading on Party Walls visit the RICS information page.

Defect Specific Reports

Specific DefectsIn addition to property surveys, RMA Surveyors Ltd undertake Defect Specific Reports. Each written report provides a clear, comprehensive and professional opinion regarding a particular problem (or ‘defect’) within a building.

In recent months, RMA Surveyors Ltd have visited a property in Thatcham to inspect a sagging roof, a site in Didcot to investigate cracking and building movement and a property in Hungerford to assess a damp issue.

Defect specific investigations and reports encapsulate the specific materials, construction and associated issues surrounding a specific building defect. Reports can be provided in a formal written report or in a letter or email format depending on the client’s requirements.

Specification for reinstatement and an estimate for repair costs can also be included.

If you have a concern regarding your property, get in touch for advice. Call us on 01635 579208 or complete the enquiry form.

As chartered surveyors, RMA Surveyors Ltd are members of and are regulated by the governing body RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors). As such, any client can be guaranteed a high professional standard of inspection and report.

Building Survey vs Homebuyer Report

House SearchBased in Berkshire, RMA Surveyors Ltd have recently surveyed properties in Newbury, Reading, Wokingham and Windsor.

When making an initial enquiry for a survey on a property, we are often asked what the difference is between a Homebuyer Report and a Building Survey. Our simple response is that while both involve a survey of the property, a Homebuyer Report details all the essential elements of a building but goes into less detail than a Building Survey.

If you would like to read more about the details of each report, take a look at our Property Surveys page.

As chartered surveyors, RMA Surveyors Ltd always provides professional advice and will recommend which type of survey best suits the proposed property. By analysing the age, type (e.g. semi-detached or bungalow) and whether there are any extensions to the property, we can determine which survey would best outline the condition of the building.

If you are unsure which type of survey would be most suitable for the type of property that you are intending to purchase, please contact us and we shall be happy to discuss this with you.

For a Homebuyer Report or Building Survey quote, please call RMA Surveyors Ltd on 01635 579208 or complete the enquiry form.