Do I need a Party Wall Surveyor?

Party Wall SurveyorYou 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, it is advisable to call a party wall surveyor to determine 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.

Contact 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. 

 

Party Wall Process

The Party Wall ProcessThe Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is designed to avoid and minimise disputes. It makes sure property owners notify adjoining owners in advance of proposed works. However, the Party Wall process can seem daunting and/or complicated. To ensure peace of mind that you are following the correct procedure when it comes to your building work, contact RMA Surveyors, Newbury Berkshire to help guide you through the Party Wall process.

RMA Surveyors 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 RMA Surveyors to discuss your needs on 01635 579208 or email enquiries@rmasurveyors.co.uk.

Does the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 affect my building work?

Party Wall etc. Act 1996“Does the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 affect my building work?” is a question that RMA Surveyors in Newbury, Berkshire have often been asked.

If you have plans to carry out the following type of work on your property then you should seek professional advice regarding the Party Wall Act:

– 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.

By seeking advice from a party wall professional, you can determine whether your proposed building work falls within the scope of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, enabling you to respond accordingly and within the Law.

RMA Surveyors are expert Party Wall and Chartered surveyors, members of both the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. With such accreditation, you can rest assured that RMA Surveyors will provide you with the quality advice and service that is required.

Contact RMA Surveyors for advice or help with the Party Wall process on 01635 579208 or email enquiries@rmasurveyors.co.uk.

Testimonial, February 2018:

“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.”

A Guide to Party Wall Procedure

Party Wall procedure

RMA Surveyors Ltd provides professional and independent advice concerning Party Wall procedure.

If you intend to carry out building work to your property which could affect your neighbour, you should determine whether works require notification under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. Notifiable works include:

 

  • Work on an existing wall, structural soffit or floor structure shared with another property. e.g. loft conversion, supporting a beam on a party wall, removing walls in a flat, or digging out a basement.
  • Building on or at the boundary with another property. e.g. building an extension or replacing a boundary wall.
  • Excavating near a neighbouring building or structure to a depth lower than their existing foundation.

If the work undertaken is notifiable under the Party Wall Act etc. 1996, the correct type of notice not must be issued. RMA Surveyors provide advice and guidance on which Notice/s should be issued. See our Section Notices blog for more information.

The Party Wall Act is designed to avoid and minimise disputes, notices are served to ensure that the property owners notify their adjoining owners in advance of notifiable works commencing.

Party Wall Notices should contain the following:

  • Name the building owners (those proposing the work) and all adjoining owners (those potentially affected by the work).
  • Clearly indicate the work that is notifiable under the Act.
  • State a proposed start date in accordance with the notice periods prescribed by the Act.
  • Be dated and signed by the building owner or their representative with the authority to act on their behalf.
  • Notices will usually be accompanied by drawings or plans to illustrate the proposals of the notifiable works.

Once notice is served the adjoining owner can:

  • Provide written consent within 14 days from the date of the notice.
  • Provide written consent with conditions (which may be refused) in writing within 14 days.
  • Refuse consent, which will start the dispute resolution process.
  • Do nothing. The matter will be deemed to be in dispute after 14 days, then the adjoining owner should appoint a surveyor within 10 days, or one will be appointed on their behalf.
  • Serve a counter notice requesting additional works be done at the same time. There may be a cost implication to the adjoining owner in this regard.

Notices may have to be served up to two months before work commences (timings vary dependent on the notice served).

If consent is not agreed or notice is ignored,  the Act provides for the appointment of an independent surveyor to act on behalf on the adjoining owner. In this case an Agreed Surveyor (a surveyor appointed to act for the interests of both parties) cannot be appointed.  Where a dispute does arise, the Agreed Surveyor route is often the more cost effective route for the building owner. This arrangement can only be made by agreement from both parties in writing.

Once Surveyors are appointed they should act independently. They are not required to fight their appointing owner’s corner, rather their role is to determine the dispute between owners.

If the building owner does not comply with the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, building works might be delayed, declared unlawful, and might incur a court injunction preventing works proceeding and associated legal costs.

If you need Party Wall advice or help through the Party Wall procedure, call RMA Surveyors on 01635 579 208. Proud to be members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors.

UK Housing Market

RICS - UK housing marketThe latest RICS Residential Survey has revealed the following regarding the UK housing market:

There is an increasingly mixed picture across the UK housing market, according to the August 2017, UK Residential Market Survey. Although the headline level shows a return to growth, sentiment is less positive in prime central London and to a lesser extent the wider South East, alongside the North and East Anglia.

UK Housing Market: survey in brief

  • Mixed regional picture, with negative trend in prime central London in particular.
  • Solid growth in many regions, including Northern Ireland, North West, South West and Scotland.
  • National sales have not seen any growth since November 2016.

RICS press release issued: 14 September 2017. Visit Rics.org for further information.

 

RMA Surveyors are members of, registered with and regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to ensure we maintain high professional standards. If you are looking for professional advise regarding building surveys, party wall matters or dilapidations, contact RMA Surveyors on 01635 579 208 or complete the enquiry form.

Section 5 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996

Section 5 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996Section 5 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 deals with the disputes that arise under Section 3 and Section 4 of the Party Wall Act.

As already established in Section 3 and Section 4 of the Party Wall Act, Section 5 deals with disputes that arise when a party structure notice or a counter notice has been served.

Section 5 of the Party Wall etc. Act begins by setting out a time frame period by which an owner who is in receipt of a served notice must respond. This period is 14 days, and if the owner does not consent within this period, then a dispute is deemed to have arisen.

This section is an extremely small section of the Act and it simply consists of a single sentence. Although it does not state it within Section 5 of the Party Wall etc. Act, if a dispute is deemed to have arisen during or after that 14-day period then the dispute would be dealt with under Section 10 of the Party Wall Act.

A time period is necessary to allow a building owner to proceed with the party wall process, rather than be scuppered at the first hurdle, where an adjoining owner may decide to ignore the notice.

Despite the 14-day period, even if a decent is deemed to have arisen, owners can still agree at any time during the party wall process to consent to the works. If written consent is given, then there is no need to continue to pursue a dispute process.

If you require Party Wall advice, then contact us 01635 579208. Proud members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, RMA Surveyors Ltd provides professional, independent advice.

 

Section 2 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996

Section 2 of the Party Wall etc. ActSection 2 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 deals with the rights of owners in regard to repairs of  party wall or structure.

Section 2, Rights of Owners

Section 2 of the Party Wall etc. Act confers the following rights to owners:

  • Requires that a building owner gives notice to an adjoining owner where a party wall or party fence wall or building belonging to him is already in place and he intends to underpin, thicken or raise a structure . The section allows the building owner to make good, repair, demolish or rebuild if the structure is in some way defective.
  • Allows a building owner to demolish a partition which separates buildings belonging to separate owners and does not conform to statutory requirements, and rebuild that wall to meet such requirements.
  • Allows a building owner to demolish arches or structures over public highways or over areas belonging to other persons that connect buildings, and rebuild them to conform with statutory requirements.
  • Allows a building owner to demolish a party structure that is weak or of insufficient height and rebuild it to sufficient strength or height for their purposes. It also allows the rebuilt structure to build to a lesser height or thickness providing the rebuilt structure is of sufficient strength and height for the purposes of the adjoining owner.
  • Allows a building owner to cut into a party structure for any purpose (this might include inserting a damp proof course).
  • Allows a building owner to cut away from a party wall any footing or projecting chimney breast or flue or other projection, in order to erect, raise or underpin a wall.
  • Allows a building owner to cut away or demolish part of any wall or building of an adjoining owner which overhangs the building owner’s land or a party wall to the extent it is necessary, to enable a vertical wall to be erected or raised against the wall or building of the adjoining owner.
  • Allows the building owner to cut into the wall of the adjoining owners building to insert a flashing or other weather proofing.
  • A building owner can execute any other necessary works incidental to the connection of the party structure with the premises it adjoins, and to raise a party fence wall or any such wall for the use of a party wall. It also allows to demolish a party fence wall and rebuild it as a party wall.
  • Allows a building owner (if served with an adjoining owner counter notice to maintain the height of a wall) to reduce, demolish and rebuild a party wall or party fence wall to a height of not less than 2 metres where the wall isn’t used by the adjoining owner, other than for boundary purposes, and to a height currently enclosed upon the building of an adjoining owner.
  • Allows a building owner to expose a party wall or party structure previously enclosed providing adequate weathering is installed.

Section 2, Additional Rights and Clarifications

Section 2 of the Party Wall Act clarifies certain matters pertaining to the above rights.

Where a building owner proposes to:

  • underpin, thicken or raise a party structure (and this work is not necessary on account of defect or requiring repair)
  • demolish a party structure of insufficient strength or height for the purposes of the building owner and to rebuild it to the sufficient strength or height
  • cut into a party structure for any purpose, cut away from a party wall, a party fence wall or external wall any footing or projecting chimney breast or to cut away and demolish parts of a wall or building from the adjoining owner which is overhanging their land
  • cut into the wall of an adjoining owner in order to insert a flashing or other weather proofing

Then these rights are only exercisable subject to the building owner making good any damage caused by the work to the adjoining premises, furnishings or decorations. The installation of any flues or chimney stacks need to be agreed in regards to height and materials between the owners.

In the case where an adjoining owner has issued a counter notice to maintain the height of a wall and a building owner has opted to build a wall or a party fence wall to a height not less than 2 metres or a height currently enclosed upon by the building of an adjoining owner, then the building owner must reconstruct any parapets or replace an existing parapet with another and may construct a parapet where one is needed but did not exist previously.

The building owner may exercise rights granted under Section 2 of the Party Wall etc. Act, providing he has consent in writing from the adjoining owner and the adjoining owner’s occupiers (if necessary).

Contact RMA Surveyors for professional advice on 01635 579208. RMA Surveyors are proud members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors.

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, proud members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and the 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 proud members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and 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.

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, proud members of the FPWS, on 01635 579208 or contact us via our enquiry form.

Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors

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