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

 

 

Party Wall Act – Explanatory Leaflet

Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors logo

Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors

RMA Surveyors, Newbury are members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors. Its aim is to promote the highest standards of professional practice in this field of expertise.

In order to enhance awareness and provide advice & guidance to the general public they have created an explanatory leaflet. A useful guide that explains all you need to know: FPWS-Explanatory-Leaflet.

PARTY WALL ADVICE

If you feel you need some professional advice, please contact RMA Surveyors on 01635 579208. We act on behalf of building owners and adjoining owners, as well as agreed surveyors for both parties. Get in touch to see how we can support you or complete the contact form with your enquiry.

Building Work to a Party Wall

Are you Planning Building Work to a Party Wall?

Are you planning building work to a party wall or structure that you share with your neighbour? Is your neighbour undertaking building work that will affect your property?

Building Work to a Party Wall Can Be a Matter For the Courts

If you are planning building work or your neighbour is proposing work that affects a party wall or party structure then there is a legal requirement to meet the provisions of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.  If your property is in England or Wales, this legislation must be followed. The law does not apply in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

What Is a Party Wall?

A Party Wall can be defined many ways. Principally it is a wall that sits across the boundary between two or more properties, such as the dividing wall between adjoining houses. It could also be the dividing floor between flats.

The Act also protects structures that stands completely on one owner’s land. Sometimes this can be astride the line of junction and can be used by both owners. i.e. Where one owner has built a wall and the adjoining owner has built up against it enclosing the structure. In that particular example only part of that wall might be considered a ‘party wall’.

Properties that are completely independent of one another can also be subject to the Act. If a building owner is planning to undertake excavations up to 6 metres from an adjoining owners structure there may also be a requirement to adhere to the Act.

A ‘party fence wall’ is a wall that does not form part of a building and stands on land belonging to different owners. This could be a garden wall, but does not include a timber fence.

There are many instances where the Party Wall Act may or may not be relevant. For this reason we always recommend it is assessed by a professional to assist, who both knows the workings of the Act and has technical construction expertise.

Does the Party Wall Act Apply To Me?

Providing the structure or structures in question meets the definitions within the Party Wall Act there is ikely to be a requirement that works need to be agreed with the adjoining owner. Simple works, such as installing shelves, replacing electrical sockets or wiring, does not require an agreement. But you should only do certain building work to a party wall or party structure once the adjoining owner or owners have been formally notified in writing and agreed the works in advance of works proceeding. Examples of notifiable party wall work might include ork includes:

  • Cutting into a wall to take the weight of a beam or insert a flashing.
  • Inserting a damp proof course.
  • Demolition, reconstruction or underpinning a party wall.

If you’re planning to undertake excavations there are some comprehensive requirements defined within the Party Wall Act, that need to be properly understood to determine whether the Act applies.

When Does Party Wall Notice Need To Be Served?

If you are planning to undertake building work to a Party Wall then we suggest you inform your neighbour in good time. This is the most critical step and can often prevent unnecessary and costly dispute later on. The purpose of the Act is to avoid disputes arising by making sure owners are aware and agree the Party Wall works.

Where applicable you must notify your neighbour in writing before building work to a party wall begins. There is a minimum period for this notice to be served before building works affecting the party wall or structure can commence. If there is more than one person with an interest in the property (i.e. Leaseholders and Freeholders. Again these are clearly defined in the Act) you must notify all of them. If there are multiple properties affected they must all be notified.

The Act is specific about the requirements of issuing notice/s. It is very important that valid notice or notices are served. If notices are not valid they will need to be served again correctly and this will reset the minimum period.

What Happens If An Adjoining Owner Does Not Agree to Party Wall Works?

If an adjoining owner does not agree to works then a dispute is deemed to have arisen. Parties in dispute are not able to act as a surveyor for themselves . They need to appoint someone who can act independently. Owners may agree to appoint a single ‘agreed surveyor’, or they can each appoint their own surveyor to act upon their behalves. The expert or experts will agree the parameters of how the works should be carried out and will serve a ‘party wall award’ which will stipulate how works affecting the party structure will be completed.

The award usually contains a schedule of condition of the affected elements of the adjoining owner’s property before work begin. This provides an accurate record of the condition of the building prior to works so damage (if any) can be properly defined after works have been completed.

RMA Surveyors are Chartered Building Surveyors, Members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, Members of The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors. We are experts in party wall matters. If you need advice in relation to the Party Wall Act contact us for clear and reliable advise.

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 Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors 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.

A Party Wall Matter

Party Wall workWe recently acted as a Party Wall Surveyor for an adjoining owner, in Newbury, Berkshire.

The works being undertaken by the next door neighbour included an extension to the rear of the building and some cutting in and weathering of the Party Wall.

The owner that we acted for was concerned that their second floor flat may be affected by the works. We checked that the Party Wall notice that had been issued was valid, contacted the building owners surveyor and liaised with them to confirm the method and approach to which works affecting the Party Wall should be undertaken. In addition we took a schedule of condition of the property prior to the works commencing.

We have now issued an Award and works are underway.  Our final piece of involvement should be to attend site once works have been completed to ensure they have been undertaken satisfactorily and have not affected our appointing owner’s property.

If you have a Party Wall enquiry or have been served with Notice under the Party Wall Act, please contact us on 01635 579208 or by using the contact form. We will be happy to act on your behalf.

Clear Party Wall Explanation

Party WallWe recently were instructed to act as a building owner’s Party Wall surveyor near Reading. On receiving the plans from the building owner’s architect, we were able to make a full assessment of the types of notices required and duly issued them to the adjoining owners.

On issuing the notices we also provided a cover letter explaining, in less formal terms, the implications of the works required, how these would affect the adjoining owners, as well as providing a full and clear description of the Party Wall process. In doing so we demonstrated to the adjoining owners exactly what was involved and what their options were. The adjoining owners were content with the explanation.

The clear and concise way in which we dealt with issuing notices meant that the adjoining owners were satisfied that they understood what was involved. As a result, they consented to the works without a Party Wall Award needing to be in place prior to commencement. This in turn saved our client (the building owner) money in terms of Party Wall Surveyor fees.

We strongly believe that Party Wall issues should be dealt with in a professional and transparent manner and in accordance with spirit of the Party Wall Award Etc. Act 1986.

It is our duty as Party Wall surveyors to provide clear and concise advice and to minimise accruing costs to the owners responsible for paying the fees.

If you require advice on a Party Wall issue, please contact us to discuss it further or complete the form below and we’ll get in touch.

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Understanding a Party Wall Award

A picture of a wallWhat is a Party Wall?
In short, it is a wall or structure that separates buildings belonging to two or more different owners.

This could be a wall in your property attached to your neighbour (e.g. semi-detached house or flat), a garage wall linked to another property, or a garden wall built astride a boundary (known as a Party Fence Wall). Separating floors in flats and shared chimneys are also party structures.

What is the Party Wall etc. Act 1996?
The Act is designed to avoid and minimise disputes between the two owners of a party structure.

It ensures that the Building Owner carrying out the work notifies the Adjoining Owner in advance of the proposed works that are likely to affect the Party Wall.

TOP TIP: It is a good idea to talk to your neighbours about your plans before serving the notice as that will greatly increase the chances of them agreeing, or at least concurring in the appointment of an ‘Agreed Surveyor’.

How does the Act work?
Certain works are deemed to be ‘notifiable’ under the Act. Typical examples include cutting into a party wall to take the bearing of a beam (e.g. in a loft conversion); inserting a damp proof course (even if only to your own side of a party wall); demolition and rebuilding of a party wall or structure; raising a party wall; underpinning a party wall or part of a party wall; and excavating within three or six metres of a party structure.
The Act details the requisite notice periods applicable in each situation.

In the event of a ‘dispute’ in response to any notice served, the parties (the Building Owner and the Adjoining Owner) must either each appoint their own Surveyor, or decide to appoint a single ‘Agreed Surveyor’. The Surveyor must act impartially. They are not appointed to win the argument for either side.

The purpose of this appointment is the resolution of the dispute by way of a Party Wall Award.

What is a Party Wall Award?
A Party Wall Award is a legally binding document drafted and served by the appointed Surveyors, or Agreed Surveyor, to agree how works should be executed.

It sets out the nature of the proposed works, together with details as to who is responsible for the cost of the works and any associated fees.

The Award will contain a Schedule of Condition to record the condition of the Adjoining Owner’s property prior to commencement of any works; this may be needed for later referral in determining the extent of any damage as a direct result of the awarded works.

The Award will usually also state which party is responsible for implementing any remedial works in the event of resultant damage.

Does the Party Wall Act apply to you?
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 applies to all ‘notifiable’ works in both residential and commercial property and includes:
• The building of a new wall on the line of junction (boundary) between two properties
• Works to a Party Wall
• Works to a Party Fence Wall
• Excavations – excavating foundations within three metres of a neighbour’s structure and lower than its foundations OR excavating foundations within six metres of a neighbour’s structure and below a line drawn down at 45° from the bottom of its foundation

Call 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.

For further information, read the RMA Party Wall information page or download the RICS Information Guide

How do you know if the Party Wall Act etc 1996 applies to works?

New structure adjoining older structureIf you are planning on undertaking building works the Party Wall etc Act 1996 may apply. If you do not know of a requirement to serve or respond to notices you are not alone and we can help.

Many people are unaware of their obligations and rights that the Party Wall Act provides. Building works that proceed without complying with the Act can lead to significant difficulties, legal action, and a breakdown in neighbourly relations. Iit is not just building works directly affecting a party wall or boundary wall that may require action under the Act.

A Building Owner may decide to build a permanent structure on his own land within 6 meters of a neighboring party structure, build near or on a boundary or cut into or otherwise alter an existing party wall. In all these cases the Party Wall Act can apply. The Act allows for a Building owner to progress with works whilst protecting the an Adjoining Owners’ interests.

Where an Adjoining owner has concerns regarding a neighbors’ proposals they can appoint an independent party wall surveyor to provide help and explain the implications and procedures of the Act.

The requirements of the act stipulate that where there is a disagreement, a Party wall surveyor can step in to guide the process according to a defined protocol. Anyone can act as a Party Wall Surveyor. However a surveyor should ideally be experienced in construction,  have read, understood and be able to operate within the Act, interpret technical details, drawings and ultimately work diplomatically to provide swift resolution.