What is a Party Wall Agreement?
A party wall is a shared wall that divides the properties or gardens of two separate owners, where the dividing wall is built along the boundary of the two properties. A Party Structure is a means of separating separately owned properties in the form of a wall or floor within an apartment block for example.
Party Wall Agreements/ Awards are required for any work on an existing party wall or structure or any excavation within 3 metres or 6 metres of neighbouring buildings. Most side and rear extensions and loft conversions will require a Party Wall Agreement.
Under the Party Wall Act, building owners have the right to:
• Repair party walls,
• underpin party walls,
• raise the height of a party wall,
• re-build unstable party walls,
• add a Damp Proof Course to a party wall.
A building owner must have a Party Wall Award in place with their neighbour before any construction work that will affect the party wall can commence.
A Party Wall Notice
A Party Wall Notice is the notice that the homeowner sends to communicate to their neighbour their intent to carry out works to or close to a Party Wall. A Party Wall Notice should include the following:
• The names and addresses of the owners
• Address of the building under construction
• A description of the works including drawings
• Details of any demolition to be carried out
• The proposed start date for construction
At Cherry Architects, we can assist you with submitting a party wall notice and put you in touch with a party wall surveyor.
Before issuing a notice, it is recommended to talk to your neighbour about the work first so that they have warning and can discuss any concerns in advance.
The neighbour can respond to the notice by either giving consent in writing or giving refusal in writing within 14 days of receiving the notice. For works to existing party walls, if the neighbour does not respond before 14 days or they refuse, they are deemed to be in dispute and a party wall surveyor should be appointed. For the proposal of a new party wall, if the neighbour does not respond before 14 days or they refuse, the works can still go ahead but should be contained within the building owner’s land only.
After the Party Wall Agreement
Work cannot commence until the expiration of the notice period. The notice period should be at least 2 months in advance of the proposed start date for work to an existing party wall/ structure and at least 1 month when a new party wall is being proposed. Notices are valid for one year; work must have started before the year is up to remain valid.
If there is a dispute, a party wall surveyor should be appointed to draw up a party wall award. The adjoining owner has the right to appoint their own surveyor, for which the building owner must cover the cost. The neighbour can also request certain safety or security measures to be undertaken by the building owner to protect their property and should be compensated should any damage to caused.
The Party Wall Award
The Party Wall Award is drawn up by the surveyor, which outlines the scope of work and dates for the works to be carried out. This must also record the condition of the neighbouring property. the surveyor will be required to inspect the work periodically to ensure its compliance with the terms of the award.