Overview of the Party Wall Process
The party wall process refers to the legal procedures and requirements that must be followed when undertaking construction or renovation work that could potentially affect a party wall, boundary wall, or neighbouring properties. Here is a general overview of the party wall process:
1) Determine Applicability: Assess whether the proposed works fall within the scope of the party wall legislation in your jurisdiction. This typically includes works such as building on or near a shared or boundary wall, excavating near neighbouring properties, or making alterations that could affect the structural integrity of a party wall.
2) Serve a Party Wall Notice: If the proposed works fall under the party wall legislation, you need to serve a Party Wall Notice to the affected neighbouring property owner(s). The notice should outline the nature and extent of the proposed works, provide relevant plans and drawings, and specify the anticipated start date.
3) Adjoining Owner’s Response: The adjoining owner(s) have a certain period of time to respond to the Party Wall Notice. They can either consent to the proposed works or dissent, which initiates a dispute resolution process. If they dissent, they can appoint their own surveyor or agree to a jointly appointed Agreed Surveyor.
4) Party Wall Agreement: If a dispute arises, a Party Wall Agreement (also known as a Party Wall Award) is prepared. This is a legally binding document that outlines the rights, responsibilities, and safeguards for both the building owner and the adjoining owner. It includes provisions related to access, working hours, construction methods, and measures to prevent or address potential damage.
5) Party Wall Surveyors’ Role: Surveyors play a vital role in the party wall process. Each party (building owner and adjoining owner) may appoint their own surveyor, or a jointly appointed Agreed Surveyor may handle the matter. The surveyors assess the proposed works, conduct inspections, negotiate terms, and ensure compliance with the party wall legislation.
6) Building and Construction Works: Once the Party Wall Agreement is in place, the building owner can proceed with the construction or renovation works outlined in the agreement. They should adhere to the terms and conditions specified, including any measures to minimize impact on the neighbouring properties.
7) Resolution of Disputes: If disputes arise during or after the works, the appointed surveyors can mediate and facilitate a resolution. They can assess damage, determine liability, and oversee any necessary repairs or compensation.
It is important to note that the specific party wall process can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the applicable legislation. It is advisable to consult the relevant party wall legislation or seek professional advice from a party wall surveyor or legal expert to ensure compliance with the specific requirements in your area.