The 'Party Wall etc. Act 1996' is an enabling piece of legislation, designed to resolve disputes and allow projects to proceed with building works.
Building works which usually fall under the Party Wall Act: building a new wall, rebuilding an existing party wall, excavation/digging for a foundation near a neighbour’s party wall, inserting a steel beam for a loft conversion, chimney breast removal, inserting a damp proof course, etc.Read More
Building works require a written ‘Notice’ to be served by or on behalf of the building owner.
The building owner must either receive written consent from the adjoining owner or settle any dissent or dispute by way of an award.
Both owners can agree on appointing one ‘agreed surveyor’ as this will speed up the resolution process and is more cost effective. Alternatively, each owner can appoint their own surveyor to resolve the dispute. Where two surveyors are appointed they must forthwith select a third surveyor.
A section one notice deals with new building on the line of junction (boundary line). Party structure notices are served under Section three and deal with works to an existing party wall, fence wall or party structure.
Section six notices deal with adjacent excavations, within three metres or six metres of the adjoining property. The notice is the mechanism by which the workings of the Act are engaged.
Section ten provides the mechanism by which disputes are resolved. If a dispute has arisen, an award if prepared by a party wall surveyor and sets out the terms under which work can proceed. It is advisable for the adjoining owners surveyor to prepare a ‘Schedule of Condition’ before the works begin.
It is important that any surveyor appointed has a good working knowledge of the Party Wall Act, and a good knowledge of construction detailing and practice.