Party Wall Consultancy Services

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 came into force in England and Wales on 1 July 1997 to provide a framework for preventing and resolving disputes between owners of neighbouring properties in relation to work on or close to a party wall. The Act sets out procedures to follow when construction work involves a party wall or party fence wall, some excavations close to neighbouring buildings or new walls at boundaries.

   

The Act permits owners to carry out certain specific works, including works to the full thickness of a party wall, whilst at the same time protecting the interests of anyone else who might be affected by that work.

As a Building Owner planning to undertake construction it is important to understand what works fall within the Party Wall Act. Cutting into or away from a party wall, underpinning a party wall, raising a party wall, reconstructing a boundary fence as a wall at the boundary or excavating for foundations adjacent to neighbouring property are typical examples of works falling under the Act. If the proposed construction works are notifiable, the Building Owner must serve a statutory Notice on all the relevant adjoining owners as defined by the Act in order to exercise his/her rights to implement the work.

As an Adjoining Owner in receipt of a Notice from the Building Owner, there is the option to agree for the construction to proceed without the appointment of party wall surveyors. Alternatively there is the option to disagree  and to appoint a surveyor to act either jointly with or separately from the Building Owner. In all normal circumstances the Building Owner undertaking the works for his/her benefit is liable for appointed surveyor/s fees if a dispute arises.

The Act is designed to avoid or minimise disputes by making sure property owners notify their neighbours in advance of certain proposed works. The Act requires that where the adjoining owner does not “agree” in writing to the works a surveyor or surveyors will determine the time and manner in which those works are to be carried out. This document is called a Party Wall Award.

Please see the links below to read and download the RICS Consumer Guide – A Clear Impartial Guide to Party Walls plus The Communities and Local Government Explanatory Booklet on the Legislation. These publications provide specific details on the procedures and obligations involved in construction work governed by the Act.

RICS Consumer Guide
Local Government Booklet

 

Alistair Goddard BSc MRICS is a chartered building surveyor and set up Grantchester Associates in 2013 to focus on advising and delivering both the Building Owner and Adjoining Owner surveyor roles governed by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. As well as administration of the Act, his professional consultancy remit typically will entail condition scheduling, access and scaffold licensing, defect diagnosis and repair scheduling post construction. Alistair is currently advising on private client property extensions and new build projects ; multi-unit mixed use developments ; retail, commercial office and school building extensions and redevelopments.

Please see the link below to read and download Alistair’s Curriculum Vitae.