Party Wall Matters
Giles Lewis & Co can offer clear, professional and free initial advice. We are experienced Party Wall Surveyors and can assist you through the entire Party Wall process.
Whether you are intending to extend your home, convert your loft, redevelop land, the chances are that your building work may impact on the boundary, boundaries of neighbouring properties or nearby buildings in the ownership of others. This may then require the work having to comply with the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
The Act regulates how certain building work is to be carried out on or near to the boundary between two or more properties and provides protection to both the building owner planning works and an adjoining owner. The Act provides for a process to be followed for resolving disputes that may arise between a building owner planning works and an adjoining property owner.
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 typically will apply in the following situations:
- Building on or near to an existing boundary.
- Carrying out various building work to an existing party wall or party structure, that may separate properties.
- Excavating within prescribed distances and to a depth lower than the foundations of an adjoining property.
The purpose of The Party Wall Act is to produce a fair outcome where work being undertaken by one owner could have some effects on a neighbour. It recognises that both parties have rights and seeks to safeguard them by establishing a fair and reasonable way work can be undertaken.
When carrying out works that are captured under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, a building owner carrying out the work must serve notice on an adjoining owner(s). Giles Lewis & Co can advise and issue Party Wall Notices on behalf of a Building Owner. Following the serving of Party Wall notices, a dispute occurs when dissent from a Notice is acknowledged. The Act also recognises a failure to respond to a Party Structure Notice or a Notice of Excavation within 14 days as deemed to have a dissented and a dispute arises.
If a dispute occurs, the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is activated and both (or all) parties must appoint a Party Wall Surveyor. Giles Lewis & Co are often appointed to act as Building Owner’s Surveyor, Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor or act as Agreed Surveyor and when acting as Agreed Surveyor, representing both the Building and Adjoining owners. The appointment of a Party Wall Surveyor is a statutory appointment and as such the Party Wall Surveyor has a duty to act in an entirely impartial manner which ensures that the best solutions to any disputes are pursued and that all parties are equally protected. Generally, the surveyor’s reasonable fees for acting as the Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor will be paid by the Building Owner.
For Building Owners, we are able serve the appropriate notices under the Act, liaise with the Adjoining Owner’s Surveyors, prepare the Schedules of Condition, prepare and agree the Party Wall Awards and attend to any matters during the works and sign off the awards upon completion. Please note a Schedule of Condition is not a pre-requisite of the Act but advisable as the Schedule of Condition will record all pre-existing defects to the adjoining owner’s property and to areas of this property within a set distance to the building owners work. Therefore, in the event of damage being caused as a consequence of the works; it is a matter of record and not of dispute.
For Adjoining Owners, we will check that the notices have been served correctly, agree the Schedule of Condition with the building owner’s surveyor, agree the Party Wall Award and review the schedule of Condition on completion of the work.
We are Members of The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and for most Party Wall projects, our fees are usually fixed and where possible agreed. Furthermore, fees will not include any hidden extras. There are however, projects where the agreement of a fixed fee is not possible, and we inform you of this and ensure full transparency at all times if this were the case.
Giles Lewis & Co can offer clear, professional and free initial advice. We are experienced Party Wall Surveyors and can assist you through the entire Party Wall process. If you are contemplating building works or have been served with a Party Wall Notice, please contact us for free no obligation advice, either telephone us on 01722 323016/07432 499502 or email us.