The Party Wall etc Act 1996
The Party Wall etc Act 1996 imposes a legal requirement on building owner’s proposing to undertake building work or alterations to serve notices on adjoining owner’s where the building work involves the potential to affect the adjoining owner’s property.
We can provide you with the benefit of over 18 years’ experience in undertaking Party Wall matters including serving of all notices, negotiation with all parties involved as either a named surveyor on behalf of a building owner or an adjoining owner. We are also able to act as an agreed surveyor, acting jointly on behalf of both adjoining and building owners.
Our Party Wall Surveyor, Neil Heyes MRICS, is an experienced and qualified Party Wall surveyor. He has carried out many Party Wall instructions, acting as both a named surveyor or an agreed surveyor. His work is varied and this ranges from simple extensions and loft conversions to more complex commercial instructions, with multiple adjoining owners. Our fees vary but are reflective of the time we feel it takes to undertake the work in a professional and concise manner. We always provide an upfront fee and further advice if we feel this would be exceeded.
We have put together the following common questions we are asked by potential and returning clients, which may prove useful:
Do I need to serve a party wall notice?
Yes, you need to serve a party wall notice if you are excavating close to an adjoining property or doing work to an existing party wall. You will also need to serve notice if you want to build on the boundary line.
What party wall surveyors actually do.
The agreed surveyor or two surveyors make an award which is a document that can only be appealed in the County Court within 14 days of being served on you. If it is not appealed, it is then binding on both owners.
The award will have copies of the drawings, a record of condition of the adjoining property in case there is a claim of damage and it also sets out the rights and obligations of the owners. It may also contain method statements for more technical work.
An award can determine the right, time and manner of executing the work and any other matters arising out of or incidental to the dispute including the costs of making the award.
If damage is caused during or after the work, a party wall surveyor will determine if the damage has resulted from the works and assess an amount of compensation if the owners cannot agree.
Who pays the party wall surveyor's fees?
The building owner proposing the work is, under normal circumstances, responsible for the reasonable costs of the adjoining owner which includes their surveyor and possibly an advising engineer appointed by them and any other reasonable costs. You may be able to agree a fixed fee with your own surveyor but probably not with the other surveyor.
What party wall surveyors can’t do.
Your surveyor cannot deal with works that include those not associated with the party wall or as detailed in the party wall award. They are not able to deal with nuisance, cleaning in the event of builders mess, nor in any other matter outside the Party Wall etc Act1996.
Do you need to include drawings when you serve a party wall notice?
Drawings are compulsory if you are serving a section 6 notice. However, any notice should be served with the drawings you have had prepared for the work so that the adjoining owner can see exactly what it is you intend to do and then make an informed decision.