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Party Wall Surveying in Cambridgeshire
An Introduction to Party Wall Surveying, the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, Party Wall Surveyors and other associated matters to help you as the Building Owner or the Property Owner beside where the works are being proposed.
You can be assured that you will receive the right advice. Allen Norman, Director of Ely Design Group, is a Chartered Building Surveyor and a Fellow of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors. He has many years experience in all aspects of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
This page provides a basic introduction for you, as a Property Owner who either wishes to carry out notifiable works, or your neighbour is planning to, to the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
Your Party Wall Questions Answered
Please enter your contact details and ask your party wall questions in the form at the bottom of this page and we will send you a detailed response free of charge.
If you are a Building Owner, (the person planning to do the works), then click on Building Owner for more detailed information.
If you are an Adjoining Owner, (your neighbour is planning the works), then click on Adjoining Owner for more detailed information.
Introduction to the Party Wall etc. Act 1996
The Party Wall Act lays down the procedural and compliance requirements arising from any owner of land or buildings proposing to undertake building works that, by definition, affect the land or buildings of an Adjoining Owner – your neighbour(s).
Work Covered by the Party Wall Act
The principle categories are:-
– works physically affecting the party wall between two properties – see examples.
– works physically or indirectly affecting an adjoining property;
– excavations and / or building works that could have an affect upon adjacent and / or remote properties – see examples.
– Building close to or on the line of junction – the boundary.
Works to the Party Wall
The Party Wall Act gives Owners certain rights over the entire thickness of the party wall which an Owner would not otherwise have the ability to legally do, for example (wording taken from the Act):-
- to underpin, thicken or raise a party structure;
- to make good, repair, or demolish and rebuild, a party structure where such work is necessary because of a defect or the wall is in disrepair;
- to demolish a partition which separates buildings belonging to different owners but does not conform with statutory requirements and to build instead a party wall which does conform;
- to demolish a party structure which is of insufficient strength or height for the purposes of any intended building of the building owner;
- to cut into a party structure for any purpose which may include inserting a damp proof course;
- to cut away from a party wall any projection on or over the land of the Building Owner in order to erect, raise or underpin any such wall or for any other purpose;
- to cut away or demolish parts of any wall or building of an adjoining owner overhanging the land of the Building Owner or overhanging a party wall, to the extent that it is necessary to cut away or demolish the parts to enable a vertical wall to be erected or raised against the wall or building of the adjoining owner;
- to cut into the wall of an Adjoining Owner’s building in order to insert a flashing or other weather-proofing of a wall erected against that wall;.
- to execute any other necessary works incidental to the connection of a party structure with the premises adjoining it;.
- to raise a party fence wall, or to raise such a wall for use as a party wall and to demolish a party fence wall and rebuild it as a party fence wall or as a party wall;.
- subject to the provisions of section 11(7), to reduce, or to demolish and rebuild, a party wall or party fence wall to—.
(i) a height of not less than two metres where the wall is not used by an Adjoining Owner to any greater extent than a boundary wall; or
(ii) a height currently enclosed upon by the building of an adjoining owner;
- to expose a party wall or party structure hitherto enclosed subject to providing adequate weathering.
1. a Building Owner proposes to excavate, or excavate for and erect a building or structure within three metres of any part of the Adjoining Owner’s property (this will include any foundations below ground that may project) and the exactions are to a lower depth that the Adjoining Owner’s foundations
2. a Building Owner proposes to excavate, or excavate for and erect a building or structure, within six metres of any party of the Adjoining Owner’s property and part of the excavation will cross a line projected at 45 degrees downwards from the point where the face of the Adjoining Owner’s building meets the underside of it’s foundations.
Notices and Replies
The Owner proposing to carry out any works under these categories is termed “the Building Owner” who is required to give prior notice (often refereed to as a Party Wall Notice, a Party Structure Notice, a Line of Junction Notice, a 3 metre Notice or a Notice of Adjacent Excavation) of his proposals to an adjoining freehold and/or leasehold property owner who is termed “the Adjoining Owner”. We are able to prepare and serve these notices for the Building Owner and respond to them on behalf of Adjoining Owners. Please contact us to discuss your requirements or email any documentation to us and we will contact you to explain the matter with you.
Having been served with a notice the Adjoining Owner can respond in one of the following ways:-
– The Adjoining Owner agrees and consents to the proposed works; you should consider a party wall agreement;
– The Adjoining Owner agrees to the works providing the Building Owner prepares a schedule of condition of the Adjoining Owner’s property – click Schedule of Condition for details of this; we would normally expect the building owner to meet the cost of this report.
– The Adjoining Owner dissents to the proposed works. Both the Adjoining Owner and the Building Owner must then each appoint a Party Wall Surveyor or concur in the appointment of one Party Wall Surveyor who will represent both parties – the Agreed Surveyor.
– The Adjoining Owner fails to respond to the notice. The Building Owner or a surveyor acting for them then gives the Adjoining Owner a further 10 days and after then, if a surveyor has not been appointed, the Building Owner can appoint a Surveyor on behalf of the Adjoining Owner.
The first thing that the Surveyors must do is to select a Third Surveyor. This Surveyor is rarely called upon but matters can be referred to the Surveyor where there is a dispute between the Surveyors and / or Owners and the Third Surveyor will award on the matters referred to him.
The Surveyor(s) will then prepare the Party Wall Award which details the parties to the dispute, the Surveyors, the Third Surveyor (if applicable), the works, how and when the works will be done, insurances, access, fees etc. The Award normally includes a Schedule of Condition describing the Adjoining Owner’s property prior to the commencement of the works. The Award is then served on the two Owners who then have 14 days to appeal against the Award. After 14 days the Award is binding.
The Surveyors will decide who will pay the costs of preparing the Award (and any other costs not just fees) but, in all normal circumstances, the fees or all / any appointed Surveyors will be paid by the Building Owner. Technically, the Adjoining Owner is responsible for the fees of their own Surveyor but in practice the Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor will send the invoice direct to the Building Owner, often via the Surveyor, for the Building Owner to pay the Adjoining Owner’s costs.
In any proposal that is beyond straightforward building construction the appointed Surveyor(s) may need to make a secondary appointment for any other specialist advice required, such as that from a Structural Engineer and whose justifiable fees are also paid by the Building Owner.
In minor works, such as very small domestic building work, it is quite realistic to simply agree to the proposals and we suggest that you consider a Party Wall Agreement.
In large projects, or where the Adjoining Owner has any concerns, the matter proceeds to an Award but, in any situation, the Building Owner is required to indemnify the Adjoining Owner against the possibility of damage that might arise either accidentally or by negligence. Such damage is determined by reviewing the Schedule of Condition of the original condition which is normally agreed by the Surveyors at the outset.
Party Wall Awards (Sometimes (Wrongly) Referred to as Party Wall Agreements)
The purpose of a Party Wall Award is to document the details of the Building Owner’s proposals that have a direct or consequently affect upon the Adjoining Owner’s land or property and to record the conditions and requirements under which the Building Owner must execute those works. The documentation includes drawings and other working details together with method statements agreeing the procedures. The Party Wall Award also includes a Schedule of Condition which includes written description and photographs of the condition of the Adjoining Owner’s property before the works start. The Award is signed by the Surveyors and served on the Owners.
If the two Owners are in agreement but want this documented and the condition of the Adjoining Owner’s property documented then we recommend that they have a Party Wall Agreement.
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