Stage One of the Party Wall Process: Serving Party Wall Notices
The first stage of the Party Wall Process is to serve formal Notice(s) detailing the proposed works upon the Adjoining Owner. This is a legal obligation of the Building Owner if the proposed work falls under the scope of the Party Wall Act. If the Adjoining Owner regards that your proposed works will be of no inconvenience or incur no damage to their property, the Adjoining Owner will give their consent to the works in writing. Obtaining written consent from the Adjoining Owner would put an end to the Party Wall process.
A Party Wall Notice is a formal written statement by the Building Owner informing the Adjoining Owner of the works proposed to be undertaken. To make a Notice valid, it must contain the vital information outlined as required in the Act. If you are considering to undertake building works up to or on a boundary line or an excavation project within 3 or 6 metres of an adjoining property and at a depth lower than the neighbouring properties existing foundations, you will be required to serve valid Party Wall Notice(s) on the Adjoining Owner at least 1 month before commencing of works. Any works on party walls and structures will require at least 2 months notice.
Party Wall London offer services to serve valid Party Wall Notices upon Adjoining Owners on behalf of Building Owners. This service will be particularly valuable for first-time project holders who are unfamiliar with the content and timing requirements of a Party Wall Notice. The type of work being undertaken will necessitate the service of appropriate Party Wall Notice(s).
By serving a Party Wall Notice, the Act gets put into effect. Both the Building Owner and the Adjoining Owner gain access of their rights and protection in accordance with the Act. This is important for when potential disputes arise as it enables such issues to be settled without the need of legal action involvement.
Serving invalid Notices or failing to serve a Party Wall Notice can lead to expensively unfortunate outcomes. Adjoining Owners are able to apply for an Injunction in court, which will put a temporary or permanent halt to the works.
Response to the Notice
Once the Party Wall Notice(s) is served upon the Adjoining Owner, they have 14 days in which they have to give their written response by. There are 3 ways in which the Adjoining Owner can respond.
The Adjoining Owner gives their written consent to the proposed works outlined in the Party Wall Notice. Only when the agreement is made in writing, would it be the end of the Party Wall process.
Examples of Notifiable Works:
Alterations to a Party Wall - changes to the height, cutting into the Party Wall
Installations of Steel Beams into a Party Wall
Chimney Breast Removal
Excavations within 3 or 6 metres of an Adjoining Property
2. Consent with Request of a Schedule of Condition
The Adjoining Owner gives their written consent to the proposed works outlined in the Party Wall Notice subject to a Schedule of Condition is prepared of their property. When this is requested, a survey is carried out of the Adjoining Owner's property and a written Schedule of Condition document is created prior to the commencement of works. Adjoining Owners may wish to request this service for extra protection of their property as it provides a reference point in the case of any damage occurring during the works.
In the event of the Adjoining Owner dissenting from the Party Wall Notice, a dispute would be deemed to have arisen. They may agree to appoint the same Party Wall Surveyor as you, this surveyor is referred to as an Agreed Surveyor. The role of the Party Wall Surveyor(s) in the event of a dispute is to impartially administer the Party Wall Act to produce a Party Wall Award. The Adjoining Owner may wish to appoint their own separate surveyor and in this case, the two appointed Party Wall Surveyors negotiate the legally binding Party Wall Award before any works which come under the scope of the Party Wall Act commences.
Party Wall Notices
As a Building Owner, it is essential for you to know the appropriate steps that need to be taken before you carry out any works on your property. The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 not only concerns matters to do with a party wall, but also covers new builds on a boundary line and excavations. Each project is unique and correct notices are required to be served in order for the Act to be invoked. A Party Wall Notice is a written form of communication that informs your effected neighbour(s) about your proposed works. At Party Wall London we make this process straightforward and guide you to successfully carry out your project.
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Confused about the process? Don’t worry, we are here to help. We understand the specifications and the duties of following the Act can be a bewildering experience. Our surveyors are ready to give the utmost impartial advice. Get in contact with us today to speak to a professional about your construction proposal.