What is the Party Wall Act?
The Party Wall Act was introduced in 1996 as a procedure for resolving disputes between neighbouring properties when one neighbour intends to carry out work on their property that will affect the ‘party wall’ – the partition (most commonly a wall) that separates the two properties. The partition is erected partly on the land of one owner and partly on the land of the other. Written notification of any proposed change must be provided in advance. A surveyor is often involved to assess the neighbouring buildings. Our helpful video provides everything you need to know.
Party Wall Surveyors
Vincent-Brown & Associates Ltd are not chartered surveyors but are specialist party wall surveyors. Our party wall surveyors undertake work nationally under the Party Wall Act in respect of domestic and commercial construction work. Our party wall surveyors do not undertake any other type of work and operate only in this highly specialised field. As such we have acquired vast experience in helping Adjoining Owners and Building Owners to deal with party wall agreements and party wall awards efficiently and effectively. We believe that we can be justifiably proud of our reputation as an expert professional firm.
Our party wall surveyors have been appointed by both major property developers and private individuals alike. Vincent-Brown & Associates Ltd is proud to regularly work alongside several selected contractors as their preferred recommended party wall surveyors. Many Adjoining Owners and Building Owners have found that our expert knowledge of the Party Wall Act allows our party wall surveyors to provide a superior service in contrast to more traditional firms of 'high-street' surveyors.
Our experience has taught us that party wall work is complex; in order to give our appointing owners the best possible service our party wall surveyors will, where necessary, consult a range of professional experts. The high volume of work that our party wall surveyors undertake nationally allows us to offer a professional service whilst maintaining our costs at a truly competitive level.
Under the Party Wall Act you may only appoint a named individual to act as your surveyor – you cannot appoint a company. Vincent-Brown & Associates Ltd acts as an introductory agent and support service for our party wall surveyors and will not actually undertake any work under the Party Wall Act on behalf of Adjoining Owners and Building Owners, such work being undertaken directly by your named party wall surveyor in his individual capacity and not on behalf of Vincent-Brown ↦ Associates Ltd. All of our party wall surveyors are highly experienced and knowledgeable in the Party Wall Act.
Party wall notices
Once you have served a party wall notice upon your neighbour he or she has 14 days in which to respond in writing. If he or she dissents from the party wall notice or does not respond to you within the 14 days then a difference is deemed to have arisen between the parties. This means that both you and your neighbour must appoint party wall surveyors under section 10 of the Party Wall Act. You can either jointly agree upon a single party wall surveyor or you can each appoint different party wall surveyors.
Do my neighbour’s works fall under the scope of the Act?
The most common domestic building works falling under the Party Wall Act are extensions, loft conversions, basement conversions and even removal of chimney breasts. If you live in a terraced or semi-detached property then in most normal circumstances you will share a party wall with your neighbour. If you are proposing a loft conversion it is most likely that you will need to insert steel beams into the party wall to support the new suspended floor. Most loft conversions therefore fall under the terms of the Party Wall Act.
Extensions may fall under the Party Wall Act regardless of whether you live in terraced, semi-detached or detached premises. This is because almost all ground floor extensions require new foundations which will often be deeper than the older, existing foundations of the neighbouring property (assuming that the neighbour does not already have an extension themselves). If the new foundations are to be within three metres of the adjoining owner’s foundations it is highly likely that the works fall under the Party Wall Act.
In either of these two situations the building owner has a strict legal obligation to serve the correct party wall notice on any adjoining owner who may be affected by the works.
Party Wall Award
The party wall surveyors will prepare a fair and impartial party wall awards which will deal with the right to execute the party wall works, the time and manner of executing any party wall work, and any other matter that arises between the parties connected to the party wall works. In all normal circumstances the party wall surveyors will prepare a report, called a “schedule of condition”, of the neighbouring property before works start in order to protect the interests of both parties in the event of a later claim for damages.
Vincent-Brown & Associates Limited do not provide advice on the suitability of any template for a particular usage or circumstance.