Prior to work commencing, the building owner (the person who wishes to carrying out the building work) MUST identify any elements of the intended work that falls within the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 and give formal written notice to the neighbouring properties affected. The owner of the neighbouring property is known within the Act as the adjoining owner.
Adjoining owners can agree (consent) or dissent, although they cannot prevent the work going ahead, with what is proposed. Under the Act, the parties are then said to be in dispute. Where a dispute arises, the Act provides a mechanism to resolve such disputes. As a Party Wall Surveyor, I will serve the appropriate Notices on your behalf, liaise with the adjoining owners surveyor (if any) and prepare the Party Wall Award. It should be noted that the adjoining owner cannot prevent the proposed works being carried out and must not frustrate the process. There are three types of Notices that may need to be served (not all Notices apply to every project). The Notice periods vary for each type of Notice and therefore it is important that party wall matters are addressed early in the process as serving appropriate Party Wall Notices, awaiting replies and preparing a Party Wall Award can take many weeks (possibly months) to agree. Also, where a dispute occurs, the adjoining owner is entitled to instruct their own Party Wall Surveyor to act on their behalf. Generally speaking, the building owner who has served the Notice is liable to pay the fees of the adjoining owners surveyor.
The Party Wall Act does not apply in every case. I can advise how the Act will impact on your individual project and how to comply with the requirements under the Act.
Party Wall matters can appear to be daunting but if the procedures, as set out within the Act, are followed correctly, all parties will be reassured and a satisfactory conclusion will be achieved.
The Act is separate from obtaining planning permission or building regulation approval.