Party wall disputes? Here are some tips: What is not covered by the Act? The Act relates only to certain specific types of work and is permissive in nature. It should not be seen as a method of objecting to or preventing works and it is not intended to be applied to minor jobs that do not affect the structural integrity or loading of a party wall. It is generally agreed that works such as fixing plug sockets, screwing in shelving or replastering walls are minor works and do not require a notice. Notices: The workings of the Act are always instigated by the of issuing notices. This is the first stage of the process and, without the issue of valid notices, no further action can be taken under the provision of the Act. Written notice must be served on adjoining owners at least two months before starting any party wall works (one month for works to the line of junction or excavations). All adjoining owners must be served a notice and there are likely to be instances where there is more than one adjoining property and more than one owner of each property (ie: if the adjoining property is split into flats and owned on a leasehold basis, notices will be required to both leaseholder and freeholder of all flats affected by the works). Works to a party wall, or those affecting a ceiling or floor, will also require a notice to adjoining owners living above or below.
Some works are considered too minor to require the process of notification. Anderton Gables can advise you on which notices are required, which properties need to be notified, and can serve the notices on your behalf. Your neighbour or ‘Adjoining Owner’ can either agree to the works as proposed in the notice, or disagree. If they decide to disagree, or do not respond Party Wall Surveyor(s) will become involved and draw up a Party Wall Award which states how the work should be done and the responsibilities of the various parties involved. The adjoining owner can insist on appointing their own surveyor in addition to your surveyor; however, all party wall surveyors must act impartially, in the interest of protecting all stakeholders and enabling the works to be undertaken. Unfortunately the cost of all party wall surveyors fees usually will be payable by the building owner proposing the work.
The Party Wall Act requires you to serve notice on any neighbours that may be affected by your planned works either 1 or 2 months in advance depending upon which type of notice it is. The first decision you have to make to be made is whether to serve the notice yourself or get a Party Wall Surveyor to do it for you. There are no prescribed forms for the notice so there is no reason why you should not do it yourself (there are some sample letters in Part 5 of the Party Wall leaflet) although if you are going to be appointing a surveyor later it would be better to get them to serve the notice as well.
The Party wall act, the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 act to give its full name is a piece of legislation that was mainly transferred from Part VI of London Building Acts (amendment) Act 1939, it applies in England and Wales. The main purpose of the act is to provide a framework for amicably preventing and resolving disputes between neighbours in relation to Party Walls, boundary Walls and Excavations near neighbouring buildings. Building owners are given statutory rights that did not exist in existing common law, when undertaking certain types of construction as defined by the Act. As well as these rights it obliges Building owners to give appropriate notice and for the relevant notice period if they intend on carrying out the defined work. See extra details on Party wall surveyor cost.