Party wall problems? Here are a few tips: Party walls usually separate buildings belonging to different owners but could include garden walls built astride a boundary – known as party fence walls. Where a wall separates two different size buildings often only the part that is used by both properties is a party wall, the rest belongs to the person or persons on whose land it stands. The “etc” within The Party Wall etc Act 1996 is so included because the provisions of the Act are not limited to party walls, they also include party structures and party fence walls. Section 20 of the Act defines each: “party fence wall” means a wall (not being part of a building) which stands on lands of different owners and is used or constructed to be used for separating such adjoining lands, but does not include a wall constructed on the land of one owner the artificially formed support of which projects into the land of another owner; “party structure” means a party wall and also a floor partition or other structure separating buildings or parts of buildings approached solely by separate staircases or separate entrances;
Certain works which are likely to affect your neighbours are covered by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. This legislation provides protection to all parties involved and is intended to enable the works to be undertaken. In the event of non-cooperation from your neighbour or disagreement, party wall surveyors agree how the works should be carried out, including necessary protection measures and rectification of any damage. The purpose of the act is to avoid litigation by dealing with potential problems up front.
People often find that implementing the Party Wall Act can be frustrating and expensive. It is not unusual for a building project to be delayed by a couple of months and surveyor’s fees to run to a couple of thousand pounds just for the Party Wall aspect on what might be considered to be a fairly straightforward alteration to a domestic property. To help you navigate your way through the Act we will take a look at the most common problems from the point of view of the party planning the works.
These types of work all require notices to be served as required by the act, once notice has been served, if there is dissent then it is deemed there is a dispute and the Act allows for this, this would be the dispute or resolution stage. Most disputes arrives when the Adjoining Owner has worries or concerns with the proposed work or simply fails to respond in the statutory time to the building owner, for which there could be many reasons. Where a dispute arises either due to non-consent or no response then the Act lays down the steps required to resolve the dispute this is where the Building Owner and the Adjoining Owner will each appoint there Surveyor this could be one each or even the same surveyor with agreement for all parties working as the Agreed Surveyor. Read more info at Party wall surveyor fees.