Party Wall Notice Period | Serving a Party Wall Notice before Building Work Commences


Party walls are a common feature in urban environments where buildings share a boundary or are in close proximity to each other. They often involve unique legal and practical considerations, which is where the Party Wall Notice Period comes into play. The Party Wall Notice Period is a crucial aspect of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, which sets out the rules and regulations governing party walls, boundary walls, and excavations in England and Wales. This introductory article aims to provide a clear and concise overview of the Party Wall Notice Period, its importance in the construction process, and its role in fostering healthy neighbourly relations. By understanding the legal requirements and timeframes involved, homeowners, builders, and developers can better navigate the complexities of party wall agreements and ensure that all parties' rights are respected throughout any construction or renovation project.

What is a Party Wall?


Party Wall Notice Period | Serving a Party Wall Notice before Building Work Commences, Harding Chartered Surveyors

A party wall is a shared wall that separates buildings or properties, usually between terraced or semi-detached houses. It can also include garden walls, external walls, and chimneys.

Types of Party Wall Notice


There are 3 types of party wall notices you might need to serve:

  1. Party Structure Notice: For work directly affecting the party wall, such as alterations or repairs.
  2. Notice of Adjacent Excavation: For excavating within 3 meters of a neighbouring property or garden wall, and to a depth lower than the bottom of their foundations.
  3. Line of Junction Notice: For building a new wall along the boundary line between your property and your neighbour's.

Serving a Party Wall Notice your Neighbour(s)


Party Wall Notice Period | Serving a Party Wall Notice before Building Work Commences, Harding Chartered Surveyors

If your planned building work such as a loft conversion, or a building extension, falls under the Party Wall Act, you must serve the appropriate written notice to your neighbour(s) as soon as possible. This is a crucial step, as work cannot begin until the notice has been served and the necessary agreements are in place.

Notice Periods


  • Party Structure Notice: You must serve notice at least two months before the work is set to commence.
  • Notice of Adjacent Excavation: You must serve notice at least one month before the excavation begins.
  • Line of Junction Notice: You must serve notice at least one month before starting the work.

Your neighbour has 14 days to respond to the notice. If they don't respond or dissent, the next step is to appoint a party wall surveyor.

Appointing a Party Wall Surveyor


If your neighbour dissents or doesn't respond to the notice within the 14-day period, you'll need to appoint a party wall surveyor. This can either be an agreed surveyor (if your neighbour agrees to use the same surveyor), or separate surveyors representing each party. The surveyor(s) will then prepare a party wall award, outlining the details of the work and any necessary compensation or protection measures.

Schedule of Condition


Before work begins, it's essential to have a schedule of condition prepared. This is an impartial record of the current state of your neighbour's property, which can be used to settle any disputes or claims of damage caused by the building work. The schedule of condition should be prepared by the party wall surveyor.


Party Wall Surveyor Quote


Party Wall Notice Period | Serving a Party Wall Notice before Building Work Commences, Harding Chartered Surveyors

Planning Permission and Building Regulations


It's important to note that obtaining planning permission and meeting building regulations are separate from the party wall agreement process. You'll still need to obtain the necessary permissions and approvals from your local authority.

How much does a Party Wall Cost?


The cost of a party wall can vary significantly, depending on various factors such as the extent of the work required, the complexity of the project, and the professional fees involved. In general, the expense of constructing, maintaining, or modifying a party wall is shared equally between the property owners.

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 provides a legal framework for resolving disputes arising from the construction, alteration, or maintenance of party walls in England and Wales. Under this legislation, if one party plans to carry out work on a shared wall, they are required to notify the adjoining property owner through a Party Wall Notice. The adjoining owner can either consent to the proposed work or raise concerns, leading to the appointment of a Party Wall Surveyor to oversee the process and ensure the work is done correctly. The cost of the Party Wall Surveyor's fees is usually borne by the party carrying out the work, but can sometimes be split between both parties.

FAQs


  1. Can I serve a party wall notice myself?

Yes, you can serve the notice yourself. However, it must include all the necessary information and be in writing. It's advisable to consult a party wall surveyor or a legal expert to ensure your notice complies with the Party Wall Act.

  1. How much does a party wall surveyor cost?

Fees for party wall surveyors can vary widely, so it's essential to obtain quotes from several surveyors before making a decision. Costs can range from a few hundred to several thousand pounds, depending on the complexity of the project and the surveyor's experience.

  1. What happens if my neighbour doesn't respond to the party wall notice?

If your neighbour doesn't respond within the 14-day notice period, you'll need to appoint a party wall surveyor to resolve the matter and prepare a party wall award.

  1. Can my neighbour stop my building work if they don't agree with it?

Your neighbour cannot prevent you from carrying out work that falls within the scope of the Party Wall Act, provided you've served the correct notice and followed the legal process. However, disputes can delay the start of work, so it's essential to communicate openly with your neighbour and try to come to an agreement.

  1. How long do I have to start work after serving a party wall notice?

Once a party wall agreement is in place, you have up to a year to commence work. If you fail to start work within this timeframe, you'll need to serve a new notice and go through the process again.

  1. What if my building work causes damage to my neighbour's property?

If your work causes damage to your neighbour's property, you'll be held responsible for repairs or compensation. The party wall award and schedule of condition will help determine the extent of the damage and the necessary reparations.


Party Wall Notice Period | Serving a Party Wall Notice before Building Work Commences, Harding Chartered Surveyors

Conclusion


In conclusion, the Party Wall Notice Period is a vital aspect of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, designed to protect the rights and interests of both property owners and their neighbours during construction or renovation projects that involve shared boundaries or excavation. By adhering to the notice period requirements, all parties can maintain good relationships, minimise disputes, and ensure that projects progress smoothly and safely. Understanding the nuances of the Party Wall Notice Period and seeking professional advice when necessary can help to prevent potential issues and foster a cooperative atmosphere between neighbours. In a world where urban spaces continue to expand, respecting and understanding the importance of the Party Wall Notice Period is crucial for maintaining harmony and cooperation within our shared communities.

About Harding Chartered Surveyors


At Harding Chartered Surveyors we have extensive experience and industry expertise in Party Wall Matters. As a reputable firm of Chartered Surveyors, we specialise in navigating the complexities of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, ensuring that both building owners and adjoining owners are well-informed and protected throughout the process. With our team of RICS-accredited professionals, Harding Chartered Surveyors is well-equipped to provide comprehensive advice and support, from issuing initial notices to preparing Party Wall Awards, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience for our clients.

In addition to our technical expertise, Harding Chartered Surveyors prides itself on offering exceptional customer service, tailored to each client's unique needs. We understand that the Party Wall Notice Period can be a stressful and uncertain time for both building owners and adjoining owners, and their empathetic approach helps to alleviate concerns and facilitate positive relationships between parties. By entrusting your Party Wall matters to Harding Chartered Surveyors, you can be confident that you will receive not only expert guidance but also unparalleled support and care, making them the ideal choice for all your Party Wall Notice Period requirements.


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Party Wall Notice Period | Serving a Party Wall Notice before Building Work Commences, Harding Chartered Surveyors

Discuss Party Wall Matters with Us Today


With our professional help, you can simplify the process of altering a party wall while complying with the law and minimising the risk of disputes and costly setbacks. We can help leaseholders, homeowners, landlords and investors save time, money and effort, and we always provide free quotes upfront.

London Party Wall Surveyors help prevent and resolve any disputes arising from changes you plan to make to your property that could affect theirs. This includes party walls, shared boundaries and excavation work within 3-6 metres of their property. With our help, you can improve your home and increase its value, stress-free. Harding Chartered Surveyors are specialist Party Wall surveyors, please contact us today to find out more about our services or get some advice.