Your options when served a Party Wall Notice
If your neighbour is planning building works that trigger that Party Wall Act they must ensure you are served the correct notices before beginning the work.
The Party Wall Act has no mechanism for you to block any building projects being undertaken but serves to ensure that all works are undertaken in a safe and correct manner to reduce the possibility of structural issues or damage to the properties.
For further information about Party Wall matters including when the act is triggered, you can read our ‘10 questions about building works and The Party Wall Act’ article which covers some frequently asked questions.
This article focuses on if you have received a notice of works from your neighbour. You should note the following terms when reviewing your options on how to proceed below:
- Building Owner: The party conducting the works (your neighbour)
- The ‘Adjoining Owner’: The party that may be affected by the planned works. (you)
Have you received a Party Wall Notice of works?
If you have received a Party Wall Notice, you are the ‘Adjoining Owner’, and you must submit a formal response within 14 days and have three options on how to do so;
If you choose this option you are effectively giving your neighbour the green light to proceed with their project with no responsibility for any damage the works may cause to your property.
This is not recommended as by giving this consent, there is no written evidence provided from a Surveyor as to the condition of the property prior to works beginning. This is required for your neighbour to be held responsible for any damaged caused as a result of their building works.
2. Dissent – appoint the same surveyor as your neighbour
Here you appoint the same surveyor as your neighbour to undertake a condition report of your property prior to the commencement of any buildings works. The surveyor will conduct a site visit and prepare a report which will outline the current condition of both properties. If anything negatively impacts your property during the build this document can then be used as evidence of its previous state and it will be the Building Owners responsibility to rectify and reinstate your property to the original condition at their cost.
The Surveyor will act independently when assessing both properties and under the Act, the costs of the surveyor are required to be covered by your neighbour. ‘The Building Owner’
3. Dissent – appoint your own surveyor
This is very similar to option two however you are choosing to appoint a Party Wall surveyor not already instructed by the Building Owner. The process followed will be the same as option two above and the costs of the surveyor will still be required to be covered by your neighbour.
What happens if you miss the 14 day deadline?
Should you miss the 14 day deadline to submit your response, option one above becomes obsolete.
You will receive a follow up notice which will be valid for a further 10 days and you are required to formally respond to this stating whether you would like to instruct the same surveyor as your neighbour or appoint your chosen surveyor, the site visits and the Party Wall Award allowing works to proceed will be granted from there.
Should you not respond to this second notice, then the surveyor instructed by your neighbour will have the power to instruct another independent surveyor to undertake a condition report on your behalf. This is in accordance with section 10(4) of the Party Wall Act. Once this is complete, a Party Wall Award will be granted and your neighbour can proceed with their project.
If you are a Building Owner or Adjoining Owner and have any further questions about building improvements that may trigger the Party Wall Act, you should instruct the services of a Chartered Building Surveyor experienced in Party Wall Matters to assist you. Kempton Carr Croft has three surveyors specialising in this work and can be contacted on 01628 771221 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
A ‘Party Wall’ stands astride the boundary of land belonging to two (or more) different owner. It could be a wall that is part of one building, separates two (or more buildings) or consists of a ‘Party fence wall’
A ‘Party fence wall’ is not part of the building but stands astride the boundary line between different owners and is used to separate those lands – for example, a garden fence
A Party Wall can stand wholly on one owners land but be used by two (or more) owners to separate their buildings. An example of this would be when one owner has built the wall in the first place and another has built their building up against it without constructing their own wall.
Party Structures is a wider term that covers walls, floors or other partitions separating buildings or parts of buildings approached by separate staircases or entrances – flats for example.
Source: communities and local government the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 explanatory booklet.
Parties are usually referred to as the ‘Building Owner’ [The party conducting works] and the ‘Adjoining Owner’ the party that may be affected by the planned works. There may be multiple ‘Adjoining Owners’