PW Surveyors - Making Party Wall Matters Simple
For free impartial advice on any aspect of the Party Wall process please call 0203 092 5756 or email email@example.com.
Based in South West London, PW Surveyors is a long established firm specilaising in Party Wall Matters.
Our aim is to make the process as simple and straight forward as possible by taking all matters forward progressively and in line with the Act.
Working with us gives you the assurance that all our surveyors are members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors. This means we have the necessary expertise and experience to ensure your project will not be derailed by the Party Wall Process.
The Party Wall Etc. Act 1996 makes provision for dealing with works that are or may be considered likely to affect a neighbouring property. The Party Wall Etc. Act 1996 is designed to protect both the building and adjoining owners from potential damages or difficulties that may otherwise arise from the proposed works.
Building owner's surveyor
If you are considering building works, including a loft conversion, extension or basement conversion, you may need to serve Notice to your neighbours.
- We can advise whether or not the Act applies to your project and whether Notices are necessary
- Our specialist surveyors will ensure that you comply with the Act and avoid delays.
- We work on a fixed fee basis, so you know the costs before the works start.
For advice on what constitutes notifiable works or for us to provide a quote, please contact us now on 0203 092 5756 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Initial advice and identification of notifiable works
Land registry checks
Preparation and service of notices
Produce schedules of condition
Draft and agree the party wall award
Adjoining owner's surveyor
Have you been served with a Party Wall Notice?
- Specialist advice on the options available to you when responding to a Party Wall Notice.
- Our reasonable fees will be payable by your neighbour, as they are the only ones deriving benefit from the works.
- If you have not been served with a Notice? Please speak with one of our party wall surveyors who will advise you on what to do.
For impartial advice on the options available to you please contact us on 0203 092 5756 or email email@example.com
Review of notices received
Produce schedules of condition
Review, comment and agree the party wall award
Advice on what to do if notices are not received
Dealing with disputes
Frequently asked questions
What is the Party Wall Etc Act 1996?
The Party Wall Etc Act 1996 makes provision for dealing with works that are or may be considered likely to affect or impact shared walls or structures or affect works to the boundary or below the ground in close proximity of any existing structures. The Party Wall Etc Act 1996 is designed to protect both the building and adjoining owners from potential damages or difficulties that may otherwise arise from the proposed works.
What work is covered by the Party Wall Etc. Act 1996?
The Act covers:
- new building on or at the boundary of 2 properties
- work to an existing party wall or party structure
- excavation near to and below the foundation level of neighbouring buildings or structures. This may include:
- building a new wall on or at the boundary of 2 properties
- cutting into a party wall
- making a party wall taller, shorter or deeper
- removing chimney breasts from a party wall
- knocking down and rebuilding a party wall
- digging below the foundation level of a neighbour’s property
What if I want to excavate near a neighbours house/building?
If you want to excavate within 3m horizontally of their foundation and below the level of the bottom of their foundation you need to adhere to the Act and serve a notice under Section 6(1). You can do this yourself or we can do this for you.
How do I know if I will excavate deeper than my neighbours foundations?
If you are building an extension the foundations will usually be a minimum of 1m deep. If you are building next to a pre-1950s building or a small/simple structure it is likely to have shallower foundations. More modern houses may have foundations at similar depths to what you are planning.
Who are ‘Owners’ with rights under the Act?
An Owner under the Act is anyone with an interest in the property, on either side. This would be a freeholder or even a leaseholder or tenant provided their lease or tenancy is longer than 12 months. Some properties may have all three or more; in this case there may be multiple Awards to make on a single building. It could also include a buyer of the property if they have exchanged contracts. The Owner of the building where the work is happening is called the Building Owner; the neighbours are called the Adjoining Owners.
What is a Party Wall Award?
An Award is simply a legal agreement which binds the owners to certain undertakings; i.e. the Adjoining Owner to consent to the works and the Building Owner to make good any damage to the Adjoining Owner’s building and ensure their contractor sticks to certain rules agreed. The Award refers to the Schedule of Condition and drawings of the proposed works.
What is a Schedule of Condition?
A Schedule of Condition is a descriptive and photographic record of the Adjoining Owner’s property at a point in time before the work starts. It can be used later to confirm or reject any claim that damage or defect has arisen in the Adjoining Owner’s property as a result of the works.
Can we have one surveyor?
The parties can have one surveyor each or agree to share a single surveyor, who is called the Agreed Surveyor. The Agreed Surveyor has a duty to act impartially for both parties; the Act and wall are his priority. An Adjoining Owner you may still feel that the surveyor would have a conflict of interest – particularly if they are involved in the work, such as the designer – there is no requirement to agree to appointment of an Agreed Surveyor. The Adjoining Owner can insist on their own separate surveyor.
Who pays for the surveyors?
It is most common for the Building Owner doing the work to pay for the fees of both surveyors or the Agreed Surveyor. The surveyors will usually specify this in the Award (agreement) they make. If the Adjoining Owner were to demand various extra surveying, tests or monitoring which the surveyors thought was beyond reasonable needs they may apportion those fees to be paid by the Adjoining Owner.
How long does the Party Wall process usually take?
The Party Wall Award usually takes four to six weeks provided the Building Owner has all the drawings and details ready and the Adjoining Owner cooperates. Where there are two surveyors, the process is usually a little slower than with a single Agreed Surveyor. Sometimes it can take as long as three months if communication and paperwork is slow or there is some particular point of disagreement.
I get on well with my neighbour, do I have to follow the Party Wall Act process?
Adjoining Owners have the option to simply agree to the work with the Building Owner when they issue notice of it – BUT bear in mind this is an unconditional agreement to the work. This gives them and their building little or no protection if things go wrong. In the event of damage to the building an Adjoining Owner may have to take the Building Owner to court and produce evidence that the damage is due to their work which could be long and costly. Similarly a Building Owner has nothing to use to defend themselves against a claim for damage that was actually already there. It is always best for both parties protection to have a formal party wall process undertaken by competent surveyors leading to a party wall Award with a schedule of condition.
I don’t want the work to go ahead at all, can I use the Party Wall Act to stop it?
In the course of agreeing an Award there may be some negotiation between surveyors about sequence, methods, technical details etc. but the Party Wall Act cannot be used to prevent the work or object to the development completely – those are issues for Planning Authorities and the respective process. If planning permission is required and has already been granted, you cannot stop the works except by a planning appeal within the allowable periods.
What if work has started without serving a Notice or finally agreeing a Party Wall Award?
If the Building Owner carries out the work without serving the Notice required and before an agreement to the works or an Award is made, they may face an injunction to stop work or perhaps be sued for damages. In most cases a reminder of this is enough to stop work until matters are properly organised. Building Owners who realise they have started without adhering to the process should stop work immediately and contact a party wall surveyor for help.