We hope that our thorough guide will assist you in putting your Party Wall Agreement in place and getting your project started.

A contract for the construction of party walls between terraced houses and other buildings

It is necessary to have a Party Wall Agreement in place before beginning any project that would have an impact on a neighbouring property. The requirement for a Party Wall Agreement may apply even to properties that are being extended under the provisions of Permitted Development rights.

Over the last few years, the constraints on zoning deviations and extensions have been far laxer. An unintended consequence of this more lenient approach is that neighbours may no longer get letters in advance from planners advising them of proposed improvements next door that may cause a nuisance. During this period, the Party Wall Act is in operation, which is a federal statute.

Unfinished structural restorations are a regular cause of cracking and movement and have even been responsible for the collapse of nearby structures on occasion, which is one of the reasons why the Party Wall Act is such a serious concern.

The Act, as well as the agreement, are in place to ensure that neighbouring properties are safeguarded while work is being carried out on the project.

When Does It Make Sense to Enter into a Party Wall Agreement?

To commence any physical construction on your land or, you must first serve a formal written notice on the adjoining property owner(s) known as a Party Wall Agreement on the property before initiating any physical construction.

This usually has to be finished a couple of months before the commencement of the building project itself (in some cases one month is sufficient, but the more notice you can provide the better).

Although an attorney or surveyor can submit this initial notification on your behalf, it is usually best to maintain control of the procedure during this early stage of the process.

First and foremost, you should communicate with your neighbours about your proposed extension to allay any concerns before you or your surveyor files the required notice.

A contract for the construction of party walls between terraced houses and other buildings

If your next-door neighbours are renters or leaseholders, you will also need to notify the freeholder or landlord of your plans to rent or lease.

Another good reason for starting the process yourself is that lawyers who specialise in this area will generally advise adjoining owners not to consent to a party wall notice. As a result, even if the neighbour is completely satisfied with your proposals, they may be persuaded to act in a way that appears uncooperative to you if you do not start the process immediately.

To prevent their position from being compromised, if the consenting neighbour later needs the services of a surveyor, they would be liable for the surveyor’s fees (if they do not agree, the person extending would be responsible).

A Party Wall Surveyor may be found here. (For further information, go here.)
It is necessary to have parties to a Party Wall Agreement to proceed with the following sorts of projects:

The following are some examples of projects for which you will almost likely require a Party Wall Agreement before you can begin construction:

When excavating building foundations, you must inform the next property if the excavation is within three metres of their property line or if your new trench is deeper than their existing foundations.

When converting your loft, you should contact a structural engineer if you need to place a new structural beam within the party wall.

The legislation prohibits building directly up to or astride a garden boundary wall, as well as altering a party wall when adding on to a house.

An underground basement may be a good choice if you’re excavating deep foundations, underpinning the party wall, or cutting beams into the party wall.

If your chimney stack is shared with a neighbour, you should avoid cutting away any brickwork since the masonry that you cut away will become part of the party wall, which will be a costly mistake.

A contract for the construction of party walls between terraced houses and other buildings

What Is the Most Effective Method of Giving “Notice”?

For projects covered by the Act, you must give Notice by writing a letter explaining your plans to all of the owners of any adjacent property that will be impacted by your project to all of the owners of any adjacent property.

This Party Wall Act article contains an example letter that you may use as a model for your correspondence.

Remember to include all of the necessary information, such as the following:

the date on which the Notice is received by the recipient
In addition to the date on which the work will commence, all parties’ names and addresses should be included.
provide a detailed summary of the work that has been proposed

Failure to comply with this condition will result in the voiding of your Notice.
When it comes to party wall agreements, what is the average cost?

Prices for a simple project outside of London with a neighbouring owner who does not object to the building are expected to be in the region of £1,000-2,000 plus VAT, according to estimates.

The fees paid will be determined by the type and complexity of the work to be undertaken, as well as the number of adjoining property owners who will be affected. It is also not always the case that the individual who begins the task will be responsible for the expenditures incurred by all parties participating in the project.

To acquire an exact quote, you should consult with a surveyor who has been accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). If you have gotten a Party Wall Notice in the mail, it is also a good idea to speak with them.

A contract for the construction of party walls between terraced houses and other buildings

Is it required to display a Party Wall Notice on a property’s exterior?

They may seek a court order to prohibit you from continuing your work if your relationship with your neighbour worsens and they fear the work you are doing will have a detrimental impact on their property as a result of your actions.

a judge may award compensation for any loss or damage sustained as a result of the work, including legal expenses if you fail to comply with the Act and you cause considerable damage to your neighbour’s property.

The only way to avoid this is to get your Notice of Intent approved beforehand.
In what circumstances do I have to provide written notice?

A minimum of one month’s notice is necessary if you are digging near a structure that is owned by a neighbouring property owner.

Even though it is not required to be an official legal document, it must contain certain critical information, as well as drawings and task specifications, which may come as a surprise to the reader.

The particular forms that you will be required to issue will be decided by the type of work that you wish to do and will be detailed below. You may obtain the relevant Party Wall Notice forms online and print them out if you choose.

The notice is valid for 14 days after it has been given to the neighbours, following which they have 14 days to respond to the original notification by completing the acknowledgement form that was included with the notification.

Give the completed form to your neighbour, together with a copy of the Act and an explanatory leaflet, two months before you want to begin your project.

Your neighbour will have 14 days to express his or her formal approval or disapproval of the idea in writing. Explain that the explanatory brochure contains a template for both options and that they should use that template.

If they approve your Notice, the following will take place: it will be valid for one year, providing you enough time to complete the assignment.
The parties are regarded to be in dispute if they reject your offer or do not respond within 14 days.

What Happens if the Neighbors Raise Their Voices in Opposition to the Project?

However, if they express disagreement or just do not reply, the law deems this to be non-consent and states there has been a “conflict of interest.”

A method for settling the issue is then established under the Act. However, it is critical to emphasise that, because this is a planning issue, the adjoining property owners cannot legitimately prevent the planned construction work from taking place because, for example, they do not agree with the notion of an unlawful extension next door.

Their power to prevent building work from advancing is restricted to situations in which an extension necessitates the installation of “special foundations,” such as piles.

As a result, the initiative might face vehement opposition from the surrounding community, putting the project’s success in danger.

They also have the right to object to the construction of what would eventually become a new party wall if it is located on the property’s garden boundary or along its perimeter.

Terraced houses and other structures are subject to a Party Wall Agreement. A Party Wall Surveyor is appointed.

Whenever it is not feasible to obtain the agreement of a neighbour, the next step is generally the hiring of a party wall surveyor to inspect the property.

Rather than operating as an agent on behalf of the customer who selected you, you are entitled to designate a single ‘agreed surveyor’ who will operate on behalf of both property owners in the same transaction. Because a party wall surveyor is obligated to serve as an unbiased independent expert rather than acting as an agent for the customer who hired them, this is the case.

The most important concern is whether or not the person who is delivering these services has the necessary qualifications and experience. A very tiny proportion of them may not even be members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (although anybody can call themselves a “surveyor”).

Furthermore, party wall building is a highly specialised field in which only a small number of chartered surveyors have received specialised training and qualifications to practise.

As a result, search for party wall surveyors, such as those mentioned on Right Survey, that specialise in this area.

As an example, consider the fact that seasoned practitioners in this profession are typically members of the quaintly named ‘Pyramus and Thisbe Club,’ which was established in 1904.
What is the duty of a Party Wall Surveyor? What does he or she do?

Briefly stated party wall surveyors aid in the minimization of risk for all parties engaged in the construction process as well as the timely completion of building projects.

If you successfully serve notice on your neighbours and damage occurs, any disagreements about the degree of the damage will be addressed by surveyors rather than by the courts of common law, according to the law of torts.

The Party Wall Award is granted to the member of a political party who exhibits the most originality and ingenuity.

It will be necessary for you to employ an “agreed surveyor” or two surveyors to construct a Party Wall Award if you are unable to get approval.

The themes covered by this ‘Award’ are as follows:

Payment of surveyors’ expenses; the current status of both properties; and, most importantly, the costs spent by the adjoining owner if damage occurs.

After all, is said and done, what happens if there is a dispute?

With a cordial relationship between you and your neighbours, there is a good chance that your proposal will be accepted without hesitation.

To suggest that having to stop working may have severe financial and operational consequences, as well as the suspension of operations and any contractual problems, is an understatement. This emphasises the need of adhering to the regulations from the outset.

Construction workers excavating near your neighbour’s property line on a bright day may be subject to an injunction if your neighbour does not get the required legal notice in advance.

This can be performed in a very short amount of time by filing a claim in the County Court of the appropriate jurisdiction.

After that, an injunction will be issued against the owner of the land that is being enlarged, ordering that all development on the property be stopped, and a court date will be established so that both sides may present their case in person.

It is common for an offending party to acknowledge in court that they have failed to comply with the Party Wall Act and to provide written assurances that they will comply in the future. The appointment of party wall surveyor(s) to issue an Award as a result of this admission is then common practice.

Claire Preece