Do you plan on carrying out any building work affecting a shared wall or boundary with your neighbour? If so, you must seriously consider the Party Wall Act. What is the Party Wall Act? This is a legislative framework protecting the rights and responsibilities of you and your adjoining neighbour when it comes to construction or renovation projects that involve shared walls, structures, or fences.
How Does the Party Wall Act Work?
According to the Party Wall Act, you are required to notify your neighbour in clear and legible terms before you start any work that could affect a party wall. Per the same Act, this is called a party wall notice, and it should include details of the proposed work, its commencement date and duration, and the exact structures to be affected.
You can proceed as planned if your neighbour agrees to the proposed project. However, if they object or do not respond within 14 days, you will both need to appoint a party wall surveyor to resolve the issue. What exactly does a surveyor do?
The party wall surveyor is an independent professional tasked with assessing the impact of the development plan on the shared boundary and advising on an amicable course of action to help move the project forward.
If mediations prove stagnant, a party wall surveyor must then draw up a party wall award, which is a legally binding document that sets out the terms and conditions of the work, such as how it will be carried out, when it will be completed and who will pay for any damages or repairs.
When to Call a Party Wall Surveyor
Even if your neighbour agrees to the proposed project, there are some situations where you may still need to hire a party wall surveyor. For example:
- Remodelling work that involves altering a party wall by inserting beams, removing chimneys or installing damp proofing.
- A project that builds over a shared boundary, such as a loft extension, adding a conservatory, or building a new garage.
- Excavation projects that take place within 3 metres of a party wall or 6 metres if it affects a foundation or structure.
- A total building overhaul that requires demolishing or rebuilding the party wall boundary to make it higher, lower or wider.
In these cases, you will need to appoint a party wall surveyor to prepare a party wall award that outlines how the work will be done so any unforeseen or resulting issues will be resolved without acrimony.
When hiring a surveyor, you and your neighbour have two choices; you can both agree on a single joint surveyor, which is less time and finance-consuming. Or if either party feels fairness won’t be served this way, you can both appoint your own surveyor, who will then select a third surveyor as an arbitrator.
Whether you are the one breaking ground or the adjoining property owner, if you are concerned about a party wall project, you should not hesitate to call a party wall surveyor. They can help you ensure that your best interests are served in accordance with the law and with respect for your neighbour’s rights.
Are you looking to hire a party wall surveyor in Wimbledon? With over three decades of experience and impeccable service, Simmons Taylor Hall is the leading party wall surveyor Wimbledon property owners call on when party wall issues arise.