If you live in a flat, terrace or semi-detached property, you’re likely to share a wall with your neighbours. This might not cause you any bother, until it comes to building work. Should you wish to carry out any property development on or near a shared boundary, you’ll have to familiarise yourself with the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. This governs that both parties must agree for the work to take place. Similarly, if your neighbour wishes to carry out similar work – be it a loft conversion or an extension – they’ll also need to seek your consent.
Consent or Dissent?
When work is being proposed on a party wall or other works covered under the Party Wall etc. Act, Notice must be served to all neighbours. Those sharing your Boundaries then have 14 days to either consent or dissent to the Notices. This is where appointing an affordable Party Wall Surveyor on their behalf can come in useful. But how?
If you serve Notice and your neighbour does not respond within 14 days, then they are deemed to be in dissent and you’re Surveyor would then to serve a further and final 10-day notice period. After that, you can appoint a Surveyor on represent the neighbour’s interest In order to proceed to a formal Party Wall Award.
As described by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, a Surveyor is a person who acts impartially and independently to resolve the said dispute. Appointing a Surveyor early on can help to put your mind at ease if your neighbours have concerns about the works or are otherwise non-responsive. If your neighbours are carrying out party wall work, Surveyors usually review the proposed works to ensure the potential for damage is reduced.
Choosing your Party Wall Surveyor
The most cost-effective method is to appoint only one Surveyor. However, at certain times, you neighbour will either not respond or will insist on appointing their own Surveyor to represent their interests. This of course, is more expensive with two set of fees payable, however, it does have the added advantage that if any owner disagrees with the two Surveyors then they can approach the third Surveyor to resolve the said dispute.
The Surveyor will then go ahead and produce a Party Wall Award which outlines the finer details of the project including timelines, working hours and access to the Party Wall via the neighbour’s land. This is the final document before work takes place, be it a neighbour’s loft conversion, Party Wall or an extension.
Is your neighbour not responding to Party Wall Notices? Do you need help appointing a Surveyor under Section 10? Not sure how to best serve a Party Wall Notice? Seven One Associates has Party Wall Surveying specialists that can help you with all your Party Wall issues.