If you’re planning an extension or renovation near an adjoining property, you must observe the Party Wall Act 1996 and if required obtain a Party Wall Award. It’s designed to help you undertake work – providing access to neighbouring properties where required – while protecting the interests of your neighbours.
If you are undertaking building work, you will need to issue official valid Party Structure Notice/s to your neighbour in the following circumstances:
- Cutting into a wall to take the bearing of a beam, for example, a party wall agreement loft conversion will be needed.
- Inserting a damp proof course, even if only to your own side of a party wall
- Raising a party wall and, if necessary, cutting off any projections preventing from the party wall.
- Demolishing and rebuilding a party wall or party fence wall.
- Underpinning a party wall or part of a party wall or party fence wall.
- Weathering the junction of adjoining walls or buildings by cutting a flashing into an adjoining building.
- Party wall agreement for rear extension
Typical senarios where a Party Wall Award may be required:
– Party Wall agreement loft conversion
– Party Wall agreement rear extention.
What is a Party Wall?
A party wall is the shared wall between two or more neighbours in a semi-detached, terrace property or a flat. This may include garden walls, also known as party fence walls. Where a wall separates buildings of different sizes, only the part that is used by both properties is a party wall, the rest belongs to the person or persons on whose land it stands.
When to serve a Party Structure Notice?
You should serve notice on your neighbour at least two months before work begins by writing to them and including your contact details and full details of the works to be carried out, access requirements and the proposed date of commencement. In an urban environment, your project might affect several adjoining neighbours, and you will have to serve notice on each of them. If a property has a leasehold title then you will need to serve notice on both the leaseholder and the freeholder.
For the party wall structure to be valid, the following information must be included in the notice:
1. Name and address of the building owner or owners as listed in the land registry or Companies House records in the case of a UK listed company.
2. Name and address of the adjoining owner or owners as listed in the land registry or Companies House records in the case of a UK listed company.
3. Nature and detail of the proposed work – this can be in the form of a detailed description. Drawing do NOT need to be attached, however it iis advisable that drawings are provided.
4. Date on which the work will begin and confirmation that it will not begin until two months have elapsed unless an earlier start date is consented to by the adjoining owner/s.
5. Details of your appointed surveyor. This is not mandatory as you may not need a surveyor if the adjoining owner has no objections, however, it may be a good idea to give details of the surveyor that you would appoint in the notice so that they can be considered as a possible ‘Agreed Surveyor’ by the Adjoining Owner(s).
Once you have served notice, your neighbours, known as “the adjoining owners”, have 14 days to respond. Work can go ahead immediately if they (and all other adjoining owners if applicable) agree in writing. If they disagree or fail to reply within the timeframe, the matter goes into dispute or dissent. This is when you will formally need to appoint an experienced party wall surveyor.
Can’t figure out if you need a party structure notice? Contact us to find out more and get assistance with all your party wall issues in London.