You've received a notice?
If you receive a Notice because your neighbour plans to undertake works which fall under the Act contact us today.
Often an adjoining owner only becomes aware of their neighbour’s proposed works when a party wall notice lands on their door mat. An adjoining owner has the option to either consent or dissent to the notice – if no response is made within 14 days the adjoining owner is deemed to have dissented and the parties are ‘in dispute’ under the Act. Where a dispute arises, each owner must appoint a surveyor so that a party wall award can be agreed and served.
Once appointed, the two surveyors select a Third Surveyor who may be called upon to settle any issue that they cannot agree. Referrals to the Third Surveyor are rare.
A party wall award is a legally binding document that sets out who the parties are, includes details of the proposed work and what safeguards have been agreed to ensure that those works are undertaken with the minimum of risk and without causing unnecessary inconvenience to the adjoining occupiers.
These are some typical examples of issues that might be addressed in a party wall award:
- Working hours
- The control of dust and excessive noise
- Measures to limit vibration
- Access to the adjoining owner’s land
The party wall award will also include a schedule of condition covering the parts of the adjoining owner’s property that are considered to be at risk from the works and copies of all relevant drawings and method statements. At the end of the works the surveyor acting for the adjoining owner will generally make a further visit to re-check the schedule of condition and hopefully confirm that no damage has been caused.
The surveyors do not have any control over planning issues such as the size and appearance of a proposed extension or potential loss of light; these must all be addressed through the planning process.
In all normal circumstances the building owner (the party undertaking the works) will be responsible for the fees of both their own and the adjoining owner’s surveyor. I say ‘in all normal circumstances’ because this is not specifically stated in the Act and is therefore more of a ‘rule of thumb’ applied by party wall surveyors. The surveyor acting for the adjoining owner keeps a record of their time and when all other matters have been resolved puts their fee forward to the building owner’s surveyor for agreement. If the two surveyors fail to agree upon what constitutes a reasonable fee they can refer the matter to the Third Surveyor who will have the final say.
The Act allows for the same surveyor to be appointed by both the building owner and the adjoining owner (known as the ‘agreed surveyor’) but often adjoining owners will prefer to appoint a surveyor that they have chosen.
If you’ve received a notice and would like some advice on how you can best protect your property, please do not hesitate to contact us today.
Our party wall services
Our Party Wall services are designed to legally & professionally conduct surveys for our clients ensuring any building works that affecting their building or their neighbours building are compliant with the Party Wall Act.
- Identification of adjoining property owner and address (if not the tenant) so you can comply with the 2 month notice period and avoid delays.
- Advice on how best to achieve cooperation with your neighbour
- Drafting and serving the notice
- Follow up of the notice after 14 days if required
- Carrying out a schedule of condition survey at the adjoining property before the works start.
- Drafting, negotiating and agreeing the Award with neighbours surveyor.
- Serving of the Party Wall Award.
- Drafting, negotiating and agreeing Award on behalf of the Building Owner and Adjoining Owner.
- Note: Your neighbour has the right to appoint their own preferred party wall expert. In most cases this expense is covered by the person doing the build project. For that reason it makes good sense to try and appoint a joint surveyor
- Agreeing the schedule of condition record before the works start. Liaising with the building owner’s surveyor to negotiate and agree the Award.
- Note: In the majority of cases, the adjoining owner surveyor fees are paid for by the one carrying out the building works.
Our most recent customer testimonials
Hourican & Associates are dedicated to providing professional, friendly services to our clients, see what some of them have to say below.
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