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Renovation Construction

The Party Wall Act

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  • What is the Party Wall Act?
    The Party Wall Act 1996 is designed to enable building works while encouraging neighbourly communication, agreement and compromise. To do this it sets out a prescribed process that has to be followed. Failing to follow the Party Wall Act process can cause significant disputes, legal and construction costs.
  • What work requires a Party Wall Award?
    Common types of works that affected by the Party Wall Act: Extensions Loft conversions Chimney removal Basements Works to boundary walls Any excavations within 3m of your neighbours property Any construction along boundary line
  • What is a Party Wall?
    A party wall is a wall that separates two adjoining homes. Being shared by both homes, it gives the owners on either side have a legal interest in the wall. Technically, it can be a illegal tresspass if the owner on one side carries out works to the wall without the consent of their neighbour. It can be a complex area of the law which covers more than one type of wall and situation. The best known example of a party wall is the shared wall that separates adjoining occupiers in terraced or semi-detached houses. It can though also be af floor (for flats) as well as other structures and situations.
  • Are Party Wall Awards compulsory?
    Yes. It is a legal requirement. Failure to comply wiht the Act can epxose Building Owners to significant legal costs and claims for damages, real or imagined, if a Party Wall Award hasn't been cretaed recording the works and proeprty condition. The legal costs can dwarf the 'damages' costs if a neighbour were to take out an injunction in event no Party Wall Award has been created.
  • How long does it take?
    The Party Wall Act prescribes definite timescales thnat have to be followed unless the adjoining owner/ neighbour agrees to a shorter timescale. Depending on the works, 4 or 8 weeks is common. For complex and signifianct projects it can take up to a year.
  • How much does it cost?
    The cost varies. For simple projects, having the required notices professionally drawn up and served on neighbours (from £29*), can be sufficient to discharge responsibilities under the Act. Other wise awards start at £450* and increase depending on the project complexity. *exc. VAT. Prices as of Oct 2021.
  • Work has started already, how will this affect the award?"
    If your neighbour has commenced works that are notifiable under the Party Wall Act but has failed to serve the appropriate valid notices then a temporary injunction can be applied for at the County Court by the Adjoining Owner (neighbouring property). This prevents works from continuing until a Party Wall Surveyor has been appointed to agree and produce a Party Wall Award. An injunction can be costly for the Building Owner carrying out works. In addition to legal costs, without a Schedule of Condition, the Building Owner/ developer can be exposed to additional claims for property damages that become difficult to counter.

Further information on the Party Wall Act can be found below: 

-  FPWS Explanatory Guide


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