An adjoining owner usually becomes aware of their neighbour’s proposed works when a party wall notice is dropped through their letter box.
An adjoining owner has the option to either ascent or dissent to the notice and the proposed work, 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.
A party wall award is a legally binding document that sets out terms of engagement for the building owners and their contractors, 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 unnecessary inconvenience.
These are some typical examples of issues that might be addressed in a party wall award:
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 at risk from the proposed works together with copies of all relevant drawings and method statements. At the end of the works the surveyor if required or requested will undertake a final inspection to determine integrity 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.
The building owner will be responsible for the reasonable fees of both their own and the adjoining owner’s surveyor.
The Act allows for the same surveyor to be appointed by both the building owner and the adjoining owner known as the ‘agreed surveyor’. Although the building owner is liable for fee's, the agreed surveyors role is one of statutory appointment and as such does not have a client but rather a duty to ensure the party wall matter is resolved at the equitable interest of all parties.
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.
"I believe my neighbour is about to start work and I have not received a party wall notice"
You should inform your neighbour in writing, about the Act. You can include the link www.gov.uk/party-wall-etc-act-1996-guidance
Alternatively get in contact with us and we will duly address the issue on your behalf.