Party Wall Works & Damages
Following some recent high profile cases, we have decided to write this article to reiterate the importance of safeguarding your property whilst undertaking notifiable work pursuant to the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
The Act was passed through Parliament to provide a legislative framework which permits a building owner to undertake construction to a shared structure and or undertake new construction up to or on the boundary line of a neighbouring property. As building work can cause disturbance and damage to neighbouring property, the Act permits the adjoining owner (neighbour impacted by the works) to appoint a party wall surveyor (at the building owners cost) to look over the proposals and determine what safeguarding measures may be required prior to commencement of work.
The implications for ignoring or appointing unseasoned party wall practitioners can have catastrophic consequences.
Last week, a basement conversion project in London’s West Hamstead resulted in a house collapsing (Image above) and in 2017 a £1, home collapsed into pile of rubble following a building owners attempt to build a basement (Image below).
So, how does a Party Wall Award help?
Once the matter has progressed service of notice/s, the appointed surveyor/s respective duty becomes Statutory; whereas appointed to act in the interest of the notifiable work being undertaken.
The end result being a document that generally provides confirmation of:
· Work being undertaken
· Scope of work
· Methodology of work
· Project time-scales
· Condition of adjoining owner’s premises prior to work
Once the party wall surveyor(s) has scrutinise the proposed building work they will then determine whether any additional safeguarding measures should be implemented before work begins.
Additional Safeguarding measures
This may include appointing further specialists to examine on more complex developments such as basement conversions, the method statements, structural calculations and associated safety precautions and mechanisms offered.
The Award allows for interim inspections to be undertaken, this provides opportunity to determine whether those safety precautions are being implemented and also quality control those areas of notifiable work to ensure contractor compliance.
A deposit for security usually reserved for more complex and intrusive projects, ensures that neighbour/s affected by notifiable building work can draw on funds in an emergency situation.
Whilst boundary disputes are beyond the jurisdiction of the Party Wall Surveyors role, notifiable work would be scrutinised and the Award would establish the re-reinstatement of boundary fences, whereas the schedule of condition will also highlight existing pre-construction boundary lines.
The Importance of appointing the right surveyor
Having seasoned professional practitioners deal with matters on your behalf avoids the tension and rifts that may occur between neighbours as a result of building work and more importantly ensure that the Law surrounding party wall is adhered.
When questions and queries arise during and after the course of works, such reinstatement of fencing, the determination by impartial professionals can not only save £100,000’s in legal costs, more importantly protect your family home and valued asset.
Just before Christmas a family were given three weeks to leave their £600,000 family home following the loss of a legal battle over an extension built by their neighbours. (Image below).
Do you need assistance with a Party Wall Matter?
We can HELP. Get in touch with one of our friendly party wall consultants today.
Party wall surveyors in covering all London and the Home counties. Enfield Party wall surveyors, haringey party wall surveyors, barnet party wall surveyors, cheshunt party wall surveyors, waltham cross party wall surveyors, waltham abbey party wall surveyors, harlow party wall surveyos, essex party wall surveyors, Hackney Party wall surveyors, Islington Party wall surveyors.