Party Wall Surveying

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Party Wall etc. Act 1996

WHAT IS THE PARTY WALL ACT?

Party Wall Surveyor

The Party Wall Act (or “The Party Wall etc. Act 1996” to give it its proper name) is a highly complex area of property and construction law, made more complex as it is left primarily to you, the general public, to know where and when to apply it. It is a legal requirement of all home-owners in England and Wales to comply with the Party Wall Act when undertaking alteration works (both domestic and commercial). Those that don’t, quickly find that not serving proper notices under the Party Wall Act leads to heightened neighbourly friction, unlawful works and difficulties in ultimately selling the house, even several years after the work is complete.

By means of a simple explanation, the Party Wall Act applies when people are building or altering their property in close proximity to, or directly attached to, neighbouring buildings. This generally relates when, in the case of ground floor extensions, it is proposed to dig within 3 metres (and more rarely within 6 metres) of neighbouring properties. This will apply for nearly all residential extensions (however small) in most areas in England and Wales. The Party Wall Act is also applied in the case of loft conversions when the people undertaking the conversion are joined to neighbours, either being semidetached or terraced. The Party Wall Act applies even if Planning Permission (or a Certificate of Lawful Development) is granted from the relevant Local Authority.

This is where one common misconception concerning construction regulations derives: that many feel that as they have local authority permission they do not need party wall clearance. This is not the case as many people may require multiple legal permissions such as Local Authority permission, Party Walls, building control, Listed Building Consent etc. in order to undertake alteration work.

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 was put in place to safeguard the interests of those undertaking certain types of building work and the properties of their adjoining neighbours. The purpose of the Party Wall Act is to protect both the owner undertaking the works (called ‘the building owner’), mainly by making a record of the condition of neighbouring property before the builders arrive, whilst also protecting their neighbour’s (called ‘the adjoining owner’) rights in the event of damage occurring. It also provides a legal framework for preventing and resolving disputes if damage is alleged.

The Party Wall Act makes provision for dealing with works that not only affect party walls (the wall dividing two properties) but also includes excavations within close proximity to neighbouring structures, even if no party wall exists between properties. The Party Wall Act exists to protect both the building and adjoining owners from potential issues that may arise from the proposed works.

Still have questions? Click below for FAQs:

Building Owner (I’m the person who is having the work done)
Adjoining Owner (I live next door to the person having the work done)

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO MEAN TO ME?

Cracked Paint

You may have a very good relationship with your neighbour. If you’re unfortunate, you may have a poor relationship. Either way, the Party Wall Act is designed to protect both parties, should any damage or dispute arise during or after work. For example, if a crack were to appear in your property during or shortly after building work had been undertaken next door, without a party wall survey, you would be reliant on the goodwill of your neighbour to not argue that the crack was already in existence. We have experienced numerous cases where we have been contacted after an event to try and resolve such a dispute and in our experience it rarely is resolved quickly, cheaply or without animosity.

Still have questions? Click below for FAQs:

Building Owner (I’m the person who is having the work done)
Adjoining Owner (I live next door to the person having the work done)

HOW CAN PEARCE AND PEARCE HELP?

Help

We are here to ensure that the process of building work remains an exciting and stress free process as much as possible. We are based in London, but regularly travel throughout the UK as required.

By appointing Pearce & Pearce, we will instruct one of our qualified building surveyors to undertake a party wall survey and ensure the correct legal documentation and protection is in place before works start.

This provides peace of mind to both the owner and adjoining owner and ensures the process is conducted within the legal guidelines stipulated by the Party Wall Act.

Still have questions? Click below for FAQs:

Building Owner (I’m the person who is having the work done)
Adjoining Owner (I live next door to the person having the work done)

Free Notices Service

From the smallest of kitchen extensions to large commercial developments, most building work in England and Wales needs authorisation under the Party Wall Act. With all of those mounting costs, it’s nice to know that some things are free, such as Pearce & Pearce’s Free Party Wall Notice Serving Service!

There are many downloadable “templates” available online, but most are far too general to count as proper notices. We frequently encounter such templates being served which do not count as valid. Why go to all of that bother just to serve invalid notices when you can spend 30 seconds filling in the form to the right and have a professional building surveyor – an expert in party wall matters – prepare and serve a tailored Party Wall Notice for free, served on your behalf with a covering letter on our company headed paper?

Please complete the form, agree to our Terms and Conditions, and we can typically prepare and serve Party Wall Notices within 48 hours to any neighbouring homeowner you request.

The Free Party Wall Notice Service is at no cost to you whatsoever, and comes with no obligation for you to appoint a surveyor from this company in the future, although you should be aware that this service will, in the vast majority of cases, lead to fees being incurred by you, as most neighbours do choose to exercise their rights and appoint a surveyor once a Party Wall Notice has been served.

Once you submit your request for us to serve notices on your behalf will serve them with a covering letter on our company headed paper, acting as your agent to serve Party Wall Notices on your behalf.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, read our dedicated Party Wall Surveying information page or contact us today for free, impartial advice.





 I hereby give Pearce and Pearce permission to service notice to the above address on my behalf, and I have read, understood and agreed to the Terms and Conditions

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