Dealing with disputes, consulting with solicitors, or providing drawings and specifications; John Kershaw Surveyors offer expertise in all matters relating to The Party Wall Act.

Party Wall Act

The Party Wall Act

The 1996 Party Wall Act came into force on 1st July 1997.

The Act gives rights to do work to party structures subject to arrangements to protect the affected adjoining owner, and applies to any party wall or other party structure such as intermediate floors between separate properties.

It also covers rights to carry out excavations near to party walls, and applies to certain types of new walls or structures at boundaries.

How does it Work?

In very simple terms, wherever a party structure will be affected by work to be carried out to the party structure, or by excavations near to it, then there is a requirement for the person carrying out the work to serve notice on the adjoining owner, within certain fairly onerous time-scales, setting out the proposals for the building work. The period of notice is normally two months. In considering a response to a notice, there are clear guidelines in the Act setting down just what the adjoining owners can or cannot require.

In many cases, particularly where the situation is straightforward and has been discussed in advance with the adjoining owner, it is hoped that consent will be given to those building proposals, with or without amendments arising from a counter notice. If the adjoining owner does not consent in writing within 14 days, or if he serves a counter notice, requiring the building owner to carry out certain other works, a dispute is deemed to have arisen.

What Happens in a Dispute?

Each building owner is required to appoint a ‘surveyor’ to act on their behalf. If those two surveyors are unable to agree, then a third independent surveyor is appointed to review the arguments and make a decision, known as ‘an award’. Alternatively, for minor disputes, the two owners can agree to the appointment of one surveyor only who acts in the same way reaching a decision and making an award.

How Can We Help?

The agreement or award, including drawings and specifications, have traditionally been dealt with by Building Surveyors. However, many people will react to receiving a notice by consulting a solicitor who will need to assist them by appointing a surveyor under the Act very promptly so as to ensure a response within the strict time limits.