One of the things have added to our portfolio of services is that of party wall surveyor services.
Registered with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and trained by the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors, we are construction professionals able to provide party wall surveyor services. As such, we are qualified to act impartially as the party wall surveyor for the Building Owner (the person/s wishing to carry out the works), the Adjoining Owner/s (owners of the neighbouring properties), and as the Agreed Surveyor (who acts for two or more parties). The Party Wall Act is about fairness; it exists to safeguard all parties and party wall surveyors act impartially to provide that safeguard to all parties.
A Quick Overview of The Act
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 states that you must tell your neighbours if you intend to carry out any building work near or on your shared property boundary, or ‘party wall’, in England and Wales.
The Act came into force on 1 July 1997 and applies throughout England and Wales. The Act provides a framework for preventing and/or resolving disputes relating to party walls, party structures, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings and structures.
Party walls stand on the land of 2 or more owners and can either form part of a building or not form part of a building, such as a garden wall (not wooden fences or hedges). Walls on one owner’s land used by other owners (2 or more) to separate their buildings are also party walls.
Party structures could be a floor or other structure that separates buildings or parts of buildings with different owners. For example in a flat, maisonette or similar building.
When considering an extension or a loft conversion you are likely to be considering works covered by The Act, especially if your property is a terraced, semi-detached or otherwise connected.
Anyone intending to carry out works that fall within The Act are required by law to give adjoining owners written notice of their plans. This applies to private properties, government, local authority, Crown and other properties.
Owners can agree the proposal between themselves and this can include the manner in which the works will be carried out, timings, access and such like.
If a dispute arises in relation to works covered by The Act and a notice has been served then The Act and surveyors can be invoked to resolve the dispute. If no notice has been served then The Act cannot be used. No notice; no act.
The Act and party wall agreements are different from planning permission or building regulations approval.
Main Parts of The Act
There are three main parts of The Act that may need to be considered before you start works.
1. Line of Junction
Comes into effect if an owner intends to building a wall on/astride or up to the line of junction. Often occurs with ground floor extensions in terraced or semi-detached houses and bungalows.
2. Party Structure
Includes all works to the party wall, party fence wall, party structure or boundary wall. This is very common place with loft conversions, removal of a chimney and such like in terraced and semi-detached dwellings.
3. Excavations within Three or Six Metres
Any form of excavations such as digging for foundations within 3 or 6 metres of a neighbouring building or structure, depending on the excavations or proposed foundations. In properties that are terraced and semi-detached this is very hard to avoid, even some detached properties are within 3 metres of each other.
As you can see from the above, many alterations to properties such as extensions, loft conversions, removal of chimneys and more, can fall within The Party Wall etc. Act 1996. Most people value the relationships they have with neighbours, who may also be friends, and therefore appointing an impartial professional to ensure that both or more parties are treated fairly can be an essential part of any building work.
For more information about our Party Wall Surveyor services see www.gbs-designs.co.uk/partywall.html