A party wall is the wall that divides the buildings of two owners. Where the boundary lays can vary but usually, it is split equally between the two owners.
A party wall award is a document produced by an agreed surveyor or two separate party wall surveyors that set up the agreement between you and your neighbour.
What are the benefits of a party wall agreement?
Before the work commences, a condition report is completed which identifies any defects found in the adjoining properties. This avoids disputes concerning damaged property further down the road.
Under the party wall act, you are given the right to access the adjoining owner’s land/ premises to carry out works relating to the party wall.
The party wall award benefits the neighbour as they get to agree on certain timings during the project and they are protected against any damages caused during the building works.
Do I need to serve notice on my neighbour?
For most loft conversions and home extensions where the property is nearby or attached to another, you will need to serve notices under the party wall act. The building owner will need to serve the relevant notice(s) in accordance with the act along with a template letter for the adjoining owner to sign and send back within the 14-day period. The notice(s) include all the vital information such as your name, address, full descriptions of works to be carried out, start date of the works and the applicable sections and subsections of the Act.
The adjoining owner will receive a notice and they have 14 days to respond. If they do not respond within the 14-day notice period, it is deemed they have dissented meaning both parties need to appoint an agreed surveyor or two separate surveyors.
If the neighbour consents to the notice within 14 days, then there is no need for an award or for a party wall surveyor, however if there is a dispute then the appointed surveyor(s) will deal with the fine details where the works affect the party wall and will eventually come to an agreement and form the award document.
Once the award is agreed by the surveyor(s), it is signed and served on the parties in dispute. Both the building owner and adjoining owner has the right within 14 days of the award being served to appeal its contents to the county court.
Using a design and build company like Jeffery & Wilkes can relieve you of much of the hassle as they can arrange the party wall agreement for you. Please contact us at email@example.com or call 020 8819 3883.