Party wall disputes? Here are a few advices: What is not covered by the Act? The Act relates only to certain specific types of work and is permissive in nature. It should not be seen as a method of objecting to or preventing works and it is not intended to be applied to minor jobs that do not affect the structural integrity or loading of a party wall. It is generally agreed that works such as fixing plug sockets, screwing in shelving or replastering walls are minor works and do not require a notice. Notices: The workings of the Act are always instigated by the of issuing notices. This is the first stage of the process and, without the issue of valid notices, no further action can be taken under the provision of the Act. Written notice must be served on adjoining owners at least two months before starting any party wall works (one month for works to the line of junction or excavations). All adjoining owners must be served a notice and there are likely to be instances where there is more than one adjoining property and more than one owner of each property (ie: if the adjoining property is split into flats and owned on a leasehold basis, notices will be required to both leaseholder and freeholder of all flats affected by the works). Works to a party wall, or those affecting a ceiling or floor, will also require a notice to adjoining owners living above or below.
Certain works which are likely to affect your neighbours are covered by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. This legislation provides protection to all parties involved and is intended to enable the works to be undertaken. In the event of non-cooperation from your neighbour or disagreement, party wall surveyors agree how the works should be carried out, including necessary protection measures and rectification of any damage. The purpose of the act is to avoid litigation by dealing with potential problems up front.
If your neighbour consents then that is the end of the matter as far as The Party Wall Act is concerned although to protect yourself you may wish to arrange for a schedule to be taken on their property to identify its existing condition. This will ensure that any existing defects are recorded and not wrongly attributed to your work later. If your neighbour chooses not to consent in writing then the next decision to be made is whether 1 or 2 surveyors are appointed. The Act allows for an ‘Agreed Surveyor’ and you are free to put forward the name of your surveyor for their your neighbours consideration although you should not put any pressure on them to concur in his appointment.
At Home Heroes we provide a professional service, we are very competitively priced and you can be sure you award will be handled by qualified and experienced Party Wall Surveyors. We are a small company with a dedicated and qualified team of building surveyors on Party Wall Matters. We can deal with all types of project no matter how complicated and are able to offer a service that is both efficient and meticulous. Read more info on Party wall surveyor fees.