When it comes to property renovations or construction work that involves shared walls or boundaries, understanding the legalities and procedures of party wall notices and awards is crucial (UK Party Wall Act etc. 1996). These processes ensure that neighbouring property owners are informed and protected during construction or renovation projects. In this guide, we'll delve into the world of party wall notices and awards, breaking down what they are, when they're required, and how they work.
Party Wall Notices & Awards Guide
Party Wall Notices Explained
Party wall notices serve as a formal communication between property owners and their adjoining neighbours when construction or renovation work could impact shared party walls, boundaries, or structures. We'll explore the various types of party wall notices, including Section 1, Section 3, Section 6, and Section 7 notices, detailing when each is applicable and what information they should contain.
The types of party wall notices
Section 1 Notice (Line of Junction Notice): This notice informs an adjoining owner about the intention to build a new wall directly on the boundary line (line of junction). This type of notice is relevant when a property owner plans to build a new wall adjacent to an existing wall of an adjoining property.
Section 3 Notice (New Party Wall Notice): This notice is served by a property owner who intends to carry out construction work, such as building an extension or loft conversion, that would affect an existing party wall or a party wall structure shared with an adjoining property. The notice details the proposed work and its potential impact on the party wall.
Section 6 Notice (Adjacent Excavation Notice): This type of notice is sent by a property owner who plans to excavate near an adjoining owner's property. Excavation work can potentially destabilize the adjacent property's foundation, and this notice provides information about the depth and nature of the excavation.
Section 7 Notice (Line of Junction and Party Structure Notice): Similar to the Section 1 notice, this notice is applicable when a property owner intends to build a new wall on the boundary line. However, it also covers scenarios where the new wall might have foundations that extend under the adjoining owner's land.
The Importance of Party Wall Awards
Upon receiving a party wall notice, adjoining property owners have a few options:
Consent: If the adjoining owner agrees with the proposed work and its impact on the party wall, they can provide their consent. This consent can be given in writing, often negating the need for further formal procedures like party wall awards.
Dissent of Counter-Notice: If the adjoining owner has concerns about the proposed work, they can issue a counter-notice outlining their dissent and raising any objections or conditions they might have regarding the project. This initiates a negotiation process to address concerns and potentially lead to an agreed resolution.
No Response: If the adjoining owner does not respond within the specified time frame (usually around 14 days), they are considered to be in disagreement by default, and further steps might need to be taken to resolve the matter.
If an agreement cannot be reached through negotiation, a party wall award (also known as a party wall agreement) is required. This legally binding document is drawn up by appointed party wall surveyors to outline the terms and conditions of the proposed work.
Obtaining a Party Wall Award (The Process)
Obtaining a party wall award involves a series of steps to ensure a fair and transparent process for all parties involved. This section will outline the general procedure:
Initial Notice and Response: As mentioned in the previous section, the serving of a party wall notice and the potential issuance of a counter-notice.
Appointment of Surveyors: If an agreement isn't reached, each party appoints their surveyor or agrees on a single, impartial surveyor (agreed surveyor).
Inspections and Assessment: Surveyors assess the proposed work and potential impact, sometimes accompanied by a Schedule of Conditions to document the state of the adjoining property before work begins.
Drafting the Award: Surveyors draft the party wall award, detailing the agreed-upon terms, responsibilities, and any necessary safeguards.
Issuance of Award: Once both parties approve the award, it is legally binding and serves as a construction or renovation project guideline.
The Importance of Professional Guidance
Navigating party wall notices and awards can be complex, involving legal, structural, and negotiation elements. Engaging the services of experienced party wall surveyors and legal professionals is essential to ensure the process goes smoothly and both parties are protected.
Party wall notices and awards are vital in maintaining good neighbourly relations during property construction and renovations. Property owners can embark on construction projects by understanding the types of notices, the negotiation process, and the significance of party wall awards while minimizing conflicts and legal disputes.
Need assistance with party wall notices and awards? Book with Surrey Surveyors today!