Party Wall Matters

Party Wall Matters

Building works often have an effect, directly or indirectly, on neighbouring properties.

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 applies to works which involve:-

  • Cutting into or away from, underpinning, raising or enclosing against a party wall;
  • New buildings built on or adjacent to the boundary;
  • Cutting into or away from external walls of a neighbouring building sited on the boundary;
  • Excavations within 3m and 6m of another owner's building and to a lower level than its foundations.

The Act is frequently referred to as an ‘enabling statute’ because of the rights it grants to the building owner (the person or body intending to carry out works) whilst ensuring that the rights of the adjoining owner are protected and losses compensated.  The building owner is required by law to serve formal Notice prior to commencing works, so as to afford the adjoining owner the opportunity to consider the proposals and to decide whether to obtain professional representation.

The Act makes provision for works within its scope to be carried out in strict accordance with its notification procedures and, if necessary, under the authority of an Award made by either an Agreed Surveyor (acting for both parties) or two surveyors acting on behalf of the building owner and adjoining owner respectively. It is therefore vitally important that the appointed surveyor is fully conversant with his/her duties under the Act.

In most instances, surveyors’ fees incurred fall due to the building owner, (the party benefitting from the work).  Under the Act, the adjoining owner is entitled to appoint his/her own surveyor and those fees will be the responsibility of the building owner.

Gerry Poole undertakes a broad range of party wall appointments for both private and commercial property owners in Central London and the south east.  He is also frequently selected as Third Surveyor to resolve differences between other surveyors.

If you would like a fee quotation for Building Owner’s Surveyor or Agreed Surveyor services, please contact us and we will reply to you as quickly as possible.

Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992

Not all building works or repairs close to the boundary come within the jurisdiction of the Party Wall etc Act 1996, which in most cases gives access to the adjoining owner's land and property to allow the building owner to undertake the works permitted by the Act. Buildings with external walls which form the boundary with an adjacent owner's land can be difficult to maintain. The owner of the adjacent site may feel that they can hold their neighbour to ransom when access is requested for necessary repairs to their building which cannot be done from their own side. This can result in expensive litigation.

The Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 provides a procedure for undertaking such essential works, whereby the Court may grant an Access Order over the neighbour’s land. There are strict procedures to be followed to ensure that the Access Order can be enforced, so it is essential to obtain the correct advice from the outset.

Please contact us if you have any questions in respect of access onto or over neighbouring land, or require a fee quotation.