FAQ Party Wall Surveys
What does an ‘Award’ mean?
An Award is an official document, written and served by designated Surveyors, to resolve disputes between the parties involved, so as to allow the works to continue. Details of how the work is to be carried out and who is liable for any additional costs or fees will be included.
Usually, this will be the Building Owner.
To avoid future disputes arising after work has been carried out, an Award should include a record of the adjoining property’s condition before work commences.
When should a Notice be sent?
The Act should be invoked whenever building works to adjoining or neighbouring properties include:
- Building a new wall that affects a boundary
- Work on an existing party wall or fence
- Insertion of flashing or weatherproofing that involves changes to the wall of an adjoining owner
- Excavation of the wall within 3-6 metres of the adjoining property
- Any works to the connections of a party structure
- Elevating a party wall fence
- Reduction, demolition and reconstruction
- Exposing of party walls
When is a Notice Unnecessary?
When works to a party wall are minimal. For example, this may include:
- Boundary fences, sheds or temporary structures
- Drilling into party walls for fixtures and fittings
What may happen if a Building Owner neglects to send a Notice?
If a Building Owner fails to send a Notice and commences work, the Adjoining Owner may prevent work continuing by seeking a Court Injunction. This may result in the removal of work that has already been undertaken.
Failure to issue Notice has often meant courts have favoured the Adjoining Owner meaning legal costs have been awarded against the Building Owner. Claims for damages can also arise from failure to send a Notice.
These awards are difficult to defend and often much higher than awards made by surveyors.
What happens if I have been served with a Notice?
You should immediately contact our Surveyors for expert advice, particular to your case. You can appoint us to represent you if you so wish. You have a choice to CONSENT or DISSENT to the Notice.
A Schedule of Conditions should be produced, to verify the condition of your property before work commences.
If you choose to DISSENT from the Notice, this will invoke the Party Wall Act, giving you protection and making it easier to recover any incurred losses without necessarily involving the courts.
It does not prevent the Building Owner from proceeding with the works.
What if a neighbour has already started work without issuing a Notice?
In this situation, contact us straight away so that we can assess whether a Notice is required. If so, we would advise speaking to your neighbour to request the work be stopped until the issue is resolved. Should you require us to contact your neighbour on your behalf we can do so.
We would then seek a court injunction to stop work continuing if your neighbour refuses to consider the Act.
How long does this procedure usually take?
Initially, the Adjoining Owner has 14 days to CONSENT OR DISSENT to the Notice. Failure to reply would mean a dispute will be deemed. If the Adjoining Owner issues a DISSENT to the Notice, a surveyor is then appointed.
This should take approximately 4 weeks. It takes 2 months for the Notice period for party structure works however once an Award is agreed, work can progress immediately.
If you ignore the Party Wall Act, it could severely affect your project resulting in unwanted delays and unnecessary costs. If you have any doubts, contact us at Jason Edworthy – we could save you time and money.