Party Wall Act : How to Maintain Excellent Relations with Your Neighbours
When it comes to building works, there is a particular law known as The Party Wall etc. Act 1996, which covers everyone that is associated. This Act is a means of granting rights to the person doing the construction works, as well as safeguarding neighbours from likely harm or undesirable effect that may result from the ongoing works. Below are some of the guidelines of the Party Wall Act.
Recommendation for Property Owners
Before the building works begin, all neighbours who could be affected by the construction should be made aware through a notice. The notice includes details of the planned works, the approximate date for works to be in progress, the address and name of the person scheduling the works. In reaction to the notice, neighbours can react in the three ways explained below.
- Approval for the works
The owner of the works involves a professional surveyor to generate a schedule of Condition on their behalf. This is done through taking photographs of previous building conditions, noting down all observations that concern the works and seeking professional help for further inclusions.
A Party Wall Agreement is then compiled to merge the notice, the approval and the Schedule of Condition into one official legal document.
- Disputing the works
Neighbours have an option of hiring a surveyor to help resolve the disputes. Surveyors analyse the designs put forward and recommend corrections to reduce all likely threats to neighbouring assets. Once the surveyor is contented, they give a Party Wall Award, and the owner of the building works can now proceed with building.
- No Reaction to the Notice
If neighbours do not respond in two weeks, a prompt is served, and they are given ten more days to react. If the ten days elapse and there is still no response, the owner of the works is allowed to hire a surveyor on behalf of the neighbours, and they are expected to follow the same procedure given above.
Recommendation for Neighbours
If your neighbour wants to start building works that involve a Party Wall , you should receive a notice. If you choose to approve the works in line with a Schedule of Condition, the Act offers sufficient protection from any structural harm that could happen.
However, if you choose to disapprove the works, you can have a surveyor come in and inspect the works. The Act does not necessarily protect disapproval of the works, but you gain on the final examination by a surveyor who gives the Party Wall Award.
In a case where the works to a Party Wall start and you have not been served with a notice, you should communicate with the owner of the works so that they issue you with one. This is because for you to be protected by the Party Wall Act, a notice has to have been previously given.
If the owner of the works does not give a notice even after engaging them, you should seek guidance from either a surveyor or a legal representative. In most cases, the final option involves acquiring a court order to stop works until notice is given.
All involved parties should follow the right procedures and seek professional help in all areas of the building works.