If you live in England and Wales and are planning construction work, it is important that you are aware of the Party Wall Act and how it can apply to your development. The Party Walls Act applies to joint renovation projects, including loft fittings, extensions and basement transformations, and you should be aware of its impact on your project and get an agreement from your concerned neighbour. Step 1 – You must provide a notification at least 2 months before construction begins. You can do this yourself by filling out a form, note that the form varies depending on the work you do. Here you will find a model of the wall party agreement on the gov.uk page. Some architects will do the same for you as part of their package. However, if your neighbour does not give you permission to finish the job, you will need a party prize and you will therefore need an impartial surveyor. Both parties will probably need their own expert. A party wall is a wall, fence or structure bordering two (or more) separate properties belonging to different people. These owners have been forced to install a party wall – technically called the party wall agreement – with regard to all construction work that could affect both sides of the border.
Neighbours can claim compensation if they can prove that they have suffered a loss because of work, and this may even require the removal of the work. The same applies if you have a party contract with your neighbours, but you do not respect the agreed terms. If you don`t serve a party wall message and start working without your neighbors` consent, they could fight to stop work through a court injunction or other legal means. Step 2 – Your neighbors have 14 days to respond as soon as you send the notification. You can start work as soon as you have an agreement from your neighbors in writing. They have to give their consent in writing, if they do not, they will have assumed that they would oppose the communication. Since pre-decised work can only begin when the price is distributed (where the neighbouring owner has not noticed), it is important that the party wall process be taken into account at an early stage of the project planning phase. This will likely increase your costs and the contractor you work with may even claim compensation. You may also get impatient and continue with other work until the party`s closing agreement is reached, which means that work could still be delayed if you wait until your contractor has completed other projects. Jon comments: “This is not always the best reason to take action, as construction requests are often not developed adequately at the time of announcement, and there may be subsequent disagreements due to misunderstandings about proposals. A party wall agreement can sometimes lead to disputes between neighbours and it is therefore important to maintain good relations with them throughout the process. Don`t forget to keep your needs in mind when discussing the proposed plans.
If your neighbour responds positively to the message sent and can start work with his permission, you probably won`t need to hire a party surveyor. This means that you will probably need a party partition agreement for work including loft fittings, inserting wet proof courses and even if you dig new foundations as when building an extension. If the construction work has an impact on a party structure, you must do so at least two months before work begins. For excavations, you must be noticed at least one month in advance. Work can begin as soon as an agreement has been reached. Your neighbours have 14 days to respond to the notification with written permission or refusal.