Nearly all urban projects will come under the influence of the “Party Wall etc. Act 1996”. This does not just relate to walls between semi-detached or terraced houses but can also impact on any building works within 6m if the conditions are right. The Party Wall etc. Act covers many aspects of building work including how the works are to be carried, when the work can take place and how damage to adjacent properties are dealt with.
Seen by many as a hindrance or an unnecessary expense clients need to be aware that the Party Wall etc. Act is there to protect not only the person living next door but also the person having works carried out. BWP Architects can advise early on if and how your planned building works are impacted by the Party Wall etc. Act.
Party Wall Notices
The Party Wall etc. Act requires the timely issuing of formal legal Notices to the owners of adjacent buildings and failure to do so can result in court injunctions being put in place to halt building works. BWP Architects are able to issue the necessary Party Wall notices required under the Act to keep projects moving and to work with Party Wall surveyors to prepare any additional information required for Party Wall Award.
Party Wall Surveyors
On complicated projects we would advocate the employment of a specialist called a Party Wall Surveyor and we can give you recommendations on consultants to use. It is worth bearing in mind that your neighbours will be free to engage their own Party Wall Surveyor if they wish and, as the person having the works carried out, you are likely to have to pick their fees as well. The golden rule should always be to try to keep your neighbours informed about what is being proposed and work with their concerns.
Party Wall Awards
A Party Wall Award is the best way to protect everyone involved in any building works that are undertaken that come under the Act. The Award is a detailed written document, usually prepared by the Party Wall Surveyors, and will often include a Conditions Survey, a photographic and or written record of the existing condition of the neighbouring property to be used in the future as evidence for any remedial works that may be needed (or to refute any claims by unhelpful neighbours over alleged damaged caused by your builders). In addition, the Award will detail how the works should be carried out in terms of working hours, details of protection required, security aspects, scaffolding licences, and any additional work needed to the properties. The Award will also deal with the thorny matter of costs and fees. It is a legal document, carried out by impartial professionals that will be backed up by the courts if necessary.
At BWP Architects we are often asked to work closely with Party Wall Surveyors in order to help them finalise aspects of the Party Wall Award and to liaise with them during the building works.