Party Wall Surveying Surrey:
All You Need To Know
We appreciate people carrying out building works in Surrey have the requirements of The Party Wall Act thrust upon them. We also understand it can be a daunting process for those that have not experienced it before.
We are party wall surveyors in Thames Ditton, Surrey and we have recently worked to resolve party wall disputes in Esher, Kingston, Weybridge and Guildford. We are pleased to provide a local and relevant explanation of party walls and The Party Wall Act.
What is a party wall?
Can My Neighbour Build On A Boundary Wall?
The short answer is “yes, subject to serving a valid notice and following the processes set out in The Party Wall Act.
Boundary walls are referred to in the Act as “Party Fence Walls”. The definition set out for a party fence wall is:
“a wall (not being part of a building) which stands on lands of different owners and is used or constructed to be used for separating such adjoining lands”
The party wall act only applies to “structures” (ie: a wall with a foundation), it does not apply to timber fences or other screens.
What Rights Does My Neighbour Have?
Section 2 of the Act provides the following rights to people wishing to alter a boundary wall:
- To underpin, thicken or raise a party fence wall
- To make good, repair, or demolish and rebuild, a party fence wall in a case where such work is necessary on account of defect or want of repair of the structure or wall
- To demolish a party structure which is of insufficient strength or height for the purposes of any intended building and to rebuild it of sufficient strength or height for the said purposes (including rebuilding to a lesser height or thickness where the rebuilt structure is of sufficient strength and height for the purposes of any adjoining owner)
- To cut into a party structure for any purpose (which may be or include the purpose of inserting a damp proof course)
- To cut away any footing or any projection in order to erect, raise or underpin any such wall or for any other purpose
- To cut away or demolish parts of any wall or building overhanging the land of the building owner, to enable a vertical wall to be erected or raised
- To raise a party fence wall or to demolish and rebuild a party fence wall
- Before carrying out this work, the person wishing to do so (known as the building owner) must serve a valid notice to clearly set out what they intend to do.
The workings of the Act are always instigated by the of issuing notices.
Written notice must be served on adjoining owners at least two months before starting any party wall works (one month for works to the line of junction or excavations). All adjoining owners must be served a notice and there are likely to be instances where there is more than one adjoining property and more than one owner of each. Works to a party wall, or those affecting a ceiling or floor, will also require a notice to adjoining owners living above or below.
It is essential to include the correct details on a notice as, if they are deemed invalid, then any subsequent actions are also invalid. Our surveyors are experienced at serving notices in London and Surrey. Please contact our Fulham office or our Thames Ditton office if you need any help.
If adjoining owners dissent to the works then a dispute has occurred which must be resolved to allow works to proceed. It is worth reiterating that the Act is one of enablement, it is not there to prevent works from taking place and it offers a route to end disputes at every stage.
Where written agreement is not given, the solution the Act provides is for both parties to appoint a surveyor. The surveyors then work together to agree the terms under which work may proceed. The surveyor(s) will review the plans, notices and structural details of the works and, after considering the impact of the works, will draw up an agreement which sets out the terms under which work can be carried out (the Award).
The Party Wall Award
The award will usually record the condition of the relevant part of adjoining property before work begins (this is not a requirement under the Act but is considered good practice and is duly provided by most good surveyors).
The award may also grant access to both properties so that the works can be safely carried out and the surveyor/s can inspect work in progress.
Generally, the building owner who started the work pays for all expenses of work and the reasonable costs incurred by all parties as a result, this will include the surveyors fees for both Building Owner and Adjoining Owner.
Are you an Adjoining Owner?
If your neighbours are planning on doing some work here are some of the things you need to know.
We are party wall specialists
We are party wall specialists with over 15 years experience in the industry. We are based in Thames Ditton, Surrey and operate throughout Surrey and South West London.
We hope this has been useful. If you have any questions please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org