What We Do
Party wall agreements are often overlooked when taking on building projects. We have consistently been dealing with such issues for the last 20 years and can help on any building project that require an agreement to be in place.
Most people by now will have heard about Party Wall Agreements, but will know very little about them or be mis-informed regarding their use and power. I’m going to attempt to demystify this paranormal legislature that is a mine field for anybody contemplating extending their home, but without getting too technical.
‘The Party Wall etc. Act 1996’ came into effect in July 1997, and applies throughout England and Wales. It was designed to mitigate issues surrounding party wall matters without the need for expensive and protracted legal action between two (or more) neighbours. It is a dual purpose legislation that assists the building owner carrying out the works, but also provides protection to the adjoining owners that could be affected. It is essentially a legal document that sets out precisely what works can be carried out, and stipulates the time and manner by which it should take place.
What is a Party Wall?
A Party wall is defined as a wall forming part of a building that stands on the land of different owners, or as much of a wall that separates buildings belonging to different owners. For example the common wall which separates a pair of semi-detached houses, or in terrace of houses, and also walls (and floors) separating flats. A masonry garden wall built astride the boundary line could also fall into this definition.
So when does the Act apply?
A Party Wall Notice should be served if any one of the following applies:
- It is intended to build upon the line of junction (i.e. boundary line) that has not been built upon.
- It is intended to make structural alterations to the Party Wall for the purpose of;
- installing steel beams (i.e. typically in a loft conversion)
- to raise the wall to enclose a proposed extension,
- to cut into the party wall to insert a damp proof course, lead flashing, or any other weather protection for a structure being built against it,
- to underpin a party wall (i.e. when forming a basement)
- when excavating foundations within 3m of an adjoining structure and the proposed foundations would be lower than those of a structure within 3m,
- When constructing foundations which would be within 6m of your adjoining owners building, and the depth of the proposed foundations would cut a line drawn at 45 degree from the base of their foundations towards your foundations, e.g. when forming deep piled foundations.
- If proposing to form a Through-lounge opening between the front and rear reception rooms,
- Where the Chimney Breasts are being removed and attached to the party wall.
The above is not a comprehensive list, but covers the most frequent scenarios for the average home owner.
As members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors we are in a position to assist either building owners contemplating carrying out any of the above, but we can also act as Adjoining Owners Surveyor for a neighbour concerned about proposed works taking place next door to them. Call and speak to us for advice.
The realities of planning are never easy. Getting approvals from councils, knowing how to push boundaries and making sure you comply with council guidelines is a proper fight. We have seen it all before and are well trained in dealing with every eventuality. We work hard to make this as seamless as possible for you the home owner.
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Regulations are there to make sure you, the public and everyone associated with your building is safe. There is a high level of compliance and legislation that needs to be understood. That is where we come in, as Kish has over 20 years of experience in the building control sector and knows his way around the maze.
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Have a look at some of the project we have worked on to get a better flavour of the kind of works that we do.
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Your home improvement project is likely to be the biggest financial investment you are ever going to make, and it’s a one-off opportunity and hence you cannot afford to make mistakes. Finding and managing contractors can be a foreign experience for those who are not conversant with construction practice and procedures. Our Stage 3 Service reinforces the Construction drawings by providing additional information that will both assist you in making decisions and ensuring the contractor executes the project as planned. However, you are advised that this is not an interior design package. The Project management service offers the broadest service and would represent a small percentage of the overall contract sum, but can save you considerably more in time and money in the long term.
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