Party Wall Awards

If you were hoping this post would be about a fancy event with evening wear, unfortunately the Party Wall Awards are not at all what you were expecting!  However, they can be incredibly important for both you and your neighbours!

What is a ‘party wall’?

It’s any wall which is shared by you and your neighbours.  In a freehold terraced or semi-detached property, it’ll usually be the dividing walls.  If you live in a flat, it’s any wall (or other means of division such as a floor or ceiling) shared between you and any neighbours.  If the property is leasehold, you will also have to involve the freeholder.

A ‘party line’ is the line between you and your neighbour’s property – this is sometimes visually obvious, i.e. by a fence or boundary wall down the middle of the invisible line.

Why might you need to go through the Party Wall Act process

If you’re doing any work which significantly affects any party wall/ structure or the party line.  Examples include:

  • building an extension which will sit on the party line
  • fitting a steel beam in your home that attaches to a jointly owned wall
  • excavating near to a neighbouring building

If you’re not sure- get in touch.

If you are building an extension which sits on the party line, you will need a Party Wall Award

How do you get an Award?

the Party Wall Act sets out the process to follow if the planned work affects party walls, etc.  Essentially, this involves giving notice to the neighbours with detailed information (including plans and calculations) about the planned work.

The process can be complicated and can take a long time (over which you have very little control), so we advise appointing a competent Party Wall Surveyor.

Neighbours’ rights

On receiving notice, your neighbour can:

  1. agree to the works (in which case no Award is needed)
  2. not agree, but appoint your Party Wall Surveyor to draw up the Award for you jointly
  3. do nothing, and after 14 days, you’re deemed not to agree and no. 2 applies
  4. not agree, and appoint their own surveyor to review the plans on their behalf.

The neighbour can’t usually prevent the works going ahead but can delay the process and increase the cost to you significantly.  We therefore suggest discussing details with your neighbours beforehand.

The process can be complicated! Diagram from Government Resource: Party Wall Act 1996 Explanatory Booklet

Cost

You must pay for your surveyor’s time to send notices/ get the Award in place; you also have to pay for the neighbour’s surveyor (if appointed) too.

Timeline

difficult to predict as it depends how long your neighbours (and their surveyors if appointed) take to respond.  Again, we advise discussing details your neighbours in advance – to save you time and money!

Remember, too, that you may need Planning Permission, Listed Building Consent and to comply with the applicable Building Regulations and CDM Regulations, as well as obtain a Party Wall Award.

If you need advice on what regulations may apply to your project and how to get the certification you need- get in touch.  We have good knowledge of the planning process, and great specialists to consult with as needed.

A party floor – not the same as a party wall.