Party Wall Agreements
The Party Wall Act regulates building work pertaining to shared boundary walls and structures. These walls include brick walls separating terraced houses and flats, as well as some masonry garden walls. As these boundary walls are typically under shared ownership by the free holders of each building, both parties have rights and responsibilities in both maintaining and carrying out any changes to the wall structure. If you new extension or loft conversion involves changes or work to this wall then you are obliged to seek an agreement with the free holders prior to carrying out any work.
Examples of works requiring Party Wall agreements are:
Building on or extending the Party wall
Installing loading bearing steel work in to any part if the party wall
Cutting in to the party wall
Removing chimney breasts
Digging below the level of the party wall foundations
Erecting a new party wall boundary or fence
You will need to give formal notice to the neighbouring free holder detailing the works you wish to carry out and the date you propose to commence. In most cases a minimum notice period of two months is required. The neighbouring free holder can then choose to consent or dissent to the proposal. In the case that they dissent you are both generally required to instruct party wall surveyors to act on your behalves and negotiate the conditions under which the works can be carried out. You will usually be required to pay any fees pertaining to the other property owner’s party wall surveyor as well as your own. You generally won’t be stopped from carrying out the work. The process is to ensure that the rights of all parties concerned are addressed. Once the surveyors have agreed, party wall awards will be issued and this will set out the terms under which the proposed work can be carried out.
Cost for giving notice- approx £250 and the time length is usually round 1 to 2 months.