In the United Kingdom, if you plan to carry out any building work on your property that affects a shared wall or boundary with your neighbor, you will need to obtain a party wall agreement. This agreement is a legal document setting out the rights and responsibilities of both parties regarding the construction work and any potential damage or disputes that may arise. This article will explain what a party wall agreement is, when you need one, and how to get one.
What is a Party Wall Agreement?
A party wall agreement is written consent from your neighbour that allows you to carry out certain types of building work on or near a party wall. A party wall is a wall or structure that separates two properties, such as the wall between two terraced houses or the floor between two flats. A party wall agreement can also cover other structures that are not strictly walls, such as fences, hedges, or excavations near the boundary.
A party wall agreement is not the same as planning permission or building regulations approval, which are separate legal requirements that you may also need to obtain before starting your project. A party wall agreement is solely concerned with the impact of your work on your neighbour’s property and their rights.
When Do You Need a Party Wall Agreement?
You need a party wall agreement if you intend to carry out any of the following types of work on or near a party wall:
- Building a new wall on or at the boundary of your property
- Cutting into or altering an existing party wall, such as inserting beams, damp proofing, or removing chimneys
- Demolishing or rebuilding an existing wall
- Excavating within three metres of an adjacent building or structure within six metres if the excavation involves deep foundations
- Raising or lowering the height of an existing wall
- Making any other changes that may affect the structural integrity or support of the party wall
If you are unsure whether your renovation or construction project requires a party wall agreement, you should consult a qualified surveyor or solicitor to advise you on the legal position of your project.
How Do You Get a Party Wall Agreement?
For you to obtain a party wall agreement, you’ll need to follow these steps:
- Inform your neighbors about your proposed work at least two months before starting. You can do this by sending a notice that includes details such as the nature and extent of the work, the start and end dates, and your contact information.
- Wait for your neighbour’s response. They have 14 days to reply to your notice. Your neighbour can either agree to your work in writing, request further information, or dissent and appoint their own surveyor to assess the impact of your work. If they do not respond within fourteen days, the law deems them to have dissented, and you will need to appoint a surveyor on their behalf.
- Appoint a surveyor (or two). If your neighbour agrees to your work in writing, you do not need to appoint a surveyor. However, if they dissent or do not respond, you must appoint an independent surveyor who will act on behalf of both parties and prepare a party wall award.
- Obtain a party wall award. A party wall award is a document that sets out the terms and conditions of the work, such as how and when artisans will begin, what measures you will take to prevent or repair any damage, and how you will share any costs or compensation that may arise with your neighbour.
- The surveyor(s) will prepare this document after inspecting both properties and consulting with both parties. Both parties must sign the award, and you must serve them the paper at least two weeks before the work commences.
- Carry out the work in accordance with the award. Once you have obtained the party wall award, you can proceed with your work as agreed. You must follow the instructions and specifications of the award and notify the surveyors of any changes or problems that may arise during the process.
Another point of note; try respecting your neighbour’s rights and avoid causing any unnecessary inconvenience or nuisance to them during the project. For any assistance, you can find a reliable building surveyor for searching online for “Party Wall Surveyor Croydon.”
Final Thoughts About A Part Wall Agreement
Now armed with the knowledge of Party Wall Agreements, you can approach your next construction project with confidence. Always remember to respect your neighbor’s rights and keep open lines of communication throughout the process. With the right preparation, you can ensure a smooth and conflict-free project, keeping both you and your neighbors happy.