In this blog post, I will be discussing in what instances a Party Wall Agreement is required.
Before discussing if a Party Wall Agreement is required, it is important to understand what a Party Wall Agreement is and the purpose of it.
A Party Wall Agreement or sometimes referred to as a Party Wall Award is a legally binding document which can either be produced by one or more Surveyors depending on the complexity of a specific job.
Essentially the Party Wall Award is drafted and served by the Surveyor(s) when there is a dispute to the Party Wall Notice. The Award itself governs the works that are to take place and protects both owners in the event of damage occurring or negligent claims.
The body of the Award is usually comprised of 3 main sections:
This contains the relevant clauses specific to the works that are to take place
The Schedule of Condition
This is the pre-work record of the condition of the adjoining owner’s property that would have been undertaken pre-construction work.
Drawings and any Additional relevant Information
These will detail and illustrate the works that are taking place.
A Party Wall Agreement or Party Wall Notice at the very least is required when a building owner is carrying out ‘Notifiable Works’.
Notifiable work is a term used within the Party Wall etc Act 1996 when explaining specific works that trigger the Party Wall etc Act 1996.
If a building owner is carrying out notifiable works, then they will need to engage in the Party Wall process. This usually begins with Party Wall Notice.
This Notice is served on an adjoining owner who is affected by the ‘Notifiable Works’. The adjoining owner determines whether they require a Party Wall Agreement as they have 3 options available to them in response to the Party Wall Notice.
Option 1: Consent
Consent to the Notice means that the adjoining owner is happy with all the information provided to them in the notice and reserve their rights and protection under the Party Wall etc Act 1996.
Option 2: An Agreed Surveyor
If the adjoining owner dissents and appoints an Agreed Surveyor, it means that both the building owner and adjoining owner will have the same Surveyor protecting their interests. The appointed Surveyor will produce the Party Wall Agreement and serve upon both the owners.
Option 3: Two Surveyors
Lastly, the adjoining owner can dissent and appoint a Surveyor of their own choice. This means that both the appointed building owner’s Surveyor and the adjoining owner’s Surveyor will have to liaise and produce the Party Wall Agreement together and only serve once they are both happy and in agreement.
The purpose of the Party wall Award is to govern the works and ultimately protect both the Building Owner and the Adjoining owner if damages are to occur to the property. If claims of damages are made by the adjoining owner, the Surveyor(s) appointed can then use the Schedule of Condition as evidence to determine whether damages have in fact taken place as a result of the works.
If all your questions were not answered here, or if you require a Party Wall Surveyor to help you serve a Party Wall Award, give us a call to receive 30 minutes of free Party Wall Advice.