One of the most common and reoccurring issues I deal with as a Party Wall Surveyor is issues about contractors working on a Saturday. I thought it would be helpful to look at what is and what isn’t allowed, to hopefully ensure that you are fully informed.
We also have a blog post that confirms the agreed construction working hours across the various London Boroughs which I would suggest having a look at.
Contractors are able to undertake general and noisy construction works within the times specified by the Borough. However, when it comes to Party Wall works, this is very much something that will be determined by the Party Wall Award.
Section 10(12) of the Party Wall etc Act 1996, confirms; “An award may determine – the time and manner of executing any work”.
This means that it is the Party Wall Surveyor or Surveyors (depending on the adjoining owner’s Party Wall Notice response) who will be able to determine when the Party Wall works can take place and if they can take place on a Saturday.
When determining this, generally speaking and in my experience, the surveyors will look at the various neighbourly elements that could come into play during the course of the works. For example, I recently agreed a Party Wall Award whereby the adjoining owners’ daughter was about to sit her GCSE exams. As Saturday was a crucial revision day, the adjoining owner requested if the Party Wall Surveyors could omit Saturday working hours from the Party Wall Award.
After discussion, the building owner’s surveyor and I both agreed that the request was reasonable, and therefore in that instance the Award specified that notifiable works couldn’t take place on Saturdays.
While the surveyors do have the authority to award the working hours of the notifiable Party Wall works, they do not have the authority to award or deal with the working hours of the non-notifiable Party Wall works.
Essentially this means that if a building owner is undertaking a loft conversion to their property, the notifiable works would be classified as the cutting into and insertion of beams into the Party Wall.
Any other works beyond that would be covered by the Local Borough’s working hours, therefore the cutting of the joists, works away from the party wall, or any other work taking place on site will be within the jurisdiction of the Borough’s working hours.
If you are an adjoining owner and have been served a Party Wall Notice by the building owner. I would suggest speaking to the Party Wall Surveyor directly and early on in the Party Wall Agreement process, to make him aware of any personal situation you may have for which you may want reduced or restricted working hours.
As confirmed by the Party Wall etc Act 1996, it is the Party Wall Surveyor’s statutory duty to consider that request and Award it accordingly.