Party Wall Agreement
The Party Wall Award also referred to as a Party Wall Agreement is a legal document prepared by the two appointed Party Wall Surveyors or the Agreed Party Wall Surveyor.
The Party Wall Award is the conclusion of the Party Wall process and once served, it means that the building owner is free to commence their proposed construction works subject to adhering to the requirements set out within the Party Wall Award.
Although every Party Wall Agreement is different and specific to the building owner’s and adjoining owner’s properties, generally speaking the Party Wall Award will contain the following information:
- A description of the works being undertaken
- The agreed protection measures to the adjoining owner’s property
- Method statements for the contractor to adhere to
- Access statements for the contractor to adhere to
- Clarification of the formal procedures in the event of damage or issue
- A timescale for the duration of the works
- The Schedule of Condition Report
The main benefit of a Party Wall Award is that it places the dispute in the hands of the Agreed Party Wall Surveyor or the two Party Wall Surveyors; this not only means that both owners are fully and legally protected.
It also means that in the event of issue, damage or dispute the Party Wall Surveyor or Party Wall Surveyors are appointed to step in and resolve the dispute through their experience and knowledge thereby ensuring swift and cost effective resolution.
Typical Protections included within Party Wall Awards:
Access by a building owner's contractor onto an adjoining owner's land is a legal right the Act allows. The Party Wall Award will govern and closely protect the adjoining owner's property during the course of the access including both the timings and extent of the access.
Underpinning is common in basement conversions. The Party Wall Award will ensure the manner of these works have been considered from the perspective of the adjoining owner's property, while also potentially having been reviewed by a checking engineer.
The Party Wall Award will ensure that the building owner's contractor only use hand tools on the Party Wall. This will reduce the percussive works which in turn reduces vibration, and the the risk of damage of damage to the adjoining owner's property.
Enclosure costs are due from a building owner to an adjoining owner, should they make use of a wall they previously built. The Party Wall Award will see these costs calculated and legally awarded to the adjoining owner ensuring they are properly compensated.
Slip Membranes will be installed at the abutment of an adjoining owner's existing foundation and a building owner's proposed foundation. The membrane ensures the two respective foundations aren't merged together, thereby allowing the new foundations to settle without risk to the adjoining owner's property.
CCTV Drain Surveys are often required when a building owner is constructing over or close to drainage that is shared with an adjoining owner. The survey and video ensure that the condition of the subterranean pipework is recorded in advance of the works commencing.
The Party Wall Award will give the Party Wall Surveyor or Surveyors the right to agree the time and manner of the building owner's Party Wall works. This means that the Award is able to agree the days of the work, the working hours and the timings of any necessary contractor access.
The Party Wall Award will ensure the adjoining owner's property is considered from the perspective of the construction works. In doing this open vents or chimney breasts will be temporarily sealed to ensure dust as a result of the works doesn't penetrate the adjoining owner's property.
The Party Wall Award will give the Party Wall Surveyors the right to obtain the advice of a Structural Engineer in situations of complex works. This ensures that a second set of eyes looks over the proposed works pre construction and importantly from the perspective of the adjoining owner's property.
Scaffolding can often be required at roof level for loft dormer construction and ground level for flank wall construction. While the building owner has the legal right of access, the Party Wall Award will closely govern it ensuring the access is safe, secure, alarmed and subject to working hour restrictions.
The Party Wall Award ensures that the building owner is legally responsible for any type of damage their construction works cause to the adjoining owner's property caused as a result of the Party Wall works. Damage can be dealt with during or after the works.
Security for Expenses
The Party Wall Award will legally award an adjoining owner Security for Expenses. When requested by an adjoining owner, this sum of money ensures that in the event of abandoned works the adjoining owner's property isn't left in a state of risk of damage as they can utilise the funds to safeguard their property.
Sectional "hit and miss" Bays is a method of digging that ensures when the building owner's excavations adjoin an adjoining owner's property and are taking place, they are dug in a sequenced manner thereby reducing the risk of movement and damage.
The Party Wall Award will ensure that the building owner has the legal obligation to weatherproof and protect an exposed Party Wall or any part of the adjoining owner's property that is exposed to the elements. This reduces the risk of water ingress and damage.
The Party Wall Award will ensure that the correct foundation design is used during the building owner's construction. For example ensuring that there aren't any projections onto the adjoining owner's property reducing their future development options and negating a trespass issue.