Prior to undertaking works which fall under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, you will need to serve Notice on your neighbours (‘Adjoining Owners’).
But how does this apply to you?
The information below should give you an idea but please note that the key to determining whether the Act applies is in the detail.
Works to a terraced or semi-detached property
- Loft Conversion
- Side / Rear Extension
- Removal of chimney breast
How soon can I start works?
Our general advice, for small projects, is to allow a minimum of 2 months from the date of serving Notice. For more complex projects such as basements, we would usually recommend a minimum of 3 months.
Timing is unpredictable as it is dependent on the time it takes for Adjoining Owners to respond to the Notice (which can be up to a month) and subsequently whether they consent or dissent.
If a neighbour dissents, then the surveyor(s) will need to serve a Party Wall Award before your works can start.
The timescale is therefore highly dependent on third parties as well as your own professional team providing quality information for approval and inclusion in the Award without delay.
Please also bear in mind that most of works have a two month Notice period which your neighbours can hold you to, even if they consent. This may be rare but still possible!
Can I serve my own Notice?
Yes, you can and there are a number of templates which can be found online to assist you.
We would however recommend instructing a surveyor to serve Notice on your behalf. We often find that Notices prepared without the help of a surveyor are incorrect resulting in new Notices being required. This can cause delay by triggering a new Notice period.
In the event of a dissent, our fixed fees include the service of a Notice.
In the event of a consent, our fee for the preparation and the service of a Notice, inclusive of the Land Registry search fee, is competitive.
What will it cost?Even though we offer fixed fee quotations, Party Wall costs are difficult to budget. All is dependent on your neighbour(s) and their response to your Notice(s). If a neighbour chooses to appoint their own Surveyor, you would usually be responsible for that surveyor’s reasonable costs, which is usually based on an hourly rate. On more complex projects, such as basements; surveyors may need to instruct an independent structural engineer to assist them. You will then be responsible for those fees.
How soon can you serve Notice?
The Act requires a Notice sets out some key information, therefore timing is dependent on whether the information you have is sufficient. If we have all the information that is required, we are usually able to send out Notices within 24 to 48 hours.
Works to a detached propertyIf you live in a detached property, it is still possible that the Act applies for the following:
- Undertaking any works on the boundary (i.e. building a new garden wall).
- Demolishing and rebuilding a wall on the boundary.
- Excavations which fall within 3 or 6 metres of the boundary such as a basement or piling works.