As Chartered Building Surveyors and Chartered Valuation Surveyors in Shrewsbury, Silk Sharples Jennings can provide professional advice on a wide range of property related matters. We are highly experienced in the stipulations of the Party Wall Act and its implications to property owners and developers.
The Party Wall Act
According to the legal requirements of The Party Wall Act 1996, property owners who are planning to alter their property in such a way that it affects a party wall – e.g. by cutting into it, building upon it or near it – need to serve Notice to the adjoining property owner. This applies to residential and commercial owners who are thinking of extensions, extending the property near to boundaries and also new development close to adjoining properties.
Experts in Resolving Party Wall Issues
Silk Sharples Jennings have extensive professional experience of surveying all property types, and can offer expert advice on all party wall related matters. If a Party Wall is required, we have the expertise in helping draw up the necessary Party Wall Notices and Awards and making sure the work is done properly and with minimal disruption to neighbours.
Our experience and involvement starts in the design and planning phase, which will help prevent the occurrence of problems later on in the building project and safeguard proper building works in full compliance with the Party Wall Act.
Why Should You Appoint a Surveyor?
The Party Wall Act may require surveyors to be appointed to act for the property owner and the adjoining owner with regard to any building matters on the boundary or near it. As a property owner carrying out building works, there are issues that can arise in the vicinity of a party wall, adjoining building or boundary line – not just with the party wall itself. Often, the potential impact on surrounding ground and foundations as a consequence of the proposed works also need to be taken into account.
The entire process can be fraught with difficulties, which is why it is essential to use the expert services of an experienced party wall surveyor to protect your interests. Acting without professional assistance may lead to potentially excessive and unnecessary expense and liability that can easily be avoided.
Frequently Asked Questions
If your are planning to carry out building works that affect a shared party wall or structure, you are legally obliged to serve Notice on all affected neighbours. Works covered under the act include building on or at the boundary, working on an existing party wall or party structure, or excavating below and near to the foundation level of the adjoining building or party wall structure. Loft conversions, basement extensions, building extensions or other structural changes to terraced or semi-detached houses or flats are most likely to be affected. If you are unsure whether your proposed project falls under the Act, SSJ Surveyors would be happy to advise.
A party wall surveyor provides expert advice and guidance on the legal process to be followed according to The Party Wall Act, including the obligations and responsibilities of the Building Owner and Adjoining Owner(s). The surveyor will review the proposed plans and confirm whether the works meet the criteria of the Party Wall Act, and serve Party Wall Notices to all affected Adjoining Owners as necessary. Unless consent is received in writing, the surveyor’s role is to conduct a site visit and prepare a Schedule of Condition of relevant neighbouring properties. Once this is complete, the surveyor will finalise the terms of the Party Wall Award and serve it to all owners, enabling the building works to start.
While serving a Party Wall Notice on your neighbours doesn’t technically require a surveyor, we would strongly recommend that you seek professional advice and assistance to help you do this, to ensure that the correct process is followed and the legislation is fully complied with. In the event that the Adjoining Neighbour does not consent in writing, or does not reply, within 14 days of the Notice being served, you must appoint a surveyor (either together or each appoint their own) and obtain a Party Wall Award before you can proceed with the build.
The average cost of obtaining a Party Wall Award is somewhere in the region of £1,000 for an average project, but the actual cost can vary considerably. Generally speaking, it is the Building Owner who is paying for all party wall surveyor costs. Depending on the specifics of the case and the complexities involved, one, two or three surveyors may need to be instructed. And while the Building Owner’s own surveyor may be able to provide a fixed quote at the start of the work, any Adjoining Owners’ surveyor(s) are unlikely to do the same and will instead charge per hour (average fee £200 per hour). If you would like a personalised quotation, please get in touch with the SSJ team to discuss your requirements.
A written Party Wall Notice must be sent to all Adjoining Owners at least 2 months before the proposed start of the works. If the recipients give their express consent within 14 days without any objections, construction can proceed, otherwise the parties are deemed to be in dispute and a Party Wall Agreement must be prepared. Once surveyors have been instructed and all the necessary details received, it can take up to 2 months for a Party Wall Agreement to be prepared. After the Award is served, both parties have 14 days to appeal at the county court. A Party Wall Agreement is valid for 12 months from the date of issue.
Contact SSJ Surveyors
For valuable professional advice on Party Wall Notices, Party Wall Awards, Party Wall Surveys or any other party wall related matter, please don’t hesitate to call Silk Sharples Jennings on 01743 461777 or send us a brief enquiry via our Contact Us page.
Specialist Surveyor – Colin Silk
Is a Chartered Building Surveyor and has extensive experience not only in the survey of all commercial and residential properties, but also specialises in commercial project management and monitoring, building disputes, party wall awards and is a qualified expert witness for Court purposes. Colin has also developed a large commercial client base dealing with condition and dilapidation schedules across much of the UK.
Click here to find out more about the specialist team here at SSJ Surveyors.