Does the Party Wall Act apply to my home extension?
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What is a Party Wall?
A Party wall is usually a shared boundary wall or fence which is jointly owned and shared by two separate property owners.
What is the Party Wall Act?
The party wall act was introduced in 1996. It was introduced to help homeowners carry out work on their property up to and including the neighbouring boundary wall. It also includes excavations close to a boundary or neighbouring buildings and the construction of any new walls on a boundary too.
Why was the Party Wall Act put in place?
The act was introduced to resolve and minimise disputes between neighbours to allow building works to proceed by creating a clear process for the homeowner to notify their neighbour of the proposed work which is to be carried out in advance of the work commencing.
Does the Party Wall Act apply to me?
If the property is a semidetached, you’ll definitely have to serve formal notice to your who is directly joined to your property.
If the property is a terraced house you’ll have to inform both neighbours who are directly joined to you.
If the property is a semi detached or detached with a non-joined property within 3 meters of your home then they too will need to be informed formally with a Party Wall Notice.
Where there is excavation works to be done and the neighbours property is within 6 meters. Calculations needs to be done based on the distance from the bottom of your neighbours’ foundations to determine whether the Party Wall Act applies.
Is there an agreement which I need to get my neighbour to sign?
There is a Party Wall Act Agreement which can be downloaded online. To ensure you’re legally covered. This document needs to be signed by your neighbour in advance of the building work commencing.
Depending on your neighbour. This is usually a straightforward process depending on your existing relationship with your neighbour. Most homeowner will be able to call round to their neighbour’s home, show them the architects proposed drawings and discuss the sequence of work. They’ll be able to serve the notice for the proposed works.
However, some neighbours regardless of their relationship with the homeowner may require more than a friendly chat and require further information or professional intervention to resolve their reservations.
An example of a neighbour’s reservation could be how the proposed works may affect the structural integrity of their property. Especially, if there is going to be excavation works within a close proximity to their property or a section of the boundary wall is being removed. They may request structural engineer’s drawings and a proposal from the homeowner’s builder on how the sequence of works will be executed.
If your neighbour still doesn’t agree and sign the party wall act agreement. You need appoint a party wall surveyor. Your neighbour can agree to use the same homeowner’s surveyor or may request their own independent surveyor.
If a jointly used surveyor or two separate surveyors can’t reach an agreement for proceeding with the building works. A third surveyor must be appointed to make to a final decision.
All costs for the surveyors are the responsibility of the homeowner who is carrying out the proposed building works.
For more information
For more advice and guidance on The Party Wall Act for your home extension contact Gibbons Construction Management.
Gibbons Construction Management
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