What is a party wall agreement?

In construction terminology, a ‘party wall’ is a wall, outbuilding, or boundary you share with a neighbour. Party wall agreements are formal legal arrangements made between you and a neighbour.

 

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In construction terminology, a ‘party wall’ is a wall, outbuilding, or boundary you share with a neighbour. Party wall agreements are formal legal arrangements made between you and a neighbour.

It’s designed to head off disagreements and clarify who’s responsible for what if either party undertakes building work which might affect the shared barrier between your two properties.

 

party wall agreement

What’s included in a party wall agreement?

A typical party wall agreement (sometimes referred to as an ‘award) will address how the proposed works should be carried out, and clarify precisely what the project intends to create — with architectural drawings and/ or structural drawings as backup.

Most start with a schedule of condition that records what the state of the adjoining properties is before work begins. If there was to be a dispute or claim of damage in the places where construction took place, the schedule of condition provides the evidence.

  • The agreement will contain full details of both properties and any surveys completed before work starts. It may also cover things like working hours. Construction work in residential areas can only happen between 8 am and 5 pm on weekdays only.
  • Arrangements for access to the property surveyors, a timeline for completion, and a time limit on how long work can go on will also be included.
  • The person initiating the building work will need to pay for any surveyors fees the neighbour incurs, and there will be provisions to protect the neighbour against loss.

Once a party wall agreement has been signed and witnessed, you and your neighbour will have 14 days to appeal if either party feels there is an error in the document or something important has been missed out.

 

When do you need a party wall agreement?

Two months prior to any work starting, you need to give notice of your intentions to all legal owners of the buildings affected by your proposed construction or renovation. Under the UK Party Wall Act 1996, they will have 14 days to respond.

If your neighbours provide written consent during this time, consent is deemed to be given, and works can go ahead without a party wall agreement. If they fail to reply or raise an objection, that’s when a party wall agreement becomes a legal necessity.

 

Will I need a surveyor to help create a party wall agreement?

If you don’t receive the necessary consent from neighbours, then you will need to engage party wall surveyor to provide information and manage the process.

After the end of your notice period to neighbours, you have to notify them and advise that they need to appoint a party wall surveyor within ten days. Both parties can use the same surveyor. However, if this doesn’t happen, it’s the responsibility of the person who initiated the construction to commission two party wall surveyors.

 

Do I need a party wall agreement for an extension or loft conversion?

You might. If you’re living in a terraced or semi-detached house, you’ll have at least one, and possibly two shared walls with your immediate neighbours on either side. Any home renovation or loft conversion that affects these walls will need a party wall notice to be served, and then potentially a party wall agreement.

A party wall could also include any garden walls that edge the property line. You also have to tell neighbours if you plan to excavate within 3 metres of their home, or if you’re completing structural works to a party wall, like taking down or replacing a chimney.

 

Still have questions?

At Structures Made Easy, we provide a package of services to address party wall issues.

Whether you want to erect a wall with a neighbouring property, renovating an existing wall, or excavating near an adjacent building, we can review all the proposed plans and structural works, conduct site visits in advance, during and after construction, and create a schedule of condition report.

If required, we can put in place an agreement for the contractor’s working hours and agree on processes for mitigation of noise, dust and waste.

Once all matters are settled and agreed, we’ll finalise a legally-binding party wall agreement that protects you and your neighbour’s property against damage and disruption.

Want to know more? Feel free to contact us on details below:-

 

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