Paramount Associates Ltd provide advice in connection with the Party Wall Act of 1996 which imposes duties upon those with interest in a building, to notify adjoining neighbours of their intention to carry out work which may affect a party wall or its foundations. The Act is intended to provide a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings. Initially, it was introduced solely in London but, since 1997, it has been extended as a piece of legislation that now applies to the rest of England and Wales.
The Act provides a building owner, who wishes to carry out various sorts of work to an existing party wall, with additional rights that go beyond ordinary common-law rights. It also states that a building owner must not cause unnecessary inconvenience. Although the Act contains no enforcement procedures, starting work without serving a notice could mean your neighbour could seek a court injunction or other legal redress. An adjoining owner cannot stop someone from exercising their rights given to them by the Act, but may be able to influence how and at what times work is undertaken. Adjoining owners should note that the primary purpose of the Act is to facilitate development.
In basic terms, the Act requires building owners to serve notice on their neighbours when they are building on or up to a ‘virgin’ boundary line, carrying out works to a wall or structure built on the boundary line or excavating for any purpose in close proximity to the neighbour’s property.
Should a dispute arise, both parties are obliged to appoint a surveyor, or to agree in the appointment of a single surveyor. The surveyor or surveyors are then obliged to act independently to ensure that the rights of both parties are protected. This is achieved by the preparation of the Party Wall Award document.
At Paramount Associates Ltd, we provide fully qualified surveyors who are members of The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors, to help in party wall disputes. We always seek to be proactive and aim to achieve the most practical and economic solution to your Party Wall problem.
For further advice, call us today or simply send us an email.