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What is a Party Wall Notice?
A notice is the start of the Party Wall Act process. You have to serve (deliver) the notice on your neighbour/s by law if you intend to do any work covered by the Act. If you are unsure if your work comes under the Act or your neighbours need to be served with a notice then please Call For Free Advice.
There are three possible ways that your work comes under the Act and the relevant notices are known as:
Section 1 - New building on line of junction
Section 3 - Party structure notice
Section 6 - Adjacent excavation and construction
The sections relate to the sections of the Act. Whilst you can serve these initial notices yourself, if you make mistakes, you could find that the process later down the line is invalid and you may have to start again from scratch. If you are unsure what is required then you should use a party wall surveyor.
A notice should be served with the drawings you have had prepared for the work so that your neighbour can see exactly what it is you intend to do and then make an informed decision.
When you serve a notice on your neighbour, they should reply within the first 14 days. If your neighbour does respond, it might be to consent in which case you can commence works. If your neighbour ignores the notice or does not consent within 14 days, then there is automatically a deemed dispute and at that point both parties have to appoint a party wall surveyor whose job it is to resolve the dispute.
It it is then down to your neighbour if they will agree to use an ‘agreed’ surveyor or they want to appoint their own. On larger works it is normal practice for the owners to appoint a surveyor each as this ensures that all work has the benefit of two heads. The down side is that whether your neighbour agrees to one surveyor or separate surveyors, you have to pay all the surveyor/s costs under normal circumstances. Whilst you might be able to agree a fixed fee with your own surveyor, this is unlikely to be the case with the adjoining owner’s surveyor.
The surveyor/s make an award which is a legal document that can only be appealed in the County Court within 14 days of being served on you. The award will have copies of the drawings, a record of condition of the adjoining property in case there is a claim of damage and also sets out the rights and obligations of the owners. An award can determine the right, time and manner of executing the work and any other matters arising or incidental to the dispute.
Once you have an award you are free, subject to the statutory time limits on the notice, to begin work.
*Please note that this is to assess if your work is governed by The Party Wall etc. Act 1996. If you require general advice and/or currently in dispute we can advise subject to an agreed charge.
For more information about the different types of notices and how we can help you: