I want to start my construction works next week; can you help?
Whilst it is possible to serve a Party Wall Notice and get consent, or an agreement to a Party Wall Award at short notice, this largely relies upon you having a good relationship with your neighbour. It also relies on them being very co-operative and understanding.
So, whilst we will always try to help building owners in these situations, there are no shortcuts to the process set out in the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
What do I need to do?
Firstly, you will need an experienced Party Wall surveyor to review your plans and proposals to determine whether your works are notifiable under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
For your surveyor to be able to properly review your proposals, you will need to have all the relevant architectural drawings and structural engineer’s details available.
We are often provided with drawings which are missing important elements such as building sections, which should show the depth, location, and design of building foundations.
Without the correct drawings, Party Wall Notices cannot be served. If your works are deemed to be notifiable, you have a legal responsibility to serve notice on your neighbour. We recommend that you have an experienced Party Wall surveyor prepare and serve your Notices on your behalf to ensure they are valid and prevent further delays.
What timescales are involved with serving a Party Wall Notice?
For excavation and line of junction notices, you must provide a minimum of one month’s notice prior to commencing the notifiable elements of works.
For party structure notices, you must provide a minimum of two months’ notice.
If you are lucky, your neighbour may agree to you starting your works earlier, however they are also within their rights to insist that you wait the full notice period.
When you serve Notice, your neighbour will have 14 days to respond. We recommend that, if your relationship with your neighbour is good, you consider personally delivering the Notice by hand as this will give you the opportunity to answer any questions they may have about your proposals.
Keep in mind that they have no obligation to return the Notice to you immediately.
If you do not receive a response from your neighbour within 14 days, you must then issue a further 10-day reminder notice, asking them to respond.
If you still receive no response, you will have to appoint a surveyor to act on their behalf and proceed with a Party Wall Award.
Both surveyors will need to determine what the dispute is in relation to, then review your proposals, meet at your neighbour’s property to carry out a Photographic Schedule of Condition and agree the Award contents.
This can be a lengthy process and it is difficult to attribute fixed timescales for this work, which is why it is so important to seek a Party Wall surveyor’s advice as early as possible.
Is it possible to achieve a quick Party Wall Award if my neighbour dissents to the Party Wall Notice?
Whilst your neighbour has the right to appoint their own surveyor to act on their behalf, they can also agree to use the building owner’s surveyor as an agreed surveyor. In this instance, as there would only be one surveyor involved, Party Wall Awards can often be finalised sooner, as you are not relying on lining up both the surveyors’ availability and working around their commitments on other projects.
Assuming that notices have been served promptly, an agreed surveyor has been appointed and access to the neighbour’s property has been agreed for the Photographic Schedule of Condition to be prepared, it is possible to agree an Award within a week.
How Harrison Clarke can help
We do not recommend that you leave Party Wall matters to the last minute as, although the process could in theory move quickly, there are absolutely no guarantees that this will be the case.
If you are planning any construction works to your property, and you need expert Party Wall advice, our experienced, specialist team of Party Wall surveyors at Harrison Clarke can help you through the process.
For further guidance and useful tips and information on the range of surveying services we provide, you can read our blogs and watch our videos. These are available on our website and our YouTube channel.
How you can contact Harrison Clarke
Call our friendly, expert and highly qualified surveyors on 023 8155 0051, or email us at email@example.com.
We would welcome the opportunity to help with any queries or needs you may have.
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