Do I need a party wall agreement?
There are a number of characteristics of the development work that you are proposing that may mean a Party Wall Agreement is required. The main two reasons are:
You need to excavate foundations within 3m of your neighbours wall / foundation, and there is a chance that you may have to excavate deeper than their foundations.
You share a wall with your neighbour and you need to cut into the wall, or alter it in any way.
If you need someone to review your plans, and give you an idea if you need an agreement or not, I can help.
My neighbour doesn’t want the work to go ahead, will that cause me an issue?
The Party Wall process is designed to enable you to develop your property, and provide your neighbour with a level of protection of theirs. The Party Wall process will not stop the works going ahead and is designed to foster agreement between parties, and stop issues occurring during and after construction projects.
What is the process and how long does it take?
The typical process is as follows:
You (or your appointed surveyor) issue a notice to your neighbour detailing the work you are proposing to undertake, and how it is covered by The Act
Your neighbour can then consent to the works and the matter is closed.
If your neighbours feel that they require more protection, they would dissent and appoint their own surveyor.
The surveyors would then undertake a survey of your neighbour’s property that effectively details the condition, and notes any dilapidations, prior to your works proceeding.
The surveyors bind that survey into a Party Wall Agreement which fully details the work you intend to undertake, how it will be delivered, and binds in the condition survey.
This agreement is then signed and you can commence works (after 2 weeks or earlier by agreement).
Depending on the relationship between the parties this can take anything from two weeks to around three months. If there is a severe dispute the process can take longer.
My neighbour won’t talk and refuses to converse on the subject, what do I do?
If your neighbour refuses to interact, provided the appropriate notices are served you can appoint a surveyor on their behalf.
What if there is a dispute between the parties that just can’t be solved between the parties?
The Act allows for a Third Surveyor to be appointed who will be the final say on any dispute.
Who bares the cost of the process?
As the building owner, and the party who will benefit from the development going ahead, you are liable to pay the surveyors fees, including your neighbours surveyor, and a third surveyor if necessary.
What happens if there is some damage caused to my neighbour’s property during the construction works?
Following the completion of the works the surveyors will re-survey your neighbour’s property and check for any changes to the condition. If following this, or during the works any damage has been caused that looks to have been caused by them, it will be your obligation to fix the damage. Your obligation is to put your neighbour back in the position they would have been in had the works not taken place.
So how much will it cost?
Most surveyors charge between £90 and £125 per hour. That would equate to between £750 and £1000 per surveyor plus any VAT that may be charged.
Is there anything I can do to reduce these charges?
It is possible should your neighbour be agreeable to appoint just one surveyor to act jointly and broker an agreement between you and your neighbour. This will reduce the cots significantly.