Party Wall Surveyors in Westminster
Westminster, located in the heart of London, is one of the city’s most historic and sought-after areas. The neighbourhood is known for its beautiful parks, exceptional shopping and world-renowned architecture.
Businesses, organisations and individuals are always looking to develop or extend properties in the area. Our experienced Westminster party wall surveyors ensure that potential disputes are avoided, and proper procedures are followed.
What is the Party Wall Act etc. 1996?
The Party Wall Act is a set of regulations first passed in 1996 that governs construction projects near or on the “party wall” between two adjoining properties.
Under the Act, construction projects, including excavation, building extensions and alterations, must follow a set of guidelines to be legally compliant.
Before any project is undertaken, the adjoining property owners and those carrying out construction should agree on how and when the project will be completed. This process is known as party wall surveying.
What is Considered a Party Wall?
The Act defines a party wall as:
- Any wall boundary or line of junction between two adjacent buildings or structures which is partly owned by one person and partly by another
- A wall that sits on one owner’s property but is used by two owners
- Any structure that divides two properties, such as a wall, fence or ceiling
Note that wooden fences, hedges, metal guardrails and other free-standing dividers are not party walls.
When Do You Need a Party Wall Notice?
Party wall notices are issued to inform adjoining property owners about any construction work being planned near the boundary between their properties.
Adjoining property owners must be notified at least two months before the start of any construction work. Failure to do so can result in potential legal action against those carrying out the work.
There are three types of notices that can be served, depending on the type and scope of the work:
- Line of Junction Notice – covers excavation or construction work near a party wall (one month’s notice).
- Adjacent Excavation Notice – covers excavation or construction work that could potentially damage neighbouring properties (two months’ notice).
- Party Structure Notice – covers construction or demolition work that affects a party wall or shared structure (two months’ notice).
How Should My Neighbour Respond?
Adjoining property owners have 14 days to respond to a notice. They can do so in three ways:
Consent to the proposed work
This allows the project to proceed as planned. A Schedule of Conditions is then drawn up, outlining the state of the property before work begins.
Dissent to the proposed work
The adjoining owner can appoint a separate surveyor to assess the proposed works. The surveyor will then negotiate with the other party’s surveyor and create a Party Wall Award that outlines the conditions of the project.
Ignore the Notice
If a response isn’t received within 14 days, a 10-day grace notice is sent. If no response is received by the end of that time, the building owner may nominate a surveyor to represent the other party.
Both surveyors will negotiate the terms of the project before finally drafting a Party Wall Award.
No matter the result, the initiating party must cover all related expenses. Our Westminster party wall surveyors are reliable and always ready to help should any issues arise.
Who We Serve
In party wall matters, building owners are responsible for serving the proper notices and covering all costs associated with the project. Our party wall surveyors ensure everything is in order before any work begins.
Services we offer include:
- Drafting and serving of party wall notices
- Negotiations with adjoining owners
- Preparation and agreement of Schedule of Conditions
- Agreement and execution of Party Wall Awards
If you have been served with a party wall notice, our team of expert surveyors can help you understand your rights and ensure that your property is not damaged during the project. We will assist with negotiating any disputes and drafting the necessary awards or agreements.
Some of our services include:
- Advice on rights and obligations under the Act
- Agreement of works to be done
- Preparation and arrangement of Party Wall Awards
- Resolving any disputes that arise due to the works
Frequently Asked Questions
Some insurance policies cover party walls. However, this depends on the individual policy. It’s best to consult with an expert surveyor if you have any questions.
Yes, permission is required from all involved parties before any construction can take place. Our party wall surveyors can help you navigate the process and get the necessary approvals on time.
No, all party wall agreements must be drafted by a qualified surveyor with experience in this field. Otherwise, it will be deemed invalid.
Offering Experience and Expertise
Hamilton Darcey LLP has provided high-quality party wall surveying services in Westminster for over six years. We are proud members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Pyramus and Thisbe Club. Get in touch today for a free consultation.