Here is a quick guide on what you need to know.
Before any work begins you will need to confirm whether the work you are intending to do is covered by the Party Wall Act. Here are some examples of work that would be covered by the Party Wall Act:
- To demolish and/or rebuild a party wall.
- To increase the height or thickness of a party wall.
- Cutting into the party wall to take load bearing beams.
- Underpinning a party wall.
- Excavations within 3 metres of a neighbouring building where the excavation will go below the bottom of the foundations of the neighbouring building.
If the work intended is covered by the Party Wall Act, then you will need to serve your neighbours with a Party Wall Notice. This notice must be presented to the owner of the property, not the tenant for example.
It is really important to keep your neighbours fully informed about the work that is intended, as in our experience not doing so can lead to delays in the project.
Your neighbours will need to sign the relevant paperwork, agreeing to the work before the build can start. If you are unsure about the process or need further advice from an expert we can provide you with the details of an experienced Party Wall Surveyor.
After the Party Wall Notice has been served your neighbours have 14 days to respond. If they agree to the work in writing then work can commence. If they do not respond within that time, they will have dissented and it will go to dispute. At this point a Party Wall Surveyor will need to be appointed.
A Party Wall Award will be drawn up, this award details the guidelines that the builders carrying out the work must follow. The Party Wall Award can also be appealed by your neighbour.
The key factor in all of this is to keep up communication with your neighbours, they need to be aware of your intentions right from the outset.