BUILDING OWNER’re planning some building works

You are referred to as “The Building Owner” under the Act (ie the one who is doing the building)

Here’s the 5 things you need to know and do:

1. Notify your neighbours

You need to formally write to the Adjoining Owners whose properties are going to be affected by your works near or on the boundary.

Not all works are notifiable (just the elements affecting the boundaries) but there is specific information you do need to include in your letter.

The simplest way to get this right is to call us. We can discuss your project and advise you as to what elements are notifiable.

We can also handle the notification for you at a fixed price of £80 per notice.

2. When to notify

We recommend that you notify them at least eight weeks before the proposed work is due to start. They have 14 days to reply and this should give enough time to handle any negotiations and avoid the possibility of delays to your project.

The adjoining Owner has 14 days to consent, challenge (referred to as a dispute) and/or request certain conditions.

3. What you should expect

Scenario 1: Adjoining Owner Consents

If the nature of the works you propose are of a simple nature (such as re-pointing a chimney) it is pretty straightforward and your neighbour is likely to simply give consent.

Scenario 2: Adjoining Owner Consents & Requests a Pre-Condition Survey

If it more structural (such as digging new foundations or inserting a steel beams into a shared wall), then you can expect that the adjoining owner(s) may consent to the works but may ask for a pre-works condition survey to be carried out by an experienced Party Wall Surveyor.

The surveyor will assess the condition of relevant areas affected by the works and take pictures of any cracks or defects so that there is a pre-works record of condition.

In most cases, you as the Building Owner will need to pay the cost of the survey.

Scenario 3: Adjoining Owner seeks an Award

If the adjoining owner does not give unconditional consent, this is deemed to be a “dispute” and a “Party Wall Award” must be made.

In most situations this is nothing more than conditional consent where the ‘Award’ is a documented way for the Adjoining Owner and you to agree certain conditions surrounding the project and how it is carried out.

An experienced Party Wall Surveyor will be able to advise the Adjoining Owner about the kinds of requests they may want to consider. This typically relates to details about the scope of the works as well as conditions relating to noise, security, project timescales, access via their property and other safeguards such as compensation in the event of damage.

On a more complex project (like a basement excavation) your neighbour could expect that you put money aside to protect them in the event of incomplete works which could result in damage to their property.

The Award is a legally binding document.

4. How to avoid delays

To avoid delays on less complex projects it is a good idea to get an independent Party Wall Surveyor involved that you and your neighbour can both be happy with.

On a more complex project (like a basement excavation) you will need to engage a structural engineer and produce ‘method statements’ (for example). So we recommend that you allow enough time to get this completed.

5. How to work with us

In the more straightforward projects we often we act as impartial surveyors for both parties ensuring all the necessary structural design and drawing information is in place and a pre-work condition survey has been done. We also facilitate a common sense agreement as to how the works are to be carried out so as to avoid damage and unreasonable disruption while maintaining security and privacy for the adjoining owner during the project.

You can CALL US for FREE ADVICE  about how to comply with your obligations and/or protect your interests under the Act.

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