What is a Party Wall Agreement London?
A Party Wall Agreement is important to understand and a must-have for any homeowner looking to extend their property, affecting an adjoining property – i.e. their neighbour’s wall. Even homes that have extensions added under an approved Planning Permission may potentially require a Party Wall Agreement.
If you live in any property where you’re sharing a wall with a neighbouring house or building, you will need to come to an agreement regarding the party wall before works can begin on your London house extension.
The Part Wall Act 1996 takes into consideration three types of structural work:
- Construction of new walls at the boundary
- Alterations to party structures, such as walls and floors
- Excavation close to neighbouring buildings or homes
Home extensions in London fall under the second category. So, for example, if you’re underpinning a party wall to make your basement habitable, you may need to sign a Party Wall Agreement with your neighbouring home or building before the actual work can begin.
Sometimes, it can be tricky to decide whether you need even to sign the Agreement to begin with – luckily, we’re not just a house extension company in London but also one who specialises in offering Party Wall Agreement services. Suppose the extension work you’re planning to get done falls within the scope of the Party Wall Act, then as a building owner or homeowner. In that case, you must serve notice to the neighbouring party and obtain the adjoining property owner’s consent. Should consent not to be given, then both parties are ‘in dispute’ – if it comes to this, our party wall surveyor will help you resolve the dispute through a Party Wall Agreement.
At London Extensions, we have years of experience as a party wall surveyor for extensions to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Covering the entire London area, if the extension work you’re undertaking falls within the scope of the Party Wall Act 1996, then you’re more than welcome to sit down with us and discuss how to move things forward amicably
Do I need a Party Wall Agreement?
Here’s a more detailed description of when a Party Wall Agreement is generally needed:
- A party wall acts as a shared wall between a semi-detached or terrace house and divides the properties of two individual homeowners;
- It includes garden walls which have been built over a boundary and excavations which are close to your neighbour’s property – within 3-6 metres to be precise, depending on how deep the new foundations are;
- In residential properties, Party Wall Agreements are typically needed to carry out building works involving loft conversions, extensions, digging new foundations and insertion of damp proof courses.
Obtaining Party Wall permission and serving notice
– How it works
Since building an extension does, in pretty much all cases, require party wall building works. As a homeowner, you are required to obtain a Party Wall Agreement from all adjoining homeowners, where they explicitly give you consent.
You can always make this process easier and hassle-free by asking our in-house party wall surveyor to prepare a Party Wall Award – a document outlining how the extension building work will progress.
We will begin the process on your behalf, serving a Party Wall notice to all your neighbours in writing, detailing the planned party wall works related to the extension.
Homeowners must give a minimum of 2-months’ written notice on the extension building works, which will affect the boundary or party wall. However, planning permission is not required to serve a Party Wall Notice, and you have up to a year to begin work.
As a building or homeowner, if you’re planning to hire a house extension company in London to begin works, it is best to start planning early. For more complex works, notice periods may need to be served more than two months in advance for an award to be agreed upon.
We always advise our clients to have a frank discussion with their neighbours before they decide to serve a formal notice. This is generally a very good practice because neighbours who have been informed early on are far less likely to appoint a surveyor when they are suddenly ‘surprised’ to see a Party Wall notice on their front door – because if they do, you are required by the Act to share part of the surveyor’s fee.
This is one of the key reasons why our Party Wall Agreement services exist – to have your extension plans checked over by a highly experienced party wall surveyor, who can quickly confirm if the works are within the scope of the Party Wall Act – and draft the required notice(s) if need be. Since the Act also allows for the exact same surveyor to be hired by each of the affected owners – under this scenario, our professional party wall surveyor will act impartially to regulate matters – saving everyone from having to hire an individual surveyor and then negotiating the fee separately as well. We pride ourselves in offering a highly competitive flat price for Party Wall Agreement services.
To quickly reiterate this essential aspect of the Act: the building owner is responsible for the surveyor they appoint and the reasonable fees of any servers the adjoining owners appoint – so act fast.
Planning on undertaking extension works that fall under the Act? Not sure if that’s the case? Either way, you’re quite welcome to contact our party walls surveying team, who will be happy to guide you further in the matter.
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