Party Walls & Neighbourly Matters
Some people hold the view that the proper operation of the requirements of the Party Wall etc Act 1996 is an irritation to the pace of the development process. On the contrary, the Act and its processes are intended to enable works to go ahead on a sound legal basis. The notice(s) required as part of the Act set out the rights to be exercised or sought. If the works described in the notices are disputed, the Act provides mechanisms for non-litigious resolution by the statutory appointment of independent surveyors to pre-agree the nature and extent of the works and permit development to proceed without the threat of an injunction. From the adjoining owner’s perspective, it sets out – before commencement – a clear and unambiguous statement of how the permitted works will be carried out.
We always recommend that the party-wall surveyor is involved in the development process as early as possible during the design phase (ideally before a planning application is made), so that the building owner’s liabilities under the Act can be identified, understood, minimised or removed altogether, and the implications of the statutory timescales that apply are factored into programming decisions. This approach should also minimise the costs of achieving the award, both in terms of construction and fees, and remove the almost-certain risk of costly delay that follows from late application of the Act’s processes.
Whether you are the building owner intending to carry out works or the adjoining owner potentially affected by them, it is essential that you are represented by a specialist who understands the implications and the processes demanded by the Act. We have dedicated specialists in each of our offices who have a high level of experience in party walls.
Our team members are knowledgeable and pragmatic. They will help you achieve the best outcome in the most efficient way possible, while acting impartially in this statutory role.