The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 came in to force on 1 July 1997 to govern the legal procedure to be followed in the carrying out of any works to property within England and Wales deemed, by the Act, to be 'notifiable'. This includes excavating for foundations within a specified distance of neighbouring property, building new walls at or astride the legal boundary, or works to repair or modify Party Walls and Party Fence Walls.
Sustain Surveying can deal with all matters arising under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 in both residential and commercial property. I will fulfil statutory appointments under section 10(1) of the Act as 'Building Owner's Surveyor', 'Adjoining Owner's Surveyor' and 'Agreed Surveyor' in addition to 'Third Surveyor' appointments.
Sustain Surveying can also deal with closely associated matters falling outside the remit of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, such as drafting Access & Scaffold Licences and boundary disputes. This may include advising developers on large schemes as to the potential implications of the Act on the proposed works and the relevant notices to be served on the Adjoining Owner(s).
Acting for Building Owners:
Appointments usually commence with instructions from the Building Owner to prepare and serve formal notice upon the Adjoining Owner in accordance with the provisions of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. The notice explains, in detail, the Building Owner's proposals to implement 'notifiable' works falling within the criteria of the Act in relation to the Adjoining Owner's property.
I also provide initial pre-notification advice to Building Owners who want to understand whether their proposed works fall within the ambit of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, and if so, which notices are required to be served. This service may be at the feasibility stage of a project whereby initial advice may assist in design revisions to avoid works requiring notification under the Act.
Service of notice may then lead to a formal statutory appointment under section 10(1) of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 in the event a 'dispute' arises with the Adjoining Owner. This may be due to the Adjoining Owner's communication of 'dissent' to the notice, or failure to respond to the notice within 14 days (known as a 'deemed dissent'). In this instance I will then draft and formally serve upon the parties a Party Wall Award. This legally authorises the works and sets out the respective rights and duties of each party in relation to the works being the subject of the Award. The Building Owner cannot commence the works being the subject of the notice until the Award is served.
As part of the Award I will usually record the existing condition of the areas of the Adjoining Owner's property likely to be affected by the Building Owner's notifiable works to avoid any later dispute over attributable damage of pre-existing defects.
My appointments in this regard may either be as an 'Agreed Surveyor' where we are jointly appointed by both parties with their mutual agreement, or in the capacity of 'Building Owner's Surveyor' in the event the Adjoining Owner appoints their own Surveyor.
Acting for Adjoining Owners:
I may also be appointed by Adjoining Owners who are in receipt of a notice from the Building Owner and are unsure how to respond. I accept appointments to review and respond to the notice on the Adjoining Owner's behalf.
Where an Adjoining Owner chooses to 'dissent' to the notice they have received from the Building Owner, or has failed to communicate 'consent' within 14 days of receiving the notice, they are then in the position of having to appoint a Surveyor by law; failure to do so within 10 days of a request being made by the Building Owner may result in the Building Owner appointing a Surveyor of their choosing on the Adjoining Owner's behalf. At this point the Adjoining Owner will have no control over the selection of their Surveyor.
In the event of a dispute, we accept appointments to act as the Adjoining Owner's Surveyor under Section 10(1) of the Act, again to settle the dispute by way of an Award.
Injunctions & Unlawful Works
I am able to advise Adjoining Owners who have not been properly notified by the Building Owner in connection with works that should have been the subject of notice under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (known as 'unlawful works'). I may initially be appointed to write to the Building Owner on the Adjoining Owner's behalf advising of the breach of the Act and the legal implications for failure to comply. In the event this proves to be ineffective, I can appoint, on the Adjoining Owner's behalf and in the relevant circumstances, a barrister under the Direct Access scheme to initiate proceedings for injunctive relief. This will result in an injunction being served upon the Building Owner to cease any further works in breach of the Act and effect any necessary remedial action.
Third Surveyor Referrals
In situations where a Building Owner and Adjoining Owner have each appointed their own Surveyor, the two appointed Surveyors must, by law, select a Third Surveyor as a neutral arbiter in the event they are unable to agree on any issue put before them for determination.
I will advise on, negotiate and draft licences for access and scaffolding on neighbouring land where the works fall outside the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.