There has been contrasting views across the party wall sector as to whether the removal of plaster requires the serving of party wall notices. Faculty guidelines now indicate that if plaster is being removed by use of mechanical tools, this will require notification as there is a risk of damage to neighbouring properties, however if the works are carried out by hand with hand tools and the plaster comes off relatively easily, notice will not be required.
A party Wall award can often be required when you undertake construction works either on an existing or for a proposed building. Many people look at the title of the act which is the “Party Wall etc Act” and are under the misconception that it only relates to works that are carried out on the wall between two joined premises which is known as the “Party Wall” but this is not the case. There are a number of other items covered by the Act and the clue is in the etc. suffix at the end of the title. A few examples of items that would be included are such things as Adjacent Excavation notices. If you’re digging in the back garden of your house for an extension and the excavation will be lower than those of your nextdoor neighbour within a distance of 3 m then you need to let the neighbours know under the terms of section 6 of the party wall legislation. If you’re piling different distances and depths apply. Within flats for example you can have such things as Party Structures which refer to that part of the building that separates different homes or areas accessed by their own staircase or entrance. If example you’re in a firstfloor flat in doing work to your floors such as putting insulation in for sound purposes of even a level access shower tray you need to let the ground floor premises know as your floor is their ceiling and you […]
Once notices have been served your nextdoor neighbours have 14 days in which to respond to them. Under the previous 1935 act if you did not hear back from them they were deemed to have consented to the works and you could proceed. However, under the 1996 act this situation has reversed with the effect that if you now do not hear within the statutory time period they are deemed to have dissented. The effect of dissenting under the act means that there is a dispute which must be resolved by external surveyors as the act says you are not allowed to do this yourself. The two disputing parties would either then appoint their own individual surveyors or they would consent in the appointment of a joint agreed surveyor who would act for both parties. The Building Owner need to be aware that he/she is responsible for the surveyors costs being the party that is undertaking the works. The duty of the surveyors is to resolve the dispute by producing a Party Wall award which would deal with such matters as how the works are carried out, access arrangements and for example timing. Building Owners are warned to watch out for surveying companies who trawl the planning register and write to the nextdoor neighbours seeking appointment at an early stage before you have even had a chance to discuss the proposals with your neighbours. For this reason it is always beneficial to make the neighbours aware that you are putting […]