Serving Notice, party wall agreement

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 a

planning application in and it may be wise to serve the appropriate notice before this time

in the hope that keeping them involved will procure a consent.

There are on occasions ways to design works to avoid the Party Wall etc act. Although

this is not always possible sometimes the beams can be run in the opposite directions to

avoid the party walls or the foundations can be constructed at such a level so as to avoid

undermining those of the next­door neighbours. At Quatrefoils Chartered Surveyors we

would normally consider such matters during the design stage of any project.

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