A party wall agreement is an agreement between property owners required when certain works are carried out to a party wall (shared wall) or when works are carried out near to an adjoining neighbour (such as excavating within 3m).
If your property is a semi-detached or terraced property and you are planning a loft conversion or house extension, you will more than likely need a party wall agreement. For detached properties, this still may be required as excavations could be within 3m/6m of a neighbour’s structure (either their house, garage or outbuilding).
You don’t need to tell your neighbour about minor changes, eg plastering, adding or replacing electrical wiring or sockets, or drilling to put up shelves or cabinets.
In order to obtain consent, you’ll need to serve a ‘party wall notice’ at least two months before works go ahead. If your neighbour signs & agrees to the party wall notice then a full ‘party wall award’ won’t be needed and work can go ahead (subject to all other paperwork being in order). In this case, you may wish to have a photographic schedule agreed by both parties anyway, to be on the safe side.
***Important: Prior to making a planning application, we suggest having a conversation with your neighbour to let them know that you will be approaching them about the party wall act at the appropriate time, this can help to mentally prepare the neighbour, however, it is also advisable as poor practising surveyors touting for work may write to your neighbour advising that they need to appoint them.
If the neighbour(s) do not respond or dissent, then you’ll need to carry out a party wall award prepared by a surveyor.
Detailed Planning work with party wall surveyors that can write the correct notices for the type of work required. It’s worth noting that sometimes there may be more than one notice required and multiple neighbours that will need to be contacted.
Should the neighbour dissent and a party wall award be required, the surveyor will usually prepare documents consisting of three parts:
Other items covered include:
Once the agreement has been witnessed and signed, both parties will have a 14 day period to appeal if either one believes the agreement was improperly created.
These are usually valid for 12 months. We, therefore, recommend considering if any other works that may occur at a later date should be included within the notice to avoid serving twice in a year. You’ll also save costs on surveyors fees.
For the notices, surveyors may charge around £100+vat to write each notice on your behalf. Alternatively, you can draft your own using examples set out in the Party Wall booklet. However, we do not typically recommend this as small errors can invalidate the notice causing delays. If you do plan to prepare notices, example letters can be found here, with also the appropriate response letters. Guidance on the type of letter notices to be served are listed below, however, other works not listed below still may require a party wall notice.
If the neighbour dissents, then scenarios set out below may be expected. Fees are typically paid by the person carrying out the work. There are usually three scenarios following dissent of a letter:
1. The neighbour(s) agrees to use your suggested surveyor. This would be an agreement to use a shared surveyor between both parties. Some surveyors may charge approx £950+vat for the first award required and an additional fee should a second be required.
2. Alternatively, the neighbour(s) may wish to use their own surveyor and you would have your own surveyor, in which case you should expect to pay both surveyors fees. Some surveyors may charge £1000+vat. However, the fee for the neighbour’s surveyor may be up to and around £1500+vat. This could be duplicated for each neighbour that requests this.
3. Your neighbour may be happy for works to proceed with a schedule of condition only. Typically each report would cost £500+vat.
Following receipt of the party wall award, you should provide this to your contractor as it may contain conditions & instructions for the build.
Contact us at Detailed Planning to get started on your project.