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GLOSSARY OF PARTY WALL TERMS
Some of the terminology used in The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 may be new to you so we have set out a brief description of the more common ones.
The ‘Act’ Refers to The Party Wall etc. Act 1996
Party Wall There are two types recognised under the Act:
Type (a) – a wall that stands astride the boundary belonging to two or more different owners.
Type (b) – a wall that stands wholly on one owner’s land but is used by two or more owners to separate their buildings.
Owner This includes owners and tenants. Specifically anyone who has an interest in a property of greater than 1 year. So not someone with a 6 or 12 month Assured Shorthold tenancy
Building Owner An Owner proposing to carry out works that are covered by the Act.
Adjoining Owner An Owner (or interested party - see Owner above) of any neighbouring property to whom the proposed works are notifiable.
Occupier A person that resides at an Adjoining Owner’s property but not the Adjoining Owner themselves. Occupiers do not have to be notified but do have other rights under the Act.
Notifiable Works Any works proposed by a Building Owner that fall under sections 1, 2 or 6 of the Act.
Party Structure A wall, floor or partition separating adjoining properties.
Line of Junction An imaginary line dividing the land of adjoining owners.
Party Wall Surveyor A Surveyor appointed by either, or both, of the Owners to resolve the dispute. Surveyors appointed under the Act have a legal obligation to act impartially.
Building Owner’s Surveyor A Surveyor appointed by the Building Owner.
Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor A Surveyor appointed by the Adjoining Owner.
Agreed Surveyor A Surveyor appointed by both a Building Owner and an Adjoining Owner. The Agreed Surveyor can act for 1 or all of the neighbours.
Third Surveyor The Third Surveyor is selected at the outset by the Appointed Surveyors but is only called upon where there is a matter that they cannot resolve between themselves.
Party Wall Notice A formal document that is served on an Adjoining Owner by a Building Owner. It includes details of the proposed work. An Adjoining Owner can either consent or dissent to a Notice.
Consent To consent is to agree to the proposed works. This must be done so in writing.
Dissent To dissent is to create a dispute. This can be done it writing or by taking no action within 14 days.
Dispute The term used in the Act when an Adjoining Owner does not consent to the works upon receipt of a Notice. This is done by dissenting to the Notice or not replying within 14 days.
The Building Owner must appoint a Surveyor to resolve the dispute by creating a Party Wall Agreement.
An Owner who are ‘in dispute’ must appoint a Surveyor (or agree to appoint a single, Agreed Surveyor).
The Surveyor/s must act impartially to resolve the dispute by agreeing the terms of an Award and serving it on the Owners.
Party Wall Agreement A Party Wall Agreement has no legal status under the Act and is simply a written agreement between two parties (not involving surveyors).
Where neighbours are trusted friends they may sometimes choose to consent to the Building Owners proposals set out on the Party Wall Notice on the understanding that the Building Owner will agree to sign a written statement relating to anything they may consider potentially adversarial at a later stage.
This is does not offer the same level of protection for either party that is afforded by appointing Party Wall Surveyors to prepare an Award and is more likely to lead to dispute.
It rarely make sense for an Adjoining Owner to choose an Agreement rather than an Award especially bearing in mind that the Building Owner is liable under the Act to pay all the Surveyors fees,
Counter Notice After being served a Notice by the Building Owner, an Adjoining Owner can serve a Counter Notice, requesting him to carry out specific works.
Section 1 of the Act Covers construction of new walls on the Line of Junction between two Properties/Owners. Building astride the Line of Junction is only possible with the Adjoining Owner’s written consent.
Notice should be served 1 month before the proposed start date of any Section 1 works.
Section 2 of the Act Covers works to an existing Party Structure. There are a wide scope of works that fall under this category, including raising, repairing, demolishing and rebuilding, cutting into, cutting away projections and exposing a Party Wall.
Notice should be served 2 months before the proposed start date of any section 2 works.
Adjacent Excavation Digging close to an Adjoining Owner’s property (see Section 6 of the Act below).
Notice served under Section 6 of the Act is often referred to as a ‘Notice of Adjacent Excavation’.
Section 6 of the Act Covers adjacent excavations within 3 and/or 6 metres of an Adjoining Owner’s property.
If excavations are within 3 metres of an Adjoining Owner’s building and deeper than the base of their foundations, they will be notifiable under this section.
The 6 metre rule will normally only be applicable if the work includes piled foundations.
Notice should be served 1 month before the proposed start date of any section 6 works.
3 Metre & 6 Metre Notices Alternative names for a Notice of Adjacent Excavation depending upon the relevant distance.
Right of Entry Where work is authorised by the Act and access to the Adjoining Owner’s property is necessary to execute said work, that Right of Entry is provided for by Section 8 of the Act.
Security for Expenses Section 12 of the Act gives an Adjoining Owner the right to request Security for Expenses i.e. ask that funds are placed in an independent account by the Building Owner in case the works are started but not finished. If the Building Owner refuses the request the matter passes to the appointed Surveyors to resolve.
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