Do I need a Party Wall Agreement?

When do you need a party wall agreement? A Party Wall is a mutual boundary shared by adjacent property owners. It was introduced in the 11th century in England as a fire safety prerequisite for many terraced houses. However, these shared walls can be tricky for homeowners when initiating a construction involving the party wall. 

The owner has to undergo a completely legal procedure before carrying out any renovation. They have to ask for the consent of the neighbours who will be affected by all the works. The process usually starts with sending a minimum of 2 month’s Party Wall Notice to the adjoining landlord. If they give you their consent, it is time to formulate an agreement under the Party Wall Act 1996 together. 

It is legal documentation signed and agreed on by you and your neighbours regarding any building work affecting the shared boundary. 

What information is included in a Party Wall Agreement?

The Agreement contains minor information to important details; for instance, particulars of both the households and party wall surveyors (a person who formulates a Party Wall Award for settling the Party Wall Disputes). 

Other information includes;

  1. Amount and type of work that will take place.
  2. Schedule of Condition including photographs depicting properties’ condition before and after the work.
  3. The time limit of the proposed construction.

When do you need a Party Wall Agreement?

Works involving the existing Party Wall, Party Structure (Mutual floors and ceilings), and major residential alterations need you to have a Party Wall Agreement. This work falls into several categories, and the examples mentioned below highlight when the Agreement is required.

You need an Agreement if you are willing to initiate any of the given works; 

  • A chemical damp proof (CDP) insertion that includes drilling into the wall.
  • Removing a Chimney breast.
  • Demolishing and rebuilding of a party wall/ structure.
  • Inserting electrical wirings and cables that implicate chasing deep into the wall.
  • Underpinning a Party Wall.
  • To support the floor, steel beam fixing requires structure wall annihilation.
  • Fixing waste pipe-works.
  • Excavating within 3-6m of an adjoining structure.
  • Putting a flashing into your adjoining owner’s independent wall.
  • Taking down the fence and replacing it with a boundary wall.

In short, you will always require a Party Wall Agreement if you are willing to do any loft conversions, damp proof course insertion, and digging new foundations such as building an extension. 

Works that do not require a Party Wall Agreement – Minor up gradations such as; floorboard and fence replacements, plastering, rewiring, replacing floor coverings, shelves affixing are some of the tasks that do not require an Agreement. 

Cost of Party Wall Agreement 

The cost of the Agreement usually depends on the nature and complexity of the work undertaken and the number of adjoining owners. Besides, it is not always the case that the person instigating the job pays the agreement’s complete cost. 

You can always get free advice for a straightforward job with an adjoining neighbour or a free no-obligation quote to avoid any confusion.

Conclusion 

Party Wall Agreement is necessary if you live on mutual boundaries with adjoining neighbours and willing to take out some construction. Avoiding the formulation of agreement when required can lead you to severe consequences, including court injunctions and heavy penalties. Therefore, always research the work, contracts, and procedures before initiating any renovation or construction.

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