PARTY WALL ACT – THE COMMON MISUNDERSTANDINGS

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Whenever you are planning on doing some construction activity on your property, you need to understand some terms such as Party Wall Act and Party Wall Agreement. Many common misunderstandings can arise regarding the party wall act.

PARTY WALL ACT

Party Wall Act came into force on 1st July 1997. It focuses on the conflicts and disputes that arise due to the construction of a party wall or boundary wall, or any excavation activity. Party Wall is a separator wall that separates two adjoined buildings.

THE COMMON MISUNDERSTANDINGS

Though the Party Wall Act came in 1997, still people have several misconceptions regarding it. As the Party Wall Award is called the Party Wall Agreement which has to be signed before the start of construction work. Some of the common misunderstandings related to the Party Wall Act are as follows.

1. Is the Party Wall etc. Act still applicable when the extension is done on my land?

Section 6 of The Party Wall Act describes the information and criteria related to the extension of the land. It says that any changes made in your plot area can affect the building of your neighbour. You have to leave 3 meters of space from your neighbour’s house before starting the construction activity. In case the foundation of the neighbour is deep, you have to leave 6 meters of space.

2. If a neighbour consents, is it necessary to serve a Party Wall Notice?

Until the Party Wall Notice is served, no consent is given to any party. If your neighbour is willing to give consent, it is preferred to serve the notice to be on the safe side. So, a written statement is required to confirm the consent. This process will ensure that the Owner is not affected and the party is ready to hire a Party Wall Surveyor for further processes.

3. How to deal with a neighbour when working without consent Party Wall Notice producing retrospective awards?

The Party Wall Act has no reference for retrospective notice, unlike the previous time when the work could be authorized retrospectively. If it is confirmed that the profitable part of the work is completed by the neighbour, then better results will be obtained. If the neighbour does not agree with the consent, the decision has to be taken by the court concerning both parties.  

4. Is it possible to prevent neighbours from encroaching within the boundary with their foundations?

A notice period is required if the building owner is willing to build any property along the boundary line and footings beyond the boundary line. If you are willing to build any extension to your land, then you can cut from the neighbour’s place. In this case, the notice period has to be served again. In this situation, an agreement is made which states that a boundary wall will be made will act as an extension between the two houses.

5. Can an adjoining owner deny its neighbour’s access to extend future building works?

Section 8 of the Party Wall Notice deals with such cases. Based on the extension work, 14 days notice period is given. So, the neighbour can get access according to Party Wall Act. The case will not include the court if access is imposed on a non-compliant neighbour.

6. Does Party Wall Award cover all of the work that is being carried out?

The Act specifies and focuses the works of the right authorized in a Party Wall Award. These are discussed in Sections 1,2 and 6 of the Act. So, Party Wall Award will only cover the rights and responsibilities of the Building owner in a detailed way.

CONCLUSION

So, in order to carry out an effective way of work, understanding Party Wall Act is the first step. Understanding Party Wall Act and clearing out its misunderstandings will give you an idea of the Party Wall Award, and Party Wall Agreement or you can always talk to a professional for that purpose.

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