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The Party Wall etc Act 1996:

In the early 1990s Parliament became increasingly concerned about neighbourly boundary disputes and felt the formal mechanism of this Act would assist in preventing them. The Act gives absolute rights to a Building Owner or developer to carry out works on his land affecting a party wall or party structure. A Building Owner/developer has rights to cut into a party structure, cut projections off from the party structure, underpin it and inject into it. He also has rights to undertake excavations, say for a new independent building, within three or six metres of a structure on adjoining land, depending upon the actual detail of the works.

However, if a Building Owner/developer exercises any of the above rights, he has certain responsibilities towards all Adjoining Owners affected by the works. Initially he must serve Party Wall notices in good time setting out his works, with surveyors needing to be appointed if there is dissent (a dispute between the Building Owner/developer and the Adjoining Owner/s). Surveyors for both sides must act impartially as the Act demands. The Building Owner/developer must not cause unnecessary inconvenience to the Adjoining Owner/s because of the manner in which he is carrying out the works or the time at which he is carrying it out, and the two surveyors act to ensure both parties are protected. The Act covers the issue of “reasonableness” and the requirement for compensation to be paid in certain circumstances. We have extensive experience in dealing with party wall matters, ranging from simple residential extensions up to complex multi-interest city centre re-development projects.

Acting for Building Owners

When acting for Building Owners our input usually entails:

• Ascertaining adjoining ownerships by way of undertaking Land Registry searches, liaising with solicitors and cold calling upon adjoining properties.

• Preparing and serving the necessary Party Wall notices upon Adjoining Owners.

• Preparing Schedules of Condition on Adjoining Owners’ premises/land relating to the party wall or excavation works.

• Liaising with Building Owners, in particular their architects and structural engineers, in order to produce all necessary drawings, both for the serving of the Party Wall notices and for completion of the Party Wall Awards.

• Drafting Party Wall Awards and agreeing their detailed terms/contents with the Adjoining Owners’ Surveyors.

• Agreeing supplementary Party Wall Awards were necessary.

• Confirming to the Building Owner what making good of defects is required, if any, to adjoining properties/land as a result of the works under the Act.

Acting for Adjoining Owners

When acting for Adjoining Owners our input usually entails:

• Examining Party Wall notices submitted by the Building Owner or his/her surveyor to verify their legal validity.

• Liaising with the Building Owner’s Surveyor, visiting the adjoining property and agreeing the Schedule of Condition.

• Having in mind the Act, and negotiating the terms/contents of any Party Wall Award.

• Monitoring the works from time to time during the course of the building contract, all as set out in the Party Wall Award.

• Checking the Schedule of Condition after all works under the Act are completed and agreeing defects to be remedied.

• Liaising with the Building Owner’s Surveyor to ensure that the Building Owner expedites all matters under the Act.

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Franks Associates is a Limited Company, trading as Franks Associates Limited. Registered in England and Wales. Company No: 8006647.

Registered Office Address: New Bond House, 124 New Bond Street, London, W1S 1DX.