Those who trespass against us..

The Party Wall Act does not supplant Common Law. The Act (S.2(2)(h)) allows projections to be removed to enable a wall to be built close to a neighbour's wall but this does not extinguish easements and cannot be used to remedy trespass. These should be resolved before commencing the Party Wall process.

 Thinking About a Basement?   CLICK HERE for things you need to know

I'M NOT SURE WHERE MY BOUNDARY IS 

Click here for more information on boundaries

HOW DO I CHOOSE A SURVEYOR? 

You should choose a surveyor who:- 

  • Has relevant (i.e building) qualifications
  • Is experienced
  • Is based relatively locally

You are advised to obtain references from your chosen surveyor.

What does a  surveyor do? 

When appointed to make an Award a Party Wall Surveyor will:- 

  • Study the design and liaise with the designers and engineers to ensure that the design objectives are achieved whilst minimising any adverse  effect  on the neighbours and maximising any potential opportunity by liaison with the neighbours (i.e.perhaps the agreement of a shared Party Wall)
  • Make a detailed (written and photographic) Schedule of Condition of the Adjoining Owner’s property
  • Prepare a Party Wall Award -  This  lists the proposed works, and any necessary precautions or restrictions (for example if access is required onto neighbours land).  A signed copy of the Award is given to both owners before the works start.

During the works the Party Wall Surveyor may inspect the works and the surveyor will be available to review any problems. If damage is caused the Surveyor will certainly be involved and will judge what remedial work is necessary.


When the works are completed the Party Wall Surveyor  will normally re-inspect. If all is completed properly and there has been no damage we issue a Certificate of Inspection a copy of which is sent to both owners.

What notices do I need to serve? 

The Party Wall Act  sets down what works require notice and what is necessary for a valid notice. Because an incorrectly prepared notice may be declared invalid and lead to potentially costly delays we recommend having the notices prepared by a professional. For more information about necessary notices click here.

WHY SHOULD I SERVE A NOTICE?

There are a number of good reasons:-
  • To progress works without notice is an offence
  • The Act gives you many rights including rights of access onto a neighbours property.
  • If you do not give notice you will be denying your neighbours the protection that is their entitlement.
  • If you do not give  notice you will be opening yourself up to potential claims (if a neighbour claims that damage has been caused by works and the matter goes to court the court will not look sympathetically on an owner who has ignored his duties and the benefit of any doubt may go against that owner).
  • You will probably be asked for evidence of a Party Wall agreement by any future potential purchaser  and the absence of this may prejudice a future sale.
  • ​​A Party Wall Surveyor can often, through experience, anticipate and therefore avoid problems and identify opportunities that can enhance and add value to your development and avoid delays.

 Frequently Asked Questions: 

C​ontact us for FREE ADVICE either using the link or by phone (020 8788 7128) or e-mail.​

WHAT IF MY NEIGHBOUR CONSENTS?

We recommend offering a Schedule of Condition (a detailed written & photographic record) of your neighbours' property when you serve a notice as it is likely to encourage your neighbour to consent and it also protects you from mistaken claims.  If no Schedule of Condition was offered then you can commence works without anything further (subject only to the notice periods stated). If a Schedule of Condition was offered then this should be made by a Party Wall Surveyor.


We would prepare a formal Party Wall Agreement comprising:-


  • Preambles (inc. names & addresses of owners and dates of notices and survey).
  • Copy of Notice & Consent
  • Schedule of Condition of Adjoining Owner's property
  • Location Plan & drawings to depict the works.


Our fee for this is £495 plus VAT for domestic work if the property is within 8 miles of our office in London SW15 6TH (otherwise an additional charge to cover travel may apply).


ACCESS TO NEIGHBOURING LAND?

The Act provides rights of access to execute permitted works . Click here for more information

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 gives you various rights (e.g a right of access onto adjoining land) and it gives neighbours protection against damage or adverse effect.  You  must first serve a notice on affected neighbours.  If a neighbour consents the works can progress. Otherwise a dispute is deemed to arise and a Party Wall Award must be made. Your neighbours cannot stop you form undertaking permitted works.

 I AM proposing to do work:

what IF MY NEIGHBOUR DISSENTS?

(or does not reply)

If your neighbour dissents they must appoint a surveyor. This can be the same surveyor you choose (called an Agreed Surveyor) or a different surveyor, In either case the surveyor's fees are normally paid by the person doing the work.


It is best if you can agree on a single surveyor or 'adopt'  the surveyor that your neighbour selects otherwise you will be paying for two surveyors and the total fees will double.  You should try and get a fixed fee from an Agreed Surveyor and also bear in mind that here will be practically no 'check or restraint' on the Agreed Surveyor's actions or decisions. 


If your neighbour does not respond to a notice after 14 days that neighbour is deemed to have dissented. You then need to serve reminder (Ten Day Notice). If no response is received after a further ten days you can appoint a Party Wall Surveyor for that neighbour. (If appointed to serve notice we would prepare the Ten Day notice for no additional fee).


Our fees for an Award depend upon a number of factors and we would give you a prior fixed fee. Our fees are low because we specialise and because we are efficient. Click the blue button below for our standard fixed fees.

FIRST YOU MUST SERVE NOTICES

If your proposed work is to a Party Wall or close to a neighbouring building or property it's likely that a notice  under the  Party Wall Act will be requiredA notice must be served 2 months before works  start that affect an existing Party Wall and 1 month before adjacent excavation or construction of a new wall along a boundary. 


It's a good idea to serve notice before you make a Planning Application or your neighbours will receive letters from other surveyors encouraging them to dissent and appoint them.


You can prepare and  serve your own notices and we provide 'easy to use' free templates as interactive PDF forms (see the red button below). Alternatively we will be happy to prepare the notice for you (This will reduce the chance of a notice being invalid due to error or omission). We charge £75 plus VAT to prepare a 'bespoke' notice including Land Registry search fees (to verify ownership).


In domestic situations we recommend and prepare a notice in the form of a friendly letter from the person doing the work which you  sign and hand to your neighbour.  We also annotate your designers drawings as necessary to validate the notice and for clarity and provide explanatory notes. You can call us or use the green link below:- .

Must I pay my neighbours if I use a Party Wall that they built ? 

Yes, The Party Wall Act, Section11 (11) states that you must contribute 50% of the cost of a Party Wall that you use that was previously built by a neighbour.
​​SURVEYORS FEES

Fees can escalate if a neighbouring owner appoints a different surveyor as they are entitled to do, as the surveyor appointed by the neighbouring owner will often charge as much or more than the first surveyor (appointed by the person doing the work), for doing little more than checking and approving the first surveyor's work. In that case we recommend 'adopting ' the neighbour's surveyor as the Agreed Surveyor to save costs.


Whilst the bulk of surveyors act responsibly and reasonably some charge very high fees. There is a perception that surveyors fees are self regulated by an ‘old-boy’ network and not independently monitored or controlled and that the Act gives surveyors a ‘licence to print money’. This has led to understandable resentment. We offer fixed fees and strive to avoid disputes which would require an Award to resolve and we are committed to challenging excessive fees. Click the blue button above for our fees.

Watson Woods Partnership

Party Wall Surveyors

Watson Woods Partnership
The Courtyard, 286 Upper Richmond RoadLondon, LondonSW15 6THGB
Phone: 020 8788 7128 Website: www.partywall.info