A Party Wall Agreement is a formal agreement between neighbours following the service of a notice under the Party Wall Act.
Agreements that we prepare will normallyinclude a Schedule of Condition of the neighbour's property* (This is really the most important element as it is the tool which is used to judge if any damage has been caused), plus copies of the scheme drawings and notice/consent. It can also include other relevant undertakings.
A Party Wall Agreement does not lessen any of the rights or protection that the Adjoining Owner would have if a Party Wall Award had been made.
If following an agreement any dispute subsequently arises in relation to the works then a surveyor or two surveyors can still resolve the matter by a Party Wall Award. Therefore by having a Party Wall Agreement neighbours are not ‘signing away their rights’.
*We use a Mavic Air drone to survey roofs and parts of buildings that are not easily accessible by conventional means. (see example photo below)
A Party Wall Award is not necessary for both parties to benefit from the rights and protection given by the Act. All that is necessary is the service of a notice.
In the case of minor domestic works (i.e. Most loft conversions, internal alterations and simple rear extensions or excavation that is remote or very isolated) a Party Wall Award is not necessary and does not provide additional protection. In these we believe that it is preferable for neighbours to have an Agreement. This is what the Government recommend in their Advisory Document
(Section 12). In this circumstance It is a myth that a Party Wall Award is necessary for an Adjoining Owner to have the protection given by the Act.
Where complex works are involved,
particularly works including underpinning or deep adjacent excavation, there is a significant risk to adjoining property and in these cases, we believe that it is in the best interests of Adjoining Owners to dissent to notices and appoint a Party Wall Surveyor who will be able to bring expert knowledge to the situation.
Watson Woods Partnership
We use a DJI Mavic Air drone to undertake surveys of parts of buildings that are not easily accessible by conventional means .
An Award is a legal document prepared by surveyors to resolve a dispute. It contains legal preambles and recites rights and obligations and list precautions and provisions that the surveyors consider necessary.
With a Party Wall Award the Party Wall surveyor(s) will sometimes make a additional inspection at the end to ensure the works are properly finished and no damage has been caused. With an Agreement further inspections would only be made if requested, however a Final inspection can always be 'bolted-on' to a Party Wall Agreement if required.
Some surveyors advise people who have receive notices for simple works to dissent, have a dispute, and then appoint that surveyor to resolve the dispute by an Award. It should be remembered that Party Wall Surveyors earn more fees from disputes than from agreements.
For more information click this link.