The Party Wall etc Act 1996 applies where someone wishes to carry out work on or close to a boundary. The work may be the erection of a new structure, changes to an existing structure or an intention to carry out excavations within a specified distance of an Adjoining Owner’s (neighbour’s) property.
Often party wall matters can be overlooked or left towards the end of the design process which can lead to delays for the works to commence on site. It’s therefore advisable to get started as soon as possible but when is the perfect time to start the process by serving notice?
Only 1 of the 3 types of party wall notice must be accompanied by drawings so unless the proposed work includes excavation that is notifiable under the Act notice could be served as soon as the decision is made to build.
Take a typical loft conversion, in almost all cases it will be necessary to cut beams in to the party wall to support the new conversion. Notices must include ‘the nature and particulars of the proposed works’ but do not have to include precise details so it would be possible to draft a Party Structure Notice once you decide to proceed with the works.
We do note that adjoining owners and there surveyors tend to be more comfortable with consenting to a notice when they have the full details of what is proposed and that generally means detailed drawings. However even with excavations you do not have to wait for the final design you can use the architects provisional drawings to speed up the process of issuing the notices.
We also find that if you know your neighbour it is best to speak to them first to let them know the works you are proposing and that they will be receiving a notice shortly. Our clients will also provide us with the neighbours contact details so we can speak to them once they have received the notice to explain the party wall process to them. This can then cut back on delays as some neighbours are not always sure what they need to do if they just receive a party wall notice in the post.
If you require any assistance with a party wall matter please feel free to contact us for further expert advice.