Adjoining Owners can agree or disagree with what is proposed. Where they disagree, the Act provides a mechanism for resolving disputes, whereby surveyors are appointed to make an award.
An award will describe in detail the nature and extent of work that is to be carried out, measures to prevent unnecessary inconvenience, the working practices that are to be followed and the time period within which the works shall be commenced. In most cases the surveyor(s) will examine the proposed plans, check engineer’s calculations (where applicable) and make an assessment of the likely impact that the works may have on an Adjoining Owner’s property.
In order to assist with the identification of any damage that might occur, party wall surveyors will usually carry out a descriptive and photographic schedule of condition to those parts of an Adjoining Owner’s property, in close proximity of the proposed works, which shall act as a benchmark for cross reference purposes.
If any loss or damage materialises as a direct result of the works, the Building Owner will be required to make good such damage or make a payment in lieu thereof, the amount of which, shall be agreed between the owners or determined by the appointed surveyors in the absence of such an agreement.
Party Wall Surveyors are required by statute to act impartially and although they are appointed by the Building Owner, Adjoining Owner or both (Agreed Surveyor), their role is one of statute and they do not have a client.
CAN THE ACT BE USED TO RESOLVE A BOUNDARY DISPUTE?
No, but in many cases, the Act will prevent legal disputes arising in the first instance.
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 comprises 22 sections, all of which are very detailed and can be accessed by clicking here.
This site is intended to provide you with a general overview and insight into the Act, but is not an authoritative interpretation of the law. We offer free specialist advice regarding all party wall matters and we would be happy to discuss or answer any questions that you may have.