1996 Party Wall

Specialist Party Wall Surveyors 

Here are the most frequently used Glossary of terms.

3 Metre & 6 Metre Notices - Alternative names for a Notice of Adjacent Excavation.

"the ACT"- Refers to "The Party Wall etc. Act 1996" to give it's full tittle 

Adjacent Excavation - Digging close to an Adjoining Owner’s property – covered by Section 6 of the Act. Notice served under Section 6 of the Act is often referred to as a ‘Notice of Adjacent Excavation’.  

"Adjoining Owner" - An Owner (or interested party - see Owner below) of any neighbouring property to where the proposed works are notifiable.

Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor - A surveyor appointed by the Adjoining Owner

Agreed Surveyor - A surveyor appointed by both the Building Owner and Adjoining Owner. The Agreed Surveyor must act impartially to resolve the dispute by agreeing the terms of an Award and serving it on the Owners.

Award - Owners that are ‘in dispute’ must appoint surveyors (or agree to appoint a single surveyor). The surveyors resolve the dispute by agreeing the terms of an Award and serving it on the Owners.

"Building Owner" - The Owner proposing to carry out works that are covered by the Act .

Building Owner’s Surveyor A surveyor appointed by the Building Owner

Consent - To agree to the proposed works.

Counter Notice - Upon being served a notice by the Building Owner, an Adjoining Owner can serve a counter notice, requesting him/her to carry out specific works.

Dispute - The term used in the Act when an Adjoining Owner does not consent to the works upon receipt of a notice. The Owners are deemed to be in dispute if consent is not given with 14 days of the notice being served.

The Building Owner must appoint a Surveyor to resolve the dispute by creating a Party Wall Agreement. 

An Owner who is ‘in dispute’ must appoint a Surveyor (or agree to appoint a single, Agreed Surveyor). 

Dissent - The opposite of consent – if an Adjoining Owner dissents they create a dispute under the Act.

Line of Junction - An imaginary line dividing the lands of adjoining owners. Unlike a boundary line the Line of Junction also extends upwards.

Notifiable Works - Any works proposed by a Building Owner that fall under sections 1, 2 or 6 of the Act.

Occupier - A person that resides at an Adjoining Owner’s property; other than the Adjoining Owner themselves. Occupiers do not have to be notified but do have other rights under the Act.

"Owner" - Defined by the Act as anyone having an interest in a property of greater than 1 year i.e. not an Assured Shorthold tenant, includes the persons or company or other body:

• holding the freehold title;

• holding a leasehold title for a period exceeding one year;

• under contract to purchase such a freehold or leasehold title;

• entitled to receive rents from the property.

Party Structure - A wall, floor or partition separating adjoining properties.

Party Wall - There are two types recognised under the Act: Type (a) & Type (b) see below.

Party Wall Type (a) – a wall that stands astride the boundary belonging to two or more different owners.

Party Wall Type (b) – a wall that stands wholly on one owner’s land but is used by two or more owners to separate their buildings.

Party Wall Agreement - A Party Wall Agreement has no legal status under the Act and is simply a written agreement between two parties (not involving surveyors). 

Where neighbours are trusted friends they may sometimes choose to consent to the Building Owners proposals set out on the Party Wall Notice on the understanding that the Building Owner will agree to sign a written statement relating to anything they may consider potentially adversarial at a later stage. 

This is does not offer the same level of protection for either party that is afforded by appointing Party Wall Surveyors to prepare an Award and is more likely to lead to dispute.

It rarely make sense for an Adjoining Owner to choose an Agreement rather than an Award especially bearing in mind that the Building Owner is liable under the Act to pay all the Surveyors fees, 

Party Wall Notice - A formal document that is served on an Adjoining Owner by a Building Owner, providing details of the proposed work and when it is expected to commence. An Adjoining Owner can either consent or dissent to a notice.

Party Wall Surveyor - A surveyor appointed by either, or both, of the Owners. Anyone can be appointed as a Party Wall Surveyor except the Owners although an understanding of construction and procedures under the Act is desirable. Surveyors appointed under the Act have an obligation to act impartially.  

Rights of Entry - Where work is authorised by the Act and access to the Adjoining Owner’s property is necessary to execute said work that right is provided by Section 8 of the Act.

Section 1 of the Act - Covers construction of new walls on the line of junction between two Owners. Building astride the line of junction is only possible with the Adjoining Owner’s written consent. Notice should be served one month before the proposed start date of any section 1 works.

Section 2 of the Act - Covers works to an existing Party Structure. There are a wide scope of works that fall under this category, including raising, repairing, demolishing and rebuilding, cutting into, cutting away projections and exposing a party wall. Notice should be served two months before the proposed start date of any section 2 works

Section 6 of the Act - Covers adjacent excavations within 3 and/or 6 metres of an Adjoining Owner’s property. If excavations are within 3 metres of an Adjoining Owner’s building and deeper than the base of their foundations, they will be notifiable under this section. The 6 metre rule will normally only be applicable if the work includes piled foundations. Notice should be served one month before the proposed start date of any section 6 works.

Security for Expenses - Section 12 of the Act gives an Adjoining Owner the right to request Security for Expenses i.e. ask that funds are placed in an independent account by the Building Owner in case the works are started but not finished. If the Building Owner refuses such a request the matter passes to the appointed surveyors to resolve.

Third Surveyor - Is selected at the outset by the two appointed surveyors but is only called upon where there is a matter that they themselves cannot resolve.  

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