What is that Party Wall Act procedure, and how long does it take?
The Party Wall Act is something that is often overlooked on a construction project, and it can cause delays if it isn’t factored in to the programme. This short article will help you understand when to engage a surveyor, when to serve party wall notices, and how long each of the stages of the party wall procedure takes.
When to appoint a surveyor
You should appoint a surveyor if you believe that the Party Wall Act may apply to your works, or if you have been told that they may by a neighbour or other person. The best time to do this is well in advance of starting the works, but ideally no longer than 12 months before as a Party Wall Award is only valid for 12 months.
Therefore, we would recommend that you appoint a surveyor to confirm whether your works require Party Wall matters as soon as you are certain that you intend to carry out the works.
When to serve party wall notices
You must serve party wall notices at least 1 or 2 months before the works start, depending on which notices you serve and what works you are carrying out.
If you intend to carry out works directly to a party structure, for example to insert a steel beam, or to underpin a wall, you must serve the Party Structure Notice at least 2 months before you intend to carry out the works.
If you intend to excavate close to your neighbour’s property, or build on the boundary line, then you must serve notice at least 1 month before the works / excavations start.
How long does each stage of the party wall process take?
After you appoint a surveyor he will typically review the drawings and confirm which notices need to be sent, and send them within 2 weeks.
The notices will then be with your neighbour for up to 14 days. In the event that your neighbour does not respond, they are deemed to have dissented to the works, and your surveyor will issue a 10-day notice letter which gives them ten days to appoint their own surveyor otherwise one will be appointed to act on their behalf for them.
So the longest the notification period will take is 24-25 working days, but you should allow 1 – 1.5 months for this stage.
If a dispute arises the surveyors will need to come together and arrange to carry out a schedule of condition. This on average takes about 2/3 weeks to arrange.
Once the schedule of condition has been carried out, the surveyor working for the person carrying out the works will prepare the draft award. This will then be checked and commented upon by the neighbour’s surveyor, and any amendments made. Following this, the final Award will be signed and issued to the adjoining owner’s surveyor for signing. Once this is complete, the signed Awards will be sent to the relevant owners and the works can commence.
For the preparation of the Award and the signing by all surveyors, you should typically allow 2/3 weeks.
So on average job you can expect:
- Notices: 3-5 weeks
- Arrange Schedule of Condition: 2/3 weeks
- Prepare Award: 2/3 weeks
- Total time from issue of notice to receipt of Awards: 7 – 11 weeks (approx.)
Bear in mind that these are just indicative and can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the project, so it is always advised to consult a party wall surveyor as soon as possible.
If you are planning a project and require a party wall surveyor, please contact us and we will be able to advise you how to proceed.NEED A PARTY WALL SURVEYOR? CONTACT US