Party Wall Process – An Infographic

party wall process infographic with how long the party wall takes, timescales, and how long party wall agreement is
The Party Wall process can seem confusing at first. That's why we've created this infographic to show the process and party wall timescales.
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    Introduction

    The party wall process can often seem confusing, especially for homeowners about to undertake a construction or renovation project where the Party Wall Act applies for the first time. However, understanding the fundamentals of the party wall process is essential for a smooth and legally compliant project. In this guide, we’ll break down the key components of the party wall process and provide clarity on what homeowners need to know before undertaking any work that involves a shared structure.

    What is a party wall?

    There are two types of party wall defined under the Party Wall Act:

    Party Wall Type A: This is a wall that is built on the lands of two different owners, typically between two properties. The wall can either form part of a building, or it can be a freestanding garden wall. These walls are common in terraced or semi-detached houses but can also be found in detached properties where there are shared boundaries. The party wall also includes structures such as floors or ceilings between flats in a building.

    Party Wall Type B: The second type of party wall is a wall that is built entirely on the land of one owner, but forms part of a building of an adjoining owner. In this scenario, any part of the wall that is enclosed upon by the adjoining property is also a party wall.

    an graphic showing the types of party walls type a and type b
    A drawing showing the 2 types of party wall.

    The Party Wall etc. Act 1996

    The Party Wall Act 1996 is legislation designed to prevent and resolve disputes between neighbours regarding party walls, boundary walls, and excavation near neighbouring buildings. It sets out the procedures that must be followed when carrying out certain types of building work and aims to ensure that both property owners are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

    Key Components of the Party Wall Process:

    1. Serving Notice: If you intend to carry out work covered by the Party Wall Act, you must serve a formal notice to all affected neighbouring property owners. This notice should include details of the proposed work and how it may affect the party wall.
    2. Response to the notice: Upon receiving a notice, neighbouring property owners have the option to either consent or dissent to the proposed work. If they consent, no further action is required. However, if they dissent or fail to respond within the specified timeframe, a party wall agreement may need to be drawn up.
    3. Party Wall Surveyor: In cases where an agreement cannot be reached informally between the parties involved, each property owner typically appoints their own party wall surveyor, or they may jointly appoint a single impartial surveyor to oversee the process.
    4. Schedule of condition: The party wall surveyors will undertake an inspection of the adjoining property known as a schedule of condition. This inspection will involve a photographic and written record of the condition of the adjoining property before the works start and can be used later on in the event of any reports of damage arising.
    5. Party Wall Award: The surveyor(s) will assess the proposed work and, if necessary, prepare a party wall award, which is a legally binding document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of each party. This document will detail the scope of the work, access arrangements, and any safeguards to be implemented.
    6. Commencement of Work: Once the necessary agreements or awards are in place, the building work can commence according to the agreed-upon terms.

    Infographic: The Party Wall Process

    Below is an infographic which gives an overview of party wall process from start to finish. Note that the timescales shown are based on a straightforward project. More complex projects, or projects with several adjoining owners can take considerably longer.

    If you would like free advice regarding your party wall project, call us on 020 7112 8877 to speak to a party wall surveyor.

    party wall process infographic showing how long the party wall process takes, timescales, and steps

    Conclusion

    The party wall process can be complex, but by understanding the key components and following the procedures outlined in the Party Wall Act, homeowners can ensure that their construction or renovation projects proceed smoothly and with legal compliance. Whether you’re planning minor alterations or major structural work, being informed about the party wall process is essential for maintaining positive relationships with your neighbours and avoiding potential disputes.

    If you have a party wall matter that you would like to discuss, our would like free impartial advice, please contact us to speak to a party wall surveyor. Call 0207 112 8877, or email contact@murrins.co.uk.

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