Party Wall Agreements (Awards)

Party Wall Awards are prepared to resolve disputes under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. Our RICS Chartered Surveyors have prepared hundreds of party wall awards for homeowners across London and the South East.

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Party Wall Agreements (Awards) in London & the South East

Party wall agreements (formally known as party wall awards) are legally binding documents prepared by party wall surveyors to resolve disputes under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.

As a firm of RICS Chartered Party Wall Surveyors, we have negotiated and agreed hundreds of party wall awards for developments in London and the South East, including home extensions, loft conversions, basement builds, and maintenance.

If you have a party wall matter and want to discuss it with a party wall surveyor, don’t hesitate to call us on  020 7122 8877 or contact us for a free quotation and impartial advice.

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Party Wall Agreement FAQs

Below are answers to some of the questions we are most commonly asked about Party Wall Agreements (Awards).

A party wall award (sometimes referred to as a party wall agreement) is a legally binding document prepared by party wall surveyors to resolve disputes which arise from the Party Wall Act.

The contents of the party wall agreement will include details of the party wall works and how and when they will take place. It will also include any rights to compensation that may be awarded under the Act.

Typically a party wall agreement (Award) is prepared by either two surveyors each acting independently on behalf of the owners, or by a single “Agreed Surveyor” who will act impartially on behalf of both owners.

Party wall agreements are legally binding on the parties they are served on. This means that anything stated in the award must be followed by the owners. Failing to do so can lead to injunctions being issued, or legal proceedings arising.

If you do not agree with the contents of a party wall agreement (award), you can appeal it in the County Court within the first 14 days after it is served. After this period, however, it is binding on both parties.

A party wall agreement will be required when you serve notices on a neighbour under the Party Wall Act and they dissent to it. This triggers the process set out in the Act which requires each party to appoint a surveyor or agree to share a single surveyor, who will then prepare a party wall agreement (award).

The works which require notice under the Party Wall Act include:

  • Excavation within 3m of an adjoining structure.
  • New walls being constructed on the boundary with another property.
  • Construction works directly to a party wall or structure, such as underpinning, inserting beams, or removing a chimney breast.

Yes, you can prepare and serve part wall notices yourself. But you must be sure that you understand the requirements for what is included in the notices, and the statutory timescales for serving them, otherwise you run the risk of the notices being invalid.

You must also be sufficiently knowledgable of what works are notifiable under the Party Wall Act, and ensure that the correct types of notices are served.

Additionally, you must also ensure that you serve the party wall notices on all affected adjoining owners. Under the Act, an adjoining owner can be a freeholder, a leaseholder, a tenant who has lived at the property for more than a year, or anyone with a financial interest in the property. Because of this, a single property can have multiple adjoining owners, and each one must be served with a valid party wall notice. This saves a lot of stress, time, and often money in the event that you incorrectly serve your party wall notices yourself.

If you are in any doubt at all about what works are notifiable, or about who needs to receive a notice, you should engage an experienced RICS Party Wall Surveyor to prepare your notices for you.

If you need fully compliant party wall notices prepared by RICS surveyors who have prepared hundreds of party wall surveyors, don’t hesitate to contact us for a quote and free initial advice.

In most circumstances, the fees for party wall surveyors will be paid by the owner undertaking the works. This includes the fees of any surveyors appointed by their neighbours.

This is because the adjoining owner is seen as an innocent bystander who would not have to go through the party wall process were it not for their neighbour carrying out the works. Additionally, it is the owner carrying out the works that stands to benefit from them, and so they pay the party wall surveyors fees, just like the fees for other consultants such as architects, engineers, and planners.

There may be cases where an adjoining owner requests additional works are carried out, or where the works are being carried out as a result of the adjoining owner failing to undertake maintenance. In these cases, the apportionment of the party wall surveyors’ fees will be determined by the party wall agreement (Award).

The cost of a party wall surveyor depends on the complexity of the work being carried out, and how much time it will take them to deal with the matter.

Many party wall surveyors charge on an hourly rate basis, whereas others will provide fixed-fees for their services.

At Murrins, when we act on behalf of the owner carrying out the work, we always provide a fixed fee quote for party wall surveying services.

Typically, in London and the South East, you can expect to pay between £800 – £2,000 +VAT for a surveyor to act on your behalf providing a full party wall service, including schedule of condition and party wall award. For party wall notices alone, you can expect to pay between £175 – £300 +VAT per adjoining owner.

It is also important to bear in mind that you will likely be responsible for the fees of any surveyors appointed by your neighbours, as well as your own party wall surveyor’s costs.

We offer a free party wall surveyor quotation to all clients, so for an exact cost, please contact us.

When will a party wall agreement be prepared?

A party wall agreement (award) will be prepared when notices are served under the Party Wall Act and a neighbour dissents to the works covered in the notice. In this case, surveyors will be appointed to prepare a party wall award.

There are broadly three main types of work that are covered by the Party Wall Act, and for which you will need to serve party wall notices. They are:

  • Works to a party structure: Works directly to party wall or structures. For example, cutting into a party wall to insert a beam or flashing, removing and chimney breast, or underpinning a shared wall.
  • Excavation within 3m or 6m: Excavating within 3m of an adjoining property of structure and to a deeper depth than its foundations. Or, excavation within 6m in the case of piles foundations.
  • Building new walls on the line of junction: Constructing a wall up to or on the boundary line with another property where a wall does not already exist.

Your neighbour can then either consent to the notice, in which case you can proceed with the notifiable works, or they can dissent to it. In the event of a dissent, a dispute is deemed to have arisen and needs to be resolved by the process set out in the Party Wall Act, which involves appointing surveyors who will then agree a party wall award, sometimes called a party wall agreement.

The party wall award will set out the manner and timings that the work will take place. It will also consider any compensation in the event of damage and advise on the rights of access to the neighbour’s land.

Watch the Party Walls explainer video from the RICS:

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What works are covered by the Party Wall Act?

The are three primary categories of works which are ‘notifiable’ under the Party Wall Act. Each has its own section under the Act, and these are detailed below, including how much notice must be given before the proposed works can start.

Party Structure Notices:

Below details notifiable works relating to party structures. Note that not all notifiable works have been included, but the most common works have been.

Section of Act Notifiable Work Notice Period
Section 2(a) Underpin, thicken or raise a party wall. For example, to underpin or raise a parapet wall. 2 Months
Section 2(b) Where a wall is defective, carry out repairs, or demolish and rebuild it. 2 Months
Section 2(e) Demolish a party wall that is not sufficiently strong, or high enough, for the intended new building or extension. 2 Months
Section 2(f) Cut into a party wall for any purpose, including inserting a damp proof course or steel beam. 2 Months
Section 2(g) To cut away projections from a wall that over hang your land. Such as removing a chimney breast. 2 Months
Section 2(h) Cut away projections over your land to the extent necessary to erect a wall. 2 Months
Section 2(j) To cut into the wall of an adjoining property, which is not a shared wall, in order to insert a flashing. 2 Months
Section 2(n) To expose a section of a party wall or structure that was previously enclosed. 2 Months

The below table details the notifiable works that are covered by the Act in connection with building new walls on the line of junction with another property.

Section of Act Notifiable Work Notice Period
Section 1(2) To construct a new wall on the boundary line with another property, which is partly on both owners' lands. 1 Month
Section 1(5) To construct a new wall on the boundary line with another property, which is wholly on your own land. 1 Month

Line of Junction Notices:

Adjacent Excavation Notices:

The table below details where excavation works are notifiable under the Party Wall Act.

Section of Act Notifiable Work Notice Period
Section 6(1) To excavate within 3m of an adjoining property of structure and to a deeper depth than its foundations. 1 Month
Section 6(2) To excavate within 6m of an adjoining property or structure and to a depth that would intersect with a 45 degree line drawn downwards from the bottom of its foundations. Typically this only applies to piled foundations. 1 Month

An overview of the Party Wall Process including timescales

The Party Wall Act outlines the framework, processes, and timescales for dealing with party wall matters. The timeline below gives an outline of the critical party wall process.

Time required: 1 - 2 Days
1. Service of Notices
It is a requirement of the Act that the Building Owner serves compliant party wall notices on affected Adjoining Owners. Due to the complexity of identifying all notifiable work correctly, party wall surveyors are usually appointed to prepare and serve the notices, however anyone can serve the notice. Notice periods are 2 months for party structure works, and 1 month of line of junction and adjacent excavation works.
Time required: 1 - 2 Days
Time required: 14 - 24 Days
2. Response to notice
Once your neighbour has received the notice, they have 14 days to respond to it. The three options open to them in responding are:
  • Consent: In this case the works can proceed and nothing further is required under the Act. With that said, it is still advisable to have a schedule of condition undertaken of their property.
  • Dissent and appoint their own surveyor: In this case both the Building Owner's and Adjoining Owner's surveyors will act together to agree a party wall award. The surveyors must act impartially, despite being appointed by an individual owner. The notifiable works cannot start until the award have been served on the owners by the surveyors.
  • Dissent and agree to share a single agreed surveyor: In this case a single 'Agreed Surveyor' will act impartially on behalf of both the owners to prepare a party wall award. This option is recommended only where the works are of a relatively simple nature.
Note that if no response is received from the adjoining owner after 14 days, then they are deemed to have automatically dissented. In such case, a letter will typically be sent to them giving them 10 days to appoint a surveyor, otherwise the Building Owner can appoint one for them.
Time required: 14 - 24 Days
Time required: Typically 5 - 10 days following notice response.
3. Schedule of Condition
Once the surveyors have been appointed, they will undertake a schedule of condition of the adjoining property. This will act as a record of its condition before the works start so that in the event of any damage occurring, there is a clear written and photographic record
Time required: Typically 5 - 10 days following notice response.
Time required: Typically 3 - 6 weeks.
4. Party Wall Agreement (award)
The appointed surveyors will then prepare a Party Wall Agreement (formally known as a Party Wall Award). The award will determine any matters in dispute, and will also stipulate the timings and manner that the notifiable works must take place. It will also set out any rights to compensation and for access on to adjoining land.

Once the surveyor(s) has agreed the content of the award, they will sign it, and it will then be served on the owners. If they have any problem with the content of the award, they can appeal it in the County Court within 14 days, after which point the award becomes legally binding on both parties.

Subject to there being no contests in the County Court, the Building Owner can start the works covered in the award.
Time required: Typically 3 - 6 weeks.

Our Party Wall Services

Our RICS Party Wall Surveyors provide a complete party wall service.
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Building Owners

If you plan to undertake construction work near another property, you may be required to server party wall notices under the Party Wall etc. Act? Our experienced RICS surveyors can help.

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Adjoining Owners

Have you received a party wall notice from a neighbour? Or are your neighbours undertaking work that you think may be covered by the Party Wall Act? We can help.

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Schedule of Condition

A detailed schedule of condition safeguards your property by providing a details record of the condition of your property before the works start.

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Want to know more about Party Wall Agreements?

The RICS has produced consumer guidance covering the Party Wall etc. Act. The guidance is written in layman’s terms and gives an overview of the rights and obligation of the Party Wall Act.

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