Not all projects require a Party Wall Agreement but many do. We would always recommend either having one in place for a build, or at least understanding the consequences of not having one. It doesn't have to be expensive and we try to make it as simple as possible. For more information contact us.
What is a Party Wall Agreement
A party wall agreement (technically called an "award") is the document produced by the two party wall surveyors (or the "agreed surveyor") acting for the respective owners.
It usually consists of three parts:
- The award itself (i.e. a set of guidelines governing how the proposed works should progress)
- A "schedule of condition" of the adjoining property, often supported by a set of photographs
- Drawing(s) showing the details of the proposed works
The award will normally be based upon a draft document which is amended according to the details of the specific work. It should clearly state details of the two properties, their owners and their owners' addresses. It should also contain full details of the two surveyors (or agreed surveyor) and the "Third Surveyor" (if an "agreed surveyor" is used there will be no Third Surveyor).
Usually an agreed surveyor can produce all documentation. For example we draw all documentation, send it to your neighbours and hopefully they agree that we can undertake all works on the Party Wall Award. If they don't agree they can appoint their own surveyor (at your cost) at which time the third surveyor is named as an arbitrator if the two surveyors can't agree on an issue prior or during the works. The third surveyor is only paid if required and this is very rare.
What does a Party Wall Award include
- Brief details of the proposed works
- Working hours; normally 8am to 5pm weekdays only of residential work
- Assurances regarding the contractor's public liability insurance
- Indemnities by the building owner in favour of the adjoining owner
- Access arrangement for the surveyors
- A time limit for commencement of the works
- The adjoining owner's surveyor's fee (if appointed)
Once the award has been agreed between the two surveyors it is "published". In practical terms this means that a signed and witnessed copy is sent to the two owners by their appointed surveyors. Although there is a 14 day right of appeal if either owner believes the award to have been improperly drawn up the award, this is seldom observed.
An additional copy of the award is given to the building owner to be passed on to their contractor.
For more information please see the following, which is one of the better guides.