Do I need a Party Wall Award?
The document that is produced by the two party wall surveyor(or the single “agreed surveyor”) is referred to as a Party Wall Award (or Party Wall Agreement) but even if you are entitled to one do you really need one?
For the Building Owner the Act:
- Ensures that damage to the adjoining owner’s property is properly attributed
- Provides rights of access to the adjoining owner’s property to execute work in pursuance of the Act
For the Adjoining Owner the Act:
- Limits the hours during which the notifiable work can be executed.
- Includes provisions for making good damages without the need for a civil claim.
- Provides assurances that their land or buildings will not be compromised during the course of the work.
- Ensures that the Building Owner’s contractor has suitable public liability insurance.
Although the adjoining owner receives the greater number of benefits those received by the building owner can be very important, particularly in protecting themselves from spurious claims. It is amazing how an adjoining owner will swear blind that the crack in their building never existed before all that banging started next door.
The only situations where the benefits gained from a party wall award do not outweigh the cost of preparing it would be with minor works. Examples include re-pointing, renewal of flashings or the insertion of a damp proof courses. These are all tasks where technically a party wall notice should be served but the likelihood of significant damage to a neighbour’s property is minimal.
It should be remembered that just because an adjoining owner avoids a party wall dispute by consenting to minor party wall works the building owner’s responsibilities do not disappear.
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