Walls which separate land or buildings (such as semi-detached or terraced houses) owned by different parties, known as party walls, are a frequent cause of disputes between neighbours.
Under the Party Wall Act 1996, such walls are subject to a number of regulations, including the requirement to inform all neighbours two months in advance if you intend to carry out any structural work, including:
- Cutting into the wall
- Inserting a damp proof course
- Raising a party wall
- Demolishing and rebuilding a party wall
- Excavating foundations
The neighbours have 14 days to object, or provide written agreement on the proviso that time limits, compensation and temporary protection are put in place.
If agreement is not given, the next step is to appoint a surveyor. This can be a single impartial surveyor or, alternatively, each party can employ their own. The surveyor(s) must then prepare a party wall award which will set out:
- The exact nature of the building work
- When and how it must be carried out – including any time limits
- The condition of the party wall before work begins
- Whether any temporary protection is needed
- Arrangements for surveyors to inspect the building work
The Party Wall Act 1996 does not cover minor work during which the structural integrity of the wall will not be compromised. This includes:
- Fixing plug sockets
- Screwing in wall units of shelves
- Adding or replacing electrical wiring
If you remain worried about any proposed work to a party wall, then you should contact the legal experts at Pearson Rowe.
As specialists in construction law, our Birmingham-based solicitors will assess your party wall dispute and provide you will all the available options, including preventing the building work taking place or putting in place specific arrangements, such as compensation or time restraints.
For more information on any of our high quality legal services, please contact us.