A party wall is one which is shared between you and your neighbour in a terraced or semi-detached property. In the garden, this will include garden walls and any excavations made within three to six metres of your neighbour’s property.
Party Wall Notice
Before you can start work you’ll need to give your neighbour a Party Wall Notice. A surveyor can do this for you for a fee. Or you can fill out a form yourself. There are plenty of samples and templates online. You must give your neighbour between one and two months’ notice of the building works, depending on what you’re having done. The party wall notice must include full details of the work you intend to do. If you intend to lay foundations that will be placed on your neighbour’s land (special foundations) you must also include
plans and drawings.
Sending the Party Notice
You can send the party notice through the post, but a better idea might be to pay them a visit and give it to them personally. You can explain how the work will affect them. Govt UK has a handy booklet you can download. It’s got a lot of useful information. Give a copy to your neighbour to read. Problems If your neighbour doesn’t reply to the notice or states that they are not in agreement, then you’ll need to apply for a party wall award. An award is a study undertaken by an independent surveyor (not the one you are going to use on your building project). You and your neighbour can either use the same ‘agreed’ surveyor, which is the cheapest option. If your neighbour wants his own surveyor he can appoint one, but you must pay the costs. Expect to pay around £1000 for this service if you use one surveyor. Or around £2000 if you need to pay two surveyors. If your neighbour doesn’t agree to use one surveyor and won’t appoint his own, then you must contract a second surveyor to act on your neighbour’s behalf.
The results of the Party Wall Award
When the study has been completed the surveyor will tell you whether or not the award has been granted. If it has then you can begin the works two months and one day after the date of the award. This time gap is to give your neighbour 14 days to appeal to the county court if they don’t agree with the award. Then, of course, the work will have to wait until the outcome of the court case is known.