We assist our clients with any project where the Party Wall Act is relevant: We serve party wall notices associated to the works and communicate with any dispute that may arise.
The Party Wall Act and Party Walls
Party walls are walls used by more than one ‘owner’. The dividing wall between two houses is the most obvious example. Floors between flats are ‘party structures’ and boundary walls can be ‘party fence walls’. The Government introduced a new law for England and Wales in 1997 – the ‘Party Wall etc. Act 1996’, designed to regulate building works to these special types of wall, as well as neighbouring excavation works. The Act imposes rights and obligations on landowners wishing to conduct such works, but equally imposes rights and obligations on those landowners and occupiers who will be affected by the works.
Before commencing any building work eg a loft conversion or an extension, you should check to see if the Party Wall Act applies. Failure to comply with this legislation may result in the works being unlawful. If you are unsure, you should seek professional advice.
We combine our expertise of Structural Engineering and combined with the knowledge of the party wall act provides a highly efficient service in this area.
The Party Wall Act, as defined in this extract of the Structures Guidance Note produced by The ICE, states as follows:
Civil and structural engineers need to understand how this Act affects them in their work. A large proportion of complaints against engineers to disciplinary panels comes from their lack of knowledge of this Act. Its title is misleading in that it applies not just to party walls but to excavations up to 6 metres from nearby buildings. The etc. is an important part of the title. The previous similar legislation applied only to central London but in 1997 it was extended throughout England and Wales, affecting a much larger number of engineers. The Act has assumed greater importance for engineers since the fashion for constructing new basements under existing terraced houses has taken hold, especially in London.
The Role of the Engineer
If it is unlikely that the engineer will be acting as Party Wall Surveyor, his contact with the Act will be as building owner’s design engineer or sometimes as engineer advisor to an adjoining owner’s surveyor. If an engineer advises an adjoining owner direct, he needs to realise that he may be taking on responsibilities and risks more usually assumed by other professions.
With the above in mind, we have combined experience designing many structures where the Act applies. We also have the expertise on how to mitigate in a very efficient manner the most common challenges when the Act is relevant. This unique combination of skills and expertise has proven to be very popular within our existing clients.