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What is a Party Wall Agreement?

Adele MacGregor

Written by

16th Mar 2023 (Last updated on 20th Mar 2023) 5 minute read

A Party Wall Agreement, also referred to a Party Wall Award, is a legal document that is drawn up by a surveyor. This is required if you are planning work on any wall shared with adjoining homeowners. This is known as the Party Wall.

The agreement outlines all planned works, how they will be carried out, and when work starts. This is to satisfy both the homeowner who wants the work done and any adjoining owners.

This article will cover the following:
  1. What Does the Agreement Contain?
  2. What is the Difference Between a Party Wall Notice and Party Wall Agreement?
  3. When Would I Need a Party Wall Agreement?
  4. Is a Party Wall Agreement Always Necessary?
  5. What If My Neighbour Rejects the Agreement?
  6. What Work Requires a Party Wall Agreement?
  7. How Much Does it Cost?
  8. Finding a Solicitor for a Party Wall Agreement

What Does the Agreement Contain?

The Agreement provides details about the obligations to neighbours and their properties. This includes alterations that may directly impact neighbouring buildings and inconvenience caused. It also notes excavations within 6 metres from the boundary if a neighbour’s home may be affected.

It ensures your neighbour does not suffer damage or loss on their property due to the work taking place.

The Party Wall Agreement is a crucial part of the dispute resolution process. If you want an extension or carry out any work which is notifiable under the Party Wall Act then you may need one.

The agreement will detail the costs involved, including surveying costs. It will also note who is responsible for paying. The Agreement can be disputed by an adjoining owner but this must be done in county court.

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What is the Difference Between a Party Wall Notice and Party Wall Agreement?

The difference between a Party Wall Notice and a Party Wall Agreement is that the Notice will not require a surveyor but an Agreement will.

The notice must be sent first and this can be done by the homeowner without the assistance of a surveyor. An Agreement, however, must be drawn up a Party Wall Surveyor. This takes place after the initial notice to any adjoining owners.

The Party Wall notice must be in writing and be given two months before building work begins. One month’s notice is required for excavations. This starts the process under the Party Wall Act. Your neighbour then has 14 days to respond. They can accept, dispute or come back with amendments.

When Would I Need a Party Wall Agreement?

A Party Wall Agreement would be required to set out the planned works on a shared existing wall. If an agreement cannot be made between neighbours, they are also used when a dispute arises. For example:

  • If your neighbour has rejected or disputed a Party Wall notice
  • If your neighbour hasn’t responded to the notice

You cannot begin work until a Party Wall Agreement is finalised. Doing so could result in prosecution.

Is a Party Wall Agreement Always Necessary?

A Party Wall Agreement may not always be necessary. If your neighbour agrees to your Party Wall notice and confirms in writing that work can go ahead, an Agreement may not be needed.

But, keep in mind that the Agreement is a legal document providing protection for both the homeowner and adjoining owners. Without this you could find the work being halted or without protection under the Party Wall Act.

What If My Neighbour Rejects the Agreement?

Once a Party Wall Agreement has been drawn up a surveyor, adjoining owners can only dispute it in County Court. They must submit their appeal within 14 days.

This is likely to delay the work you have planned, so keep this in mind. As we have stated above, staying civil with your neighbour is key in Party Wall matters.

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What Work Requires a Party Wall Agreement?

This would be regarding alteration, improvements or construction on the following:

  • Building work on a shared wall with your neighbour
  • Various work carried out on a floor or ceiling shared by a neighbour (for example, in flats)
  • Basement and loft conversions
  • Extensions which impact the party wall
  • Building work at or on the boundary of a neighbouring property
  • Excavating within six metres below the foundation level of a building or structure
  • Removal of chimney breasts or stacks if they are part of a Party Wall
  • Repair work on sewers, drains, chimneys, eaves and the like that are used in common with neighbours.

Minor work like putting up wall units or pictures and most decorating will not need an agreement or notice.

How Much Does it Cost?

The hourly rate for a Party Wall Surveyor in the UK is currently between £90 and £450 on average. Reportedly, Party Wall Surveyor costs are on average around £1,000-£2000. Keep in mind that this will depend on various factors.

The time spent on the matter and complexity of the dispute will contribute to the overall cost. If an additional survey is required to settle the matter and help draw up the agreement, this will also need to be factored into your costs.

For more information see: How Much Are Party Wall Surveyor Cost?

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Finding a Solicitor for a Party Wall Agreement

You cannot act as your own surveyor in Party Wall Matters. The surveyor must be independent and usually will be agreed upon by both the homeowner and adjoining owners. If an agreement cannot be made with the initial surveyor, a second or even third surveyor may be needed to settle the matter.

If you find yourself needing a Party Wall Surveyor when planning work on your home, there are a few ways you can find the right professional for you.

  • Ask family and friends for recommendations
  • Look at companies on the RICS website
  • Check the RPSA website
  • Read local company reviews
  • Compare Party Wall Surveyors on a comparison site

At Compare My Move, we can match you with up to 6 RICS or RPSA party wall surveyors. Many of these can help with Party Wall matters and draw up a Party Wall Agreement for you.

You can have peace of mind knowing our dedicated team only takes on the best surveyors in the industry. Partners are monitored to ensure they continue to meet our standards, meaning you only get connected to the best in the business.

Adele MacGregor

Having worked at Compare My Move for over four years, Adele covers topics such as the conveyancing process across the UK, property surveys, home moves and storage.

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