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Party Wall Agreements for Loft Conversions

Adele MacGregor

Written by

9th Feb 2023 (Last updated on 22nd May 2023) 4 minute read

When planning a loft conversion you will need to consider the impact on your neighbours. If you live in a semi-detached or terraced house, a loft conversion will likely mean work on a Party Wall. This is a wall adjoining and shared with neighbours.

A Party Wall Agreement is a legal document drawn up by a RPSA or RICS-registered surveyor. This outlines the work taking place on the Party Wall and the rights of affected parties. As the person proposing the work, you will be responsible for the surveying costs.

Below we look at when you need a Party Wall Agreement, what the process involves and how much it could cost.

  1. Party Wall Agreement Explained
  2. Do Loft Conversions Need a Party Wall Agreement?
  3. When Can I Convert My Loft Without An Agreement?
  4. Issuing a Party Wall Notice
  5. What If My Neighbour Refuses?
  6. Party Wall Surveyor Fees
  7. Hiring a Party Wall Surveyor for a Loft Conversion

Party Wall Agreement Explained

A Party Wall Agreement (also referred to as a Party Wall Award) is a legally binding document drawn up by a surveyor. This is in accordance with the Party Wall etc Act 1996. This is used to settle a dispute between neighbours regarding work such as a loft conversion.

You will need to hire a third-party Party Wall Surveyor as you cannot act as your own surveyor or draw up an agreement.

The agreement provides details of the loft conversion that could impact adjoining owners. It will also contain information about how the work should be carried out. This includes any responsibility to reduce risk to neighbouring buildings.

It will also contain details of costs, who is liable for these and the planned start date of the works.

Be aware that an agreement is different to a Party Wall notice. The notice is what you must provide to the neighbour telling them about the planned works.

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Do Loft Conversions Need a Party Wall Agreement?

If your loft extension plans impact a shared wall, you may need a party wall agreement. This is also the case if a loft conversion impacts a shared structure such as a chimney.

An agreement will need to be drawn up by a surveyor if you cannot come to an agreement with your neighbour.

Examples of work for a loft conversion that will require a party wall agreement include:

  • Using the Party Wall as a load-bearing wall for a beam
  • Insert a damp course throughout the wall
  • Demolishing and rebuilding part of the wall
  • Removing a chimney breast from a party wall
  • Underpinning of the party wall
  • Inserting new steel beams

When Can I Convert My Loft Without An Agreement?

If your neighbour accepts the Party Wall notice without objection, you may be able to continue without an agreement.

In a detached home or stand-alone building, there is unlikely to be a shared wall. As a result, you usually won't need a Party Wall agreement for a loft conversion. That said, it is recommended that you consult neighbours so they know work will be ongoing on your home.

Additionally, you may not need an agreement if a purpose-built column is erected to support the beam during construction. This would take the place of the shared wall.

Issuing a Party Wall Notice

Before a Party Wall Agreement is drawn up, you must first provide a Party Wall Notice to your neighbour. They have a legal right to protect their property and need to be aware if their home will be impacted. This must be a formal written notice seeking your neighbours' consent and access rights.

They can then accept and provide written permission, submit a counter notice or refuse. If the neighbour refuses or ignores the notice, then you will need an Agreement to settle the matter.

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What If My Neighbour Refuses?

Your neighbours have 14 days to respond to your Party Wall notice. If they ignore it, this is considered disputed. If they reject the notice and oppose the notice, you will likely need a RICS or RPSA surveyor to draw up a Party Wall Agreement.

It is worth having a friendly chat with neighbouring building owners to try to keep the matter civil. Once the Party Wall Agreement has been drawn up, your neighbour can only dispute it in County Court. They must submit their appeal within 14 days.

Party Wall Surveyor Fees

On average, Party Wall Surveyor costs are around £1,000. However, keep in mind the price will also be dependent on the work involved and a loft conversion is a big project.

Across the UK, the hourly rate is usually between £90 and £450 for a Party Wall surveyor. You will also need to pay for the party wall agreement. If your neighbour seeks to have their own surveyor, those costs will also need to be considered.

As the person wanting the work done, you will be liable for all costs. Your loft conversion won't benefit your neighbour and is likely to cause disruption. As a result, you will need to pay any costs they incur as a result of the work.

For more information on surveying fees see: How Much are Party Wall Surveyor Costs?

Hiring a Party Wall Surveyor for a Loft Conversion

If your neighbour has not agreed or responded to your notice, you will need to hire a surveyor. As we have stated above, you cannot act as your own surveyor in a Party Wall Dispute. This is the case even if you are a trained surveyor.

There are a few ways you can find a Party Wall surveyor for your loft conversion:

  • Recommendations from family and friends who used a surveyor for a loft conversion
  • Reading reviews for local surveys
  • Looking on the RICS website for surveyors who specialise in Party Wall matters
  • Checking the RPSA site
  • Comparing Party Wall Surveyors on a comparison site. At Compare My Move, we can connect you with up to 6 local RPSA or RICS surveyors.
Adele MacGregor

Having worked at Compare My Move for over five years, Adele specialises in covering a range of surveying topics.

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