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A party wall is a shared wall between two or more adjoining homeowners. If you are planning an extension or any work on your home that involves a party wall or boundary, you will need to follow the Party Wall Act etc 1996. This applies to England and Wales.
A party wall can either be:
Type A: A new or existing wall which sits across two or more homeowner's land (on the boundary)
Type B: A new or existing wall which is wholly on one homeowner's land, but is used by a neighbour to separate their property from yours
1. A new wall up to the boundary, technically referred to as a 1(5) wall. The boundary is the line between your property and your neighbour’s property. A new wall which is built 50/50 on the boundary is known as a 1(2) wall. This type of wall will require adjoining neighbours' consent.
2. Any repair or improvement to a shared wall where required. Those living in terraced or semi-detached homes are most likely to be affected by this. Examples include underpinning a wall, repairing or demolishing and rebuilding a party wall.
3. Excavation work that is within 3 meters of a neighbouring property and deeper than their existing foundation. Keep in mind that to satisfy current Building Control requirements, proposed foundations must be a minimum of 1 metre deep.
1. Let the neighbours know. You will need to send a "Party Wall notice" - or you can hire a surveyor to do it for you. This must be in writing and lay out plans for the work
2. Neighbours must respond in writing within 14 days. They can either consent to the works, suggest amendments or refuse the work. This is known as dissent.
3. A surveyor will review neighbouring property before work begins. This allows them to determine if the damage is caused during the work. It includes a written and photographic record.
4. The surveyor(s) will draw up a Party Wall Award. This sets out the proposed work, how it will be carried out, when it starts, access requirements and who is responsible for the fees.
5. Work can begin. This must be completed in line with what has been agreed in the Award. Work cannot begin until the Award has been drawn up.
6. A surveyor will need to inspect the completed works. This is to ensure the work has been carried out in line with the Award and no damage has been caused to neighbouring property.
The UK average hourly rate for a party wall surveyor is between £90 to £450 an hour. For the average party wall project, a Party Wall Award drawn up by a surveyor will cost £1,000.
Be aware that there are no set charges for a party wall surveyor. Fees will vary across the country and will depend on the amount of work involved. Surveyors’ fees are ultimately a matter for individual surveyors to decide.
By using Compare My Move, you can compare quotes from up to 6 local party wall surveyors to find the best price for you.
It is the owner who proposed the work that pays all costs associated with the award. This includes the adjoining owners' surveying fees.
If the building works are to repair or overhaul a damaged shared wall, the adjoining owner may be liable for costs. In this case, the costs are split based on each owner's use of the wall and their responsibility for the defect. If they cannot come to an agreement, the surveyor will outline who is responsible for paying for both the work and the surveyor fees in the award.
Our surveying guide provides expert advice on what to know before hiring a Party Wall surveyor.
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