Misconception; the notices have expired and must be re issued; the whole process must start again

Latest Newson February 10th, 2011No Comments
We are often approached by Adjoining Owners or their Surveyors and advised along the lines that:
“the Notices have expired and must be re issued, the whole process must start again”
This misconception apparently stems from Section 3.2(b) of the Act which states:
“A party structure notice shall……..
(b) cease to have effect if the work to which it relates
i) has not begun within the period of twelve months beginning with the day on which the notice is served;


ii) is not prosecuted with due diligence”

However the case of Leadbetter –v- Marleybone Corporation (2) 1905 gives clear authority to the fact that no time limit applies to a notice that has not been consented to.
In circumstance where dissent has arisen, notices are not consented to, Surveyor(s) are appointed and the matter must proceed in accordance with the Act and there is no useful purpose or legal requirement for re-serving Notices.

Recent court case for party wall building owners.

Articles, Latest Newson November 15th, 2010No Comments

A recent Court Case with interesting ramifications for Building Owners:
Geoffrey Kaye –v- Mathew Lawrence (2010) EWHC 2678 (TCC) 26 October 2010, Mr Justice Ramsey
Mathew Lawrence planned to carry out works to his home in Poole that involved excavation within 3 metres of the neighbours property at a depth that required Notice to be given in accordance with the Party Wall etc Act 1996.
Mr Kaye dissented and Surveyors were appointed in accordance with the requirements of section 10 of the Act.
Mr Kaye required Mr Lawrence to provide a bond or project specific insurance in respect of potential damage to his property during the execution of the (party wall) works to Mr Lawrence’s property.
The matter was referred to the Third Surveyor who apparently determined that such security could not be requested under Section 12(1) of the Act unless the Building Owner was intending to carry out works on the Adjoining Owners land or property.
(It is not necessarily surprising that the Third Surveyor took this view, because this position is advised as being the case in at least one highly regarded book on the subject of Party Wall Matters, however, in this respect the wording of the Act does not differentiate between work on the Adjoining Owners  or work on the Building Owners land)
We report this case because, Mr Justice Ramsey decided to differ from the Third Surveyors views and determined that the Act was quite clear.
The ramifications of this ruling could mean that if the Adjoining Owner demands a bond or insurance to cover the eventuality of damage occurring to his property, the building owner may well be obliged to cover the costs.
We will be eagerly viewing the legal notice boards over the coming months for further such cases and clarifications of this seemingly changed position.

What You Need to Know About Party Wall Matters

Articleson August 6th, 2010No Comments

What do you need to know about party wall matters?

That depends… how much of a glutton for punishment are you? If you intend to tackle a construction project that involves a party wall matter by yourself, then what you’ll definitely need to know plenty about the complicated world of party wall matters.

Free Information Booklet

You can start with a free copy of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s handy 22-page Explanatory Booklet that we can provide you with a link to.

Visit the party wall act explained to get your copy.

But even that, as the booklet will tell you, is “not an authoritative interpretation of the law.” You’ll have to keep researching all the myriad details of your particular situation. For most people, this does not strike them as fun at all. And if you’ll likely ever do but one or two projects involving a party wall matter, then the huge investment of your time required to master the various regulations is probably not worth it. In any case, you (as the Building Owner ) cannot act as a Surveyor.

You can serve the Notices but if the Adjoinming Owner dissents / disagrees then you will have to appoint a Surveyor in any case. But you can avoid much of the hassle by hiring a professional party wall surveyor at the outset and authorising them to act on your behalf throughout the entire process.

Whilst you can serve Notices, if they are not properly written and served then they could be invalid and all procedures that follow are null & void – you go back to square one.

Party Wall Matters

Anyone who carries out certain work involving a party wall, construction on a boundary or excavation for foundations close to an adjoining building anywhere in England and Wales is likely to need to consider the requirements of the Party Wall Etc Act of 1996.

One of the most important requirements of the Party Wall Etc Act 1996 is that you must give notice to all Adjoining Owners, even if your construction work does not extend beyond the centre line of the Party wall.

That is very important to note: even if you didn’t think you’re affected by the Act because all your construction appears to take place upon your property… you still possibly are. And once your neighbours are legally informed that you are carrying out work that could potentially affect their structure and property, they’re also going to feel much better about your project (and likely refrain from causing you potential delays) if they see that you have entrusted the Party Wall matters to a professional firm of Party wall surveyors.

The Party Wall Surveyor

London Party Wall Surveyors can assist you with your project from start to finish. We’ll perform the initial research to determine your specific job needs and give you a written estimate of costs.

Our professional surveyors can prepare notices, liaise with your Architect, Engineer etc., and obtain the information neccessary to assist in putting an agreement in place in a timely manner. We’ll keep you advised of the progress of the party wall matters, and our experience in dealing with the issues that arise will help . If any issues do arise, you can rest easy that London Party Wall Surveyors will quickly respond to them.

Party Wall dispute that ended up in Court

Latest Newson November 13th, 2009No Comments

I attach a summary of a recent court case relating to a Party Wall dispute that ended up in Court.

It’s interesting because the Adjoining Owner consented to the works, but once work had started, damage occurred to his property, and only at that point did he appoint a Surveyor.

Because the act had been implemented by service of a valid notice, and a dispute had arisen, the Court agreed that the Adjoining Owner’s decision to appoint a Surveyor at that time was acceptable.

Furthermore, the Building Owner went to ground. Did nothing. So, using powers under the Act, the Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor appointed a Surveyor for the Building Owner.

The two Surveyors agreed an Award that set out a reasonable cost of repairs and fees.

The Building Owner then took an interest and decided to appeal the Award as being improperly made, but the Court upheld the Award as being properly served, and directed the Building Owner to pay up.

Onigbanjo – v – Pearson     29th May 2009: Mayor’s & City of London Court

Building Owner served notice relating to works under sections 2 & 6 of the Act and the Adjoining Owner consented to the works.

The Adjoining Owner’s property was damaged by the works and the Building Owner refused to pay the cost of repairs.

The Adjoining Owner appointed a Surveyor under the Act. The Building Owner failed to appoint a Surveyor under the Act, therefore the Adjoining Owners Surveyor appointed a Surveyor to act for the Building Owner (using provisions of the Act).

Both Surveyors, so appointed, agreed, prepared and served an Award setting out the cost of repairs and fees incurred in repairing the damage to the Adjoining Owners property.

The Building Owner appealed the Award.

Despite the fact that the Adjoining Owner had consented to the works, the judge dismissed the Building Owner’s appeal, upheld the Award and directed that payment should be made by the Building Owner to the Adjoining Owner.

Party wall costs

Latest Newson November 6th, 2009No Comments

We are often asked to publish the cost of party wall awards, but because of the nature of the awards and the different complexities involved, we feel it would be misleading to publish a list of costs.

What does the Party Wall etc Act do?

Latest Newson November 6th, 2009No Comments

What does the Party Wall etc Act do?

A. The Party Wall etc Act of 1996 entered into force of law on July 1, 1997, throughout all of the UK. The Act was based on the London Building Acts which were found to be successful for many decades before they were extended to apply to all of England and Wales. The Party Wall etc Act is intended to foster development while still protecting the rights of adjacent property owners. The Party Wall etc Act created a framework for resolving party wall disputes in relation to certain aspects of construction, renovation, and excavation with the purpose of avoiding court action and often expensive and costly delays.