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.
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