1. Allow Plenty of Time to Obtain a Party Wall AgreementBefore serving notice, talk to your neighbours about your plans so they understand what you intend to do. You serve notice to your neighbour by writing to them, including your contact details and outline description of the works to be carried out, access requirements, and the proposed date that the work will begin. It is best to instruct a surveyor to serve this notice. Otherwise, if the notice is invalid, then the whole procedure must start again. In an urban environment, your project might affect several adjoining neighbours, and you will have to serve notice to each of them. If a property is a leasehold, you will need to serve notice on both the tenant and the building’s owner. These persons are both referred to as “building owner”. You want to serve notice at least 1-2 months before the work begins, depending on the type of notice. Your neighbour has 14 days to respond to your notice. If they don’t agree, then it can take anything from a few weeks to a few months for the surveyors to finalize their Award. So it’s best to consider the Party Wall agreement early in the process, rather than just before the work is about to start. You can check out our complete list of services here.
2. A Party Wall Agreement is Separate From Planning Permission and Building RegulationsSome kinds of work carried out to a property may not be controlled by the Building Regulations but could be covered by the Party Wall Act. A Party Wall notice is different from planning permission and building regulations. You must serve notice separately. Building Control has no involvement in the Party Wall Act. If you do not need planning permission, you may still need to serve notice on your neighbours under the Party Wall Act if you meet the specified conditions. The notification of a project under the Act will not impact the planning permission decision process. It’s also important to note that reaching an agreement with your neighbour under the Act does not remove the possible need to obtain planning permission or build regulations approval. You can learn more about notifications and awards.
3. The Party Wall Agreement Only Lasts for 12 MonthsThere are two opinions on how long a Party Wall Award is valid for:
- The first opinion is that the Party Wall Award is valid for 12 months from the Party Wall Notice date: this would mean that the building owner has to commence the proposed works within 12 months of the date that they serve the Party Wall Notice upon the adjoining owner.
- The second opinion is that a Party Wall Award is valid for 12 months from its service date: this would mean that the building owner has to commence the proposed works within 12 months of the Party Wall Award date.