Although there is no law against a property owner working on improvements on their property without a party wall agreement; often it can be used by neighbours that no notice was given by a property owner which may lead to a court injunction as according to the Party Wall Act of 1996. Prior to any commencement of work on property, whether it is a terraced or semi-detached property, it is advised that a party notice be given to neighbours two months in advance to the start of the project.
In the case that improvement projects like a loft conversion are to take place sooner than the advised two months, it is essential to have an agreement with neighbours to inform them of the upcoming project on your property. We at London Dream Lofts try and make the project of a loft conversion as convenient and cost efficient as possible by ensuring that clients are aware of a party wall notice and the implications that may arise should they not have one, with the most common of implications affecting the costs of the project.
It is important to note that all party wall notifications should be in done in writing and noted under provision of the Party Wall Act of 1996.
Here is a list of actions that may require one to give a party wall notice before a project of a loft conversion is to take place.
- Raising of height or increasing the thickness of a shared wall
- Removing a part of a wall or removing it completely to rebuild the party wall.
- If the project plans involve cutting into the shared wall to remove any bearing of a beam or perhaps inserting a damp wall course into the wall
- Whenever a party wall would need to be underpinned
- A notice should be served even when their is a vacant property next to your property. The notice will be served on a visible part of the building under construction although you may not need to inform local authority.
In the event that an agreement is not met between yourself and your neighbour, there may be a need to hire an “Agreed Surveyor”. This task is carried out by two surveyors who represent either party (you and your neighbour) and are arbitrated by a third party. It is important for arbitration that the surveyors are external parties not affiliated with the loft conversion project that will take place.
From this, an award will be created on which it stipulates:
- The work that is to be carried out, i.e a stunning loft conversion
- When the project will be conducted and how it will be executed. This relates to the times the project will be taking place and on which days of the week it will be happening.
- Additional measurements that are to be taken, considering they protect the property of the neighbour
- The state of the neighbour’s property if necessary for any future court claims (in the case of damage to property)
- Having access to the chosen surveyor through the construction of the project to make sure everything goes accordingly.