We have issued notices to our neighbours in accordance with the Party Wall Act as we are piling our new self build. They are now requesting a survey on their houses – why wouldn’t they when I’m paying? From what I’ve read so far the notices “aren’t worth the paper they are written on” so what’s the point? Waste of money and delayed building – not a great start! Any advice welcome cheers Ted
The Party Wall Act is a useful but sometimes onerous piece of legislation.
Party Wall doesn’t just mean the wall between two adjoining or semi-detached properties.
If you are likely to be within 3 meters of a party wall or at 6m distance, you may still undermine your neighbours foundations, or be placing beams in the party wall, then Party Wall Act will apply, and under a Party Wall Agreement you may be obligated to carry out repairs work to a neighbour’s property should you cause any damage – negligent or not – to that neighbouring property.
If you are carrying out piling works and the Party Wall Act applies you need to be clear what your responsibilities are & what Insurance needs you may require…
If any damage is considered non-negligent, be aware that some Site Insurance policies exclude this completely making you purchase an additional insurance policy called JCT 21.2.1. (Now clause 6.5) instead.
Self-Build Zone includes your contractual liability under the Party Wall Act if you inform them. This can save you hundreds of pounds in additional premiums!
Lots of information is available on the Party Wall Act at the communities and local government website in a clear to read downloadable booklet.
Information for your insurance needs can be found at http://www.selfbuildzone.com/
Under the Party Wall Act, your neighbours do have the right to take “reasonable measures to protect their property from foreseeable damage” and if they are worried, no matter what your view of the risk is, you’ll be obliged to go with it. If you think it’s unreasonable, then you can engage a party wall specialist solicitor to challenge, but I suspect the surveyors’ fees will be less.
Mike Hardwick (Build It expert & Self Build Consultant)