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You’re doing some work around your house and yard huh? What kind of work? Some fence work? Well, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish you might find yourself in a need of a party wall surveyor. However, you’re not sure if you need one or not.
Worry not, that’s why we’re here. We’re going to discuss:
● What a party wall is
● Why one needs a surveyor
● When’s the right time to get a surveyor
Without wasting any more time, let’s dive right in...
A party wall separates people’s yards from their neighbors between terraced homes and semi-detached houses. The wall is there to serve as a boundary line between two neighbors and to separate their properties.
It can also refer to garden walls that have been built in spots where the boundary line should be. If you want to keep everything in accordance with the law - The Party Wall Act of 1996 - you might erect a fence to separate the two properties.
When looking to do work governed by the aforementioned Party Wall Act, you’ll need to serve notice on your neighbors some 60 days before the work begins, if there’s a party structure involved. There’s are situations where you can serve the neighbors only 30 days in advance.
Will you need a party wall surveyor every time you embark on a project like this? Not necessarily. The answer to that question depends on the complexity of your situation and the willingness of your neighbor to cooperate.
Here are a few steps needed to get a party wall consent:
1. Sending Your Neighbor a Serve Notice
The first step here is to give your neighbor a notice that you’re about to do some work. You can send a letter in a form of a standard form document. Also, you should enclose a reply letter and a free envelope for the neighbor to sign and return. Talking to your neighbor ahead of this would be a good idea.
2. Getting a Reply From Your Neighbor
After you serve your neighbor, they have two weeks to replay. There are two possible outcomes in this situation. The neighbor can give their permission that the work can start. Or they won’t give you permission. If the latter happens, you definitely need a party wall surveyor to assess and amend the situation.
3. Finding the Right Party Wall Surveyor
Some people insist on bringing their own surveyors. That means, you might end up getting one surveyor and you're bringing another one. This will be an expensive scenario for you because you’ll be liable to pay the fee for both of them.
Keep in mind, you need a served notice both on freeholders and leaseholders. If your neighbors have been leasing a home for more than a year, you still need to send them a notice. Failing to do such would go against the aforementioned Act.
A party surveyor is needed when you have to serve a notice on your first-door neighbor about the plans to carry out a project regarding a party wall. Moreover, if you plan to excavate near an already-erected party wall, you also need to serve the neighbor the party notice.
What does “close to a party wall” even mean? Depending on the depth of the foundation, if you plan to excavate within 10 to 20 feet near the wall, you need to send a notice. You’ll also need to send a notice if you’re planning to do the following work near the wall:
● Inserting damp-proof courses
● Possible loft extensions or conversions
● Digging around the wall foundation for extensions
● Getting the internal wall that has 3rd-party support demolished
How much will serving your neighbor cost you? In most cases, party wall surveyors aren’t cheap. They usually charge between $1,000 and $1,500. However, there are some cheaper alternatives, which we’ll discuss in the closing paragraphs.
If you have any party wall issues, you need to talk to a professional. An architect has a ton of experience regarding issues such as these. Some architects may even be able to act as party wall surveyors. That’s why you need to find a local architect and talk to them,
You should try to find a single surveyor too. Talk to your neighbor as well, and try to find an “agreed surveyor.” Ask them if there’s a surveyor they would like to use. If they know someone, your job will be a lot easier. Approach the situation with an open mind and you’ll solve it easily.