A party wall is that which is shared by two neighbours – it comprises a part of two properties without which there would be only one. Party walls are very important to all building projects, as should any work be undertaken it is the legal obligation of whoever is performing the work to gain written consent from their neighbour.
In many instances there’s no issue with the party wall between the parties yet it remains a legal obligation to secure the document. Under the ruling of the Party Wall Act 1996 consent but be approved by the completion of the Part Wall Confirmation document along with an acknowledgment form. It may sound petty for neighbours to try and scupper domestic improvements, and it doesn’t happen especially often. Yet there are a number of potential scenarios where the party wall can cause a major headache, so it’s better to be in the know.
Firstly – what if you simply cannot get in touch with the neighbours? This is more common than one would think, especially when factors such as rented properties are drawn into the mix. People may move abroad, maintaining properties as assets without ever dropping by at all. In this scenario the only recourse is to take up the services of a Party Wall Surveyor to assess the situation independently.
Loft Conversion Rejected
It’s possible that the other party will reject the proposal – potentially jeopardising the prospect of building a loft conversion. Assuming that the Party Walls Surveyor has not been able to bring around a balanced compromise agreement, it might get a little messy. A neighbour may hire their own surveyor and use them to counteract any proposed works.
Should the employment of two surveyors still not bring around an amicable conclusion, then it comes down to a third surveyor – hired independently of any existing prejudice in the case – to make a final decision on the matter.
The cost can be quite steep – and be aware that the applicant will need to meet the surveyor cost in almost all cases.