Danger/Risk/Hazard of Private Party Wall Agreements

Danger/Risk/Hazard of Private Party Wall Agreements

Thursday 25th July 2019

Private Party Wall Agreements
We at Tayross Associates often come across cases where the BO's (Building Owners) have privately agreed works without serving notices on their neighbours.

We find that this can be a very risky and dangerous way of trying to get statutory permission from your neighbour to carry out statutory notifiable works, without following the statutory procedures set out in the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.

This sort of private agreement does not circumvent the need to serve properly worded notices that comply with the act.

We have recently come across a case in west London where this is exactly what happened. The Building Owner got the Adjoining Owners to sign a letter explaining what they intend to do in terms of an attic conversion.

Things did not proceed well on site when the Adjoining Owners complained of builders standing on their roof.

She subsequently went to the County Court and got a stay order put on the works until Party Wall surveyors were appointed.

Currently, the works have been stopped since pre-Christmas with the roof left half open and the family beneath vulnerable to the elements.

The Adjoining Owner will not now agree to a retrospective award which leaves the situation outside of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 where it could have been resolved between surveyors and limited the cost disruption and expense to the Building Owner.

It does not cost as much as one would think to follow the proper procedure as laid down in the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.

We at Tayross associates offer a competitive fixed fee which is based on the number of Adjoining Owners we have to notify and we employ an economy of scale in terms of the Number of Adjoining Owners affected by the proposed works.

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is there to enable and facilitate works without unnecessary confrontation with your neighbours and therefore it should be embraced rather than ignored. The latter normally being at the building owners expense.

This article was written by Carl O'Boyle BSc MRICS FCIOB MFPWS. Carl is a full professional member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a member of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building for which he currently sits on the CIOB professional conduct committee and adjudications panel.

If you need a Party Wall Award in London or the surrounding areas then please call us at our office on 0208 426 1448.