Oakfield Building Chartered Surveyors

Party Walls Watford

At Oakfield Chartered Surveyors, our team of professional building surveyors offer a range of services and knowledge to help with any property-related issues, including party wall disputes.

As a property owner or renter, it’s important to understand both your rights and the laws you must abide by when it comes to party walls and the party wall act 1996. Luckily, if you are considering renovating your home in Watford, we have composed the ultimate guide covering all you need to know about party walls, rightful constructions, how disputes are handled and how our team of property surveyors can advise you.

What is a party wall?

A party wall is typically defined as a wall that is shared by two properties. For example, a wall that separates terraced or semi-detached houses.

However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be an actual wall. The term party wall refers to a structure as well so it could be a floor/ceiling between flats.

It also refers to boundaries between properties and foundation work within 3m of a neighbouring property structure.

If you believe your property is subject to a party wall agreement, it’s important to understand the rules surrounding this to ensure no unauthorised construction takes place.

Party Wall Watford
Party Walls Hertfordshire

What is a Party Wall Agreement?

If you’re undertaking renovations in Watford and are worried that your construction plans may impact the party wall, you need to make sure you have a Party Wall surveyors Agreement in place. This is a legal agreement made between you and your neighbours regarding any building work that will impact a shared wall, boundary, outbuilding or property structure. The Party Wall Agreement should be served up to two months before any work begins depending on the type of work you are undertaking.

What is included in a Party Wall Agreement?

The following works will require a Party Wall Agreement:

  • Building new structures or walls on or at the boundary
  • Carrying out work to a party structure or wall
  • Knocking down and rebuilding a party wall
  • Changing a party wall e.g. making it taller, shorter or deeper
  • Removing chimney breasts from a party wall
  • Digging below the foundation level onto a neighbour’s property

While you can draft your own agreement, it’s often best to get guidance from expert surveyors, like our team at Oakfield Chartered Surveyors. We’re on hand to help you with your Party Wall Agreements in Watford and can advise on what it needs to cover. 

Party Walls Watford Hertfordshire

We are one of the leading Chartered Surveyors covering London, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire and regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Our team is dedicated to providing the highest quality building surveys.
Contact us to discuss your requirements further.

Do I need a Party Wall Agreement?

Do I need a Party Wall Agreement?

If you’re carrying out work on or near a party wall, then yes, you will need a party wall award. The only time you will not need a Party Wall Agreement is when you’re carrying out minor work to the party wall. This includes things like:

  • Drilling into the wall to install shelves or kitchen units
  • Having the wall plastered
  • Replacing sockets or electrical wiring  

What is The Party Wall Act?

The Party Wall Act (1996) is the legislation that protects the interest of neighbours who share a boundary. The act provides a clear framework for managing disputes that may arise when building work that is taking place on one property could impact the other.

Protecting both of the parties involved, The Party Wall Act ensures that neither party can make a decision about their shared wall or boundary without agreement from the other.

Tips for carrying out building work in Watford

If you are planning on undergoing building work in Watford that may impact your party wall, there are steps you can take to avoid a dispute with your neighbour. These are:

  • Assess how the work could affect your neighbour – make sure that you note any risks and complications that could arise in the planning phase so you can put plans in place to prevent them. 
  • Communicate with your neighbours – try and keep your neighbours updated about the work and be honest with them from the start. If they can see you’ve done all you can to minimise the disruption to them, they are more likely to agree to the Party Wall Agreement.
  • Give notice – you must give your neighbours at least two months’ notice when serving a Party Wall Agreement, but this doesn’t mean you can’t tell them about the work in advance of this. If they receive an agreement out of the blue, they might be more put out. 
  • Use a surveyor to make sure the agreement is suitable for both sides – sometimes a professional eye is what you need to make sure everything is being handled above the law and with respect.

How our surveyors can help

This is where our surveyors come in. At Oakfield Chartered Surveyors, we have a team of qualified professionals who can act as independent experts when you need a Party Wall Agreement drawn up. We’re also happy to help you if a dispute arises, so you can rest assured we’ll support you every step of the way.
What are the boundary rules
Party Wall Notice
Party wall Surveyors
Boundary Walls

Watford Party Walls

We are one of the leading Chartered Surveyors covering London, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire and regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Our team is dedicated to providing the highest quality building surveying.
Contact us to discuss your requirements further.

What happens during a party wall dispute?

If there is a party wall dispute, our surveyors can be appointed to help you come to an agreement with your neighbour that is legally binding and fair for both of you. This is known as a Party Wall Award. This lays out all the work that will be done, the timings and any compensation that will be paid should any damage occur. The difference between a Party Wall Agreement and an Award is that an Agreement is usually created when both parties are happy to consent to the building work. In cases where a neighbour won’t provide their consent, an Award is usually required. In addition, a Party Wall Agreement doesn’t usually require the involvement of a surveyor, whereas an Award typically does.

The adjoining owner wants to make an objection, what happens now?

As we’ve mentioned above, you must give your neighbours 2 months’ notice of your plans in writing. Your neighbour then has 14 days to confirm if they are happy to consent to the work being carried out. If they aren’t, they must either appoint their own surveyor or use an agreed surveyor. This is one surveyor acting independently for both parties.

Still struggling with party wall matters in Watford

If you’re still struggling with any matters relating to party walls in Watford, you can call our team at Oakfield Chartered Surveyors on 01923 939230. We will be more than happy to help with any questions you have.
Please fill out the form below and we will come back to you.

Alternatively please call us on 01494 926326.

One of our team of professionals would be delighted to help you with any queries.