PDBC Guide, What Is A Party Wall?

PDBC are expert Party Wall surveyors and in the course of our work we get asked many questions about Party Walls.

In order to address these we have produced a handy guide. Please feel free to download it by clicking on the image below.

PDBC Guide What Is A Party Wall

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New Northern Office for PDBC

In order to give a better service to or clients in the North of England we have opened a new office in Nelson, Lancashire.

Please see the contact page for details

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Why Get A Home Buyer’s Survey On A New Build Property?

One of the biggest mistakes I see is people buying a new build property with only the building societies “valuation ” survey in place. The argument runs “well it’s a brand new property what can possibly be wrong”.

The unfortunate answer is “A lot!”

There have always been excellent builders who do a great job, and others who would be happier on a horse wearing a stetson! But do you know which is which?

Also in these difficult times all builders are looking to save cost and sometimes this can lead to jobs being rushed or not done correctly.

The type of issues which I have found include;

  • The property being built to the wrong size.
  • The boundaries of the property being incorrect.
  • Technical problems with the construction.

The advantages of getting a home buyers survey done on a new property are;

  1. Peace of mind. You have a full report detailing the condition and construction of your property written by an independent, qualified, expert.
  2. Cost saving. Problems are found and corrected at the builder’s expense before you buy the property.
  3. Protection. You are covered by my professional indemnity insurance. So if any problems are not detected at the time of the survey which lead to repairs being required then you can sue me for the costs.
So if you are buying a new home please contact me to discuss your requirements and don’t fall foul of the men in stetsons.
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How Does the Party Wall Act Affect my Building Work?

As a building owner, do you intend to:

  • Work on an existing wall, ceiling or floor structure shared with another property
  • Build on or at the boundary with another property?
  • Excavate near a neighbouring building or structure?

If you are planning any of these works, you must find out whether the work falls within the scope of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.  The Act was introduced by the Government in 1997, covering the whole of England and Wales to regulate building works to adjoining properties.  It is intended to enable work to proceed while protecting adjoining owners and occupiers who may be affected by the work.  Under the Act, the building owner who wishes to conduct such work must provide notification in sufficient time and in writing to adjoining owners of the proposed work.  Adjoining owners can be owners or occupiers of adjacent residential, commercial and industrial land or buildings.

If you share a party wall, party structure or a party fence wall with another, you may be governed by the provisions of the Act.  Party walls are walls used by more than one owner, such as the dividing wall between two houses.  Floors between flats are party structures.  Boundary walls can be party fence walls.  Loft conversions, extensions, structural work on a party wall such as removing a chimney breast, excavation close to another building or structure to a depth that exceeds that of the neighbour’s foundations, or alteration to a masonry party garden wall are examples of work governed by the Act.

Resolving disputes
In case of a dispute between owners, the Act provides procedures for appointing party wall surveyors who can resolve issues by way of an award, specifying the format for carrying out the work.  An award allows the building owner the right to conduct work under the Act, while ensuring the work is done in a manner that protects the adjoining owners’ interests.

What you should do?
Before commencing any building work, check to see if the Party Wall Act applies.  Failure to comply with the Act could result in the works being unlawful

If you have any questions, contact P D Building Consultancy.  As Members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors (FPWS), they have been trained to advise on party wall matters and are bound by the Faculty’s Code of Conduct.

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