A party wall agreement is, as it says on the tin, a legal agreement made between you and your neighbours regarding any building work occuring that affects either a shared wall, outbuilding, or boundary.
When do you need a party wall agreement?
Two months and before any work commences you need to serve notice to all legal owners of any building affected by your proposed build. If you have an architect, they’ll be able to notify you when/if this needs to happen. Under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, neighbours have 14 days to respond.
If they give written consent during this time, you wouldn’t need a party wall surveyor and works can go on ahead. However, if they fail to reply or dissent, then you’ll need to commission a party wall agreement.
Surveyors and other companies will generally charge between £65-£100 to arrange a notice to be served on your behalf. Alternatively, you can draft your own using examples set out in the Party Wall booklet. If you're using Resi, we'll help advise on the best course of action. Or for more advice, check out our blog on how to serve a party wall notice.
What does a party wall agreement cover?
The agreement, or ‘award’ as it is also know, will cover three areas:
- How the proposed works will be carried out by the building party.
- A “schedule of condition”; basically a record of the adjoining properties condition prior to works starting, so in the event of a dispute over areas affected by the construction, this document, complete with photographs, provides clear evidence.
- What the project intends to create, supported by architectural drawings.
Most documents will use a template set out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The agreement will contain full details on both households concerned, as well as the surveyors involved. You may notice a third surveyor listed on the agreement, this isn’t a mistake. If a party wall agreement involves two surveyors, a third one is brought on board to manage any disputes, if they arise. More than likely, you’ll never have to engage with this silent surveyor.