All construction work done by a property owner which has a direct impact to the adjacent property is covered by the statutes enclosed in the Party Wall Act of 1996. It is not uncommon for property owners to share a border, and the Act was constituted to enable building work while at the same time addressing possible disputes that may ensure as a result of such work. The Party Wall Act of 1996 outlines specific examples of construction work such as:
- Construction of a new party wall, or building any partition on the property border is next to the adjoining property owner’s side of the party wall.
- Any work done on the existing party wall such as increasing or reducing the height.
- Construction work done within three to six meters of the party wall next to the adjoining property, or of the work involves excavation.
- Building a special kind of property foundation on the land.
These are only a few of the typical examples of work covered by the Act which will require the mediation of a Party wall surveyor Manchester firm.
Why is the Party Wall Act of 1996 necessary?
The Act is essential because any construction work may result in damage to the adjoining property’s wall and may compromise the party’s enjoyment and use of the structure. As such, the Act protects the rights of the adjacent property owner as well as outlines the process of resolving disputes while at the same time, allowing the property owner to proceed with the construction work in the most efficient manner possible. The Act aims to help a surveyor achieve an Award which is legally binding for both parties.
What is a party wall as defined in the Act?
The Act defines a party wall as:
- A wall standing on the property owner’s land, but the adjoining property owner owns a building enclosed by the wall such as a garage.
- A wall built directly on the border of a structure and the land belonging to another owner. A party wall can also be part of two buildings such as in the case of row houses and semi-detached buildings.
- A party wall or fence can even stand in the border of a property, but there is no building attached. One specific example is a garden wall.
A party structure also refers to any party fence wall or party wall, including horizontal structures such as ceilings or walls that join two flats.
What is the extent of the Party Wall Act of 1996?
The effects and scope of the Act cover property owners who share boundaries. To define further what it means, the building and adjoining property owners are described as follows:
- A building owner is anyone with significant legal interest on the land who plans to exercise rights outlined in the Act.
- An adjoining owner is someone who occupies a property and has a legitimate interest that is more than a yearly tenant.
According to the Act, there can be multiple adjoining owners and building owners who may be involved in a party wall dispute.