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Glossary of Party Wall Terms

Friday, 16th March 2012 | by: Peter Barry

Some of the terminology around The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is confusing to the layperson so we thought it would be a good idea to draw them all together in this glossary. If there is anything that you think is missing drop us a line and we’ll update.

The ‘Act’ The Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
Owner

 

Defined by the Act as anyone having an interest in a property of greater than 1 year i.e. not an Assured Shorthold tenant
Building Owner

 

An Owner proposing to carry out works that fall within the scope of the Act.
Adjoining  Owner An Owner of any neighbouring property to whom the proposed works are notifiable.
Occupier A person that resides at an Adjoining Owner’s property; other than the Adjoining Owner themselves. Occupiers do not have to be notified but do have other rights under the Act.
Notifiable Works Any works proposed by a Building Owner that fall under sections 1, 2 or 6 of the Act.
Party Wall Notice A formal document that is served on an Adjoining Owner by a Building Owner, providing details of the proposed work and when it is expected to commence. An Adjoining Owner can either consent or dissent to a notice.
Consent To agree to the proposed works.
Dissent

 

The opposite of consent – if an Adjoining Owner dissents they create a dispute under the Act.
Dispute The term used in the Act when an Adjoining Owner does not consent to the works upon receipt of a notice. The Owners are deemed to be in dispute if consent is not given with 14 days of the notice being served.
Award Owners that are ‘in dispute’ must appoint surveyors (or agree to appoint a single surveyor). The surveyors resolve the dispute by agreeing the terms of an Award and serving it on the Owners.
Party Wall Agreement See ‘Award’
Counter Notice Upon being served a notice by the Building Owner, an Adjoining Owner can serve a counter notice, requesting him to carry out specific works.
Line of Junction An imaginary line dividing the lands of adjoining owners. Unlike a boundary line the Line of Junction also extends upwards.
Section 1 of the Act Covers construction of new walls on the line of junction between two Owners. Building astride the line of junction is only possible with the Adjoining Owner’s written consent. Notice should be served one month before the proposed start date of any section 1 works.
Party Structure A wall, floor or partition separating adjoining properties.
Section 2 of the Act Covers works to an existing Party Structure. There are a wide scope of works that fall under this category, including raising, repairing, demolishing and rebuilding, cutting into, cutting away projections and exposing a party wall. Notice should be served two months before the proposed start date of any section 2 works.
Adjacent Excavation Digging close to an Adjoining Owner’s property – covered by Section 6 of the Act. Notice served under Section 6 of the Act is often referred to as a ‘Notice of Adjacent Excavation’.
Section 6 of the Act

 

Covers adjacent excavations within 3 and/or 6 metres of an Adjoining Owner’s property. If excavations are within 3 metres of an Adjoining Owner’s building and deeper than the base of their foundations, they will be notifiable under this section. The 6 metre rule will normally only be applicable if the work includes piled foundations. Notice should be served one month before the proposed start date of any section 6 works.
3 Metre & 6 Metre Notices Alternative names for a Notice of Adjacent Excavation depending upon the relevant distant.
Party Wall There are two types recognised under the Act:

Type (a) – a wall that stands astride the boundary belonging to two or more different owners.

Type (b) – a wall that stands wholly on one owner’s land but is used by two or more owners to separate their buildings.

Party Wall Surveyor A surveyor appointed by either, or both, of the Owners. Anyone can be appointed as a Party Wall Surveyor except the Owners although an understanding of construction and procedures under the Act is desirable. Surveyors appointed under the Act have an obligation to act impartially.
Building Owner’s Surveyor A surveyor appointed by the Building Owner
Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor A surveyor appointed by the Adjoining Owner
Third Surveyor Is selected at the outset by the two appointed surveyors but is only called upon where there is a matter that they themselves cannot resolve.
Agreed Surveyor A surveyor appointed by both the Building Owner and Adjoining Owner.
Rights of Entry Where work is authorised by the Act and access to the Adjoining Owner’s property is necessary to execute said work that right is provided by Section 8 of the Act.
Security for Expenses Section 12 of the Act gives an Adjoining Owner the right to request Security for Expenses i.e. ask that funds are placed in an independent account by the Building Owner in case the works are started but not finished. If the Building Owner refuses such a request the matter passes to the appointed surveyors to resolve.