Adjoining Owner
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If you receive a Notice under the Party Wall etc Act 1996, then you are known as an Adjoining Owner.


The Notice should tell you important things about building works that may affect you. Read it carefully and find out what is proposed and see if sufficient information has been provided for you to understand the proposal. There are three main sections of the Act:


Party Wall etc Act 1996 -
Adjoining Owner

Images from THE PARTY WALL etc. ACT 1996: EXPLANATORY BOOKLET

If you are not content with the proposal then the Act specifies how a 'dispute' should be managed by the appointment of either an Agreed Surveyor (if you can both agree on one) or each appointing their own Surveyor (a Building Owner's Surveyor and an Adjoining Owner's Surveyor) the Surveyors should fulfill their appointments impartially - they record their agreements in an "Award".


If you are unsure or not content with the proposal then, without obligation, PBSC will discuss your concerns with you. If appropriate we can then complete a response on your behalf and be appointed as your Party Wall Surveyor.


If there is sufficient information and what is being proposed is so remote and inconsequential to you then you can 'consent', and the Building Owner can continue with the work as there is no 'dispute'. Even if you consent the Building Owner will still have the responsibility of not causing unreasonable disturbance or damage.


Remember the Act is intended to enable the proposals to be reasonably undertaken, there is nothing in the Act intended to stop legitimate work taking place. For example, if you had earlier objections, perhaps to a Planning Application, then this is not a second chance to stall the Building Owner's proposal. The cost of preparing the Award can be apportioned by the Surveyor(s) in a manner that reflects the benefit of the work to the respective owners. So if the work is solely for the benefit of the Building Owner (proposing the work) and you, as an Adjoining Owner, have been reasonable then it is generally accepted that the cost will be Awarded to be paid by the Building Owner.

Sometimes you may be targeted by marketing letters by large surveying firms. As Party Wall Surveyors are not legally required to be Chartered Surveyors then some may be unregulated and not uphold professional standards. We recommend that you use a Chartered Surveyor and if possible appoint locally. The cost of an Adjoining Owner's Surveyor must be "reasonable", this might mean if there is an equally appropriate Surveyor nearer then that travel time might not get Awarded for the Building Owner to pay (which means you, as the Adjoining Owner, may have this cost to pay) .

* These are simplified examples of what might be contained in Notices and are only examples of a wide range of possibilities.*

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