A Party Wall Agreement (technically called an “award“) is the document produced by the two party wall surveyors (or the “agreed surveyor”) which resolves the dispute that was triggered when the party wall notice was not consented to.
It will usually consist of three parts:
- The award itself i.e. a set of requirements governing how the proposed works should progress
- A “schedule of condition” of the adjoining property, often supported by a set of photographs
- Drawing(s) showing details of the proposed works
The award will normally be based upon a draft document, the most popular of which is produced by the RICS, which is then amended according to the details of the specific work. It should clearly state details of the two properties, their owners and their owners’ addresses. It should also contain full details of the two surveyors (or agreed surveyor) and the “Third Surveyor” (if an “agreed surveyor” is used there will be no Third Surveyor).
Other items covered include:
- Brief details of the proposed works
- Working hours; normally 8.00am to 6.00pm weekdays and 8.00am to 1.00pm on Saturdays for residential work
- Indemnities by the building owner in favour of the adjoining owner
- Details of any right of access for the building owner
- A time limit for commencement of the works, usually 12 months
- The adjoining owner’s surveyor’s fee
Once the award has been agreed between the two surveyors it is “served”. In practical terms this means that a signed and witnessed copy is sent to the two owners by their appointed surveyors. Although there is a 14 day right of appeal if either owner believes the award to have been improperly drawn up the Act does not require the building owner to wait until this has run before commencing work (although they proceed at risk of an appeal).
If you are located within the London M25 area you can contact the authors of this article, the party walls team at Peter Barry Chartered Surveyors, on 020 7183 2578 or by email and receive up to 20 mins free advice on the subject of Party Wall Agreements and other party wall related matters.