Party Wall Awards
A party wall award is the document produced by the two appointed surveyors or the single agreed surveyor. Party wall awards are important when you want to carry out any building work near or on a shared property boundary. They are designed to resolve disputes both before and after they occur and are the gold standard when drawn up by a Chartered Building Surveyor such as Metcalfe Briggs.
What does a Party Wall Award include?
Schedule of condition
The schedule of condition for any parts of the property owned by the adjoining owner which may become affected during the works or as a result of the works. The surveyor appointed by the adjoining owner will revisit after the works to check the schedule of condition and assess any damage liabilities for the building owner.
The party wall award can include the agreed working hours of the works, along with the usage of any noise or vibration mitigating equipment (e.g. barriers).
The building owner may require access to the property belonging to the adjoining owner.
Is the Surveyor's award final?
The Award is final unless an appeal is brought to the county court against it within 14 days. An appeal can only be brought if the building owner or adjoining owner believe that the surveyor is fundamentally wrong.
Appealing against a party wall award
You may wish to take legal advice in such a situation.
Party Wall Award vs Party Wall Agreement - what's the difference?
- Agreements still require you to serve notice but the parties involved create the formal written agreement themselves, without appointing a surveyor.
- Agreements are only really practical when the party wall work is simple, and a less formal agreement between the building owner and neighbour(s) is required.
- It is advisable to still get the help of a surveyor who is familiar with the Party Wall Act 1996, to draft an agreement, as it will still be legally binding. So you want to get it right.
- Agreements are not likely to be much cheaper than an award, if you do desire the assistance of a Surveyor (which we would of course, recommend).
- There are generic downloadable party wall agreements around the web for the DIYer but using such a one-size-fits-all solution can cause more issues than it resolves!
- A party wall agreement doesn't usually include a final inspection (to clarify whether any damage has been caused by the works) by a surveyor although this can be added on.
- A party wall agreement provides the same rights and protections that a party wall award does.
- If a dispute arises after a party wall agreement has been made, a surveyor should be appointed, and a party wall award will likely be drawn up by the appointed surveyor(s) in order to resolve the matter.
- A party wall award is a legally binding document drawn up by the agreed surveyor(s) which includes drawings, a condition survey, method statements from the builder (if possible), and it sets out the specific obligations and rights for the parties involved under the act.
- A party wall award is the more reliable option to safeguard your property from the work of your neighbour, while providing as little interference to their work as practicable.
- A surveyor is appointed to represent each, or both parties.
- A party wall award is designed in order to resolve disputes. It is also used to give rights, obligations, precautions and provisions to the parties involved.