Party Wall Agreement Pitfalls


As the demand for housing across the UK continues to increase, more and more people are opting to extend their homes rather than move to a larger property. This often involves building a wall on the boundary between their own property and that of a neighbour, known as a party wall. Before any construction work can begin, it is essential to obtain a party wall agreement, which outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties. However, there are several pitfalls to be aware of when it comes to party wall agreements.

The first common pitfall is failing to serve notice on your neighbours. The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 requires property owners to serve written notice to their neighbours at least two months before any construction work commences. This notice should include details of the planned work, the names of the builders, and the duration of the work. Failing to serve notice can result in delays and disputes, which can be costly and time-consuming to resolve.

Another pitfall is failing to appoint a party wall surveyor. When both parties cannot come to an agreement on the party wall agreement, each party should appoint a surveyor to resolve the dispute. If one party fails to appoint a surveyor, the other party may be forced to bear the costs of both surveyors, which can be substantial.

The third pitfall is failing to include all necessary details in the party wall agreement. The agreement should include details such as the type of work to be carried out, the rights of access, and the protocol for resolving any disputes that arise during the construction process. Failing to include important details can lead to disputes and delays.

The fourth pitfall is failing to obtain insurance for the construction work. While most building works will be covered by your home insurance policy, it is important to check that your policy covers any damage to your neighbour`s property. If your policy doesn`t cover this, you may need to take out additional insurance to cover any potential damages.

Finally, failing to comply with the party wall agreement can result in legal action. If you fail to comply with the terms of the party wall agreement, your neighbour may take legal action against you. This can be costly and time-consuming, and can even result in an injunction to stop the construction work.

In conclusion, party wall agreements are an essential part of any building work that involves a shared wall. To avoid common pitfalls and ensure a smooth construction process, it is important to serve notice on your neighbours, appoint a party wall surveyor, include all necessary details in the agreement, obtain adequate insurance, and comply with the terms of the agreement. By doing so, you can avoid costly disputes and ensure that your project is completed successfully.