Party Wall Disputes
In order for a dispute to arise within a Party Wall matter it need not take much to determine that a dispute exists at all. In fact, if an adjoining owner does not consent within the statutory 14 days of receiving a notice of the proposed works, then it is sufficient under the Party Wall Act 1996 to say that a dispute has arisen.
Indeed, the adjoining Party need only remain silent for a dispute to have arisen. However, in practical and real terms, what this will provide for is that both Parties will appoint their own surveyors and seek to establish the agreement between the Parties and determine the terms and manner as to how the matter is to progress. In general this is most usually a straightforward process.
It follows that after the 14 days have elapsed from the service of Notice a follow up letter is sent indicating that within 10 days they are to appoint a Party Wall Surveyor or have one appointed on their behalf.
The Party Wall Act 1996 was enacted in order to codify and replace in effect the previous common law rights that was available to the Parties. There are important provisions as to what the Act covers:
- New building on or at the boundary of two properties (Section 1, Party Wall Act 1996)
- Works to an existing party wall or party wall structure (Section 2, Party Wall Act 1996)
- Excavations near to and below the foundations of the neighboring buildings (Section 6, Party Wall Act 1996)
In general the operation of a Party Wall Award is quite straightforward, but it is clear that problems do arise and the terms of the agreement or Party Wall Award are not followed, that is that there is a breach of those terms, that the Parties may seek redress.
Furthermore, what if a Party to the Award dissents from that Award or as to how it was drawn up? The Party in question will have a right to appeal this award but only in a strict timeline and within the strict procedures as provided for under statute. This is incredibly important as a matter of procedure and if a Party wishes to appeal such an award it is imperative to act fast. For more information on Appealing a Party Wall Award (see Party Wall Appeals).
At Silver Shemmings LLP we offer a specialised service in the resolution of disputes falling under the Party Wall Act 1996. This involves either mediation, facilitating agreement or seeking redress under the Award. Our team has provided for successful resolution to disputes and statutory appeals through our long running practice in Construction Law and our team includes qualified Civil and Structural Engineers, along with Property Lawyers specialising in boundary disputes. We hold the capability in house to represent at appeal hearings and have an established record in mediation.
Furthermore, where a problem arises, we understand and successfully act for Parties who have suffered damage as a matter of the construction activities or where there is a design or procedural issue. We have the capability of a specialised structural and geotechnical resource that can address the most complex engineering matters whereby damage is caused by an engineering failure or by a negligent act on behalf of the property to which the works were undertaken.