Building Walls and Breaking Them Down: HartDixon’s Party Wall Services

News | May 14, 2024

3 min read

In the intricate landscape of property development and construction, compliance with statutory obligations plays a pivotal role in ensuring the successful delivery of construction projects. Among these obligations, the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 seeks to strike the delicate balance between the aspirations of the building owner – the individual commissioning the work and driving the development forward – and the concerns of the adjoining owner.

While the building owner wields control over the project’s direction, the adjoining owner often finds themselves with minimal influence, if any, over the proceedings.

Our Approach to Party Wall Matters

We collaborate with designers and engineers to anticipate the implications of the Act, ensuring that the necessary notices are served correctly. Timing plays a significant role in property development, and party wall scenarios are restricted to tight deadlines, something that our experienced team are more than versed on.

When entrusted with a project by the building owner, our surveyors adopt a proactive approach to party wall matters and undertake a series of crucial tasks. These include conducting initial checks to identify potential clashes or triggers with relevant legislation. We explore Land Registry documents to establish legal ownership, ensuring a clear understanding of property boundaries, and our responsibilities extend to drafting and serving notices. We effectively communicate rights and responsibilities to all involved parties, including the preparation of schedules of condition, laying the groundwork for smooth project progression.

Negotiating Party Wall Awards is another integral aspect of our role, facilitating consensus and compliance and we diligently review the fees charged by the adjoining owner’s appointed surveyor, ensuring fairness and transparency throughout the process.

Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3BP

At Lincoln’s Inn Fields, HartDixon assisted on a comprehensive refurbishment of the entire building, encompassing structural temporary works to facilitate necessary structural alterations.

During the design phase we identified that the proposed temporary works by the structural engineer would trigger requirements for serving notice on both adjacent property owners of the terraced property. This was due to the requirement for cutting into the party walls to install padstones for supporting structural beams, in accordance with the statutory two-month notice period (S2- Repair etc. of party wall: rights of owner).

As the Building Owners Party Wall surveyor, we collaborated closely with the Structural Engineers and Architect. Together we explored alternative designs for the temporary works that would avoid cutting into the party wall of one of the neighbouring properties. By doing so, we successfully mitigated the need for serving several notices and the associated awards, ensuring smoother progress of the project and cost savings to the client.

Bruton Street London W1J 6QH

Our recent Bruton Street project involved a full commercial refurbishment of a Grade II listed building with significant structural intervention. Throughout the process, we encountered several party wall issues that needed addressing.

Due to the extensive structural changes, including the removal of most dividing walls, temporary works were necessary. This included installing steels into the Party Wall of No. 26 to facilitate wall removal. Additionally, for the roof terrace construction, steels were projected into the party walls of No. 23 and 24 Bruton Street. These actions required adherence to statutory regulations, including a two-month notice period before notifiable works could commence.

In our role as Building Owners Party Wall Surveyor between 23, 24 & 26 Bruton Street, we navigated these challenges effectively. Through close communication with the Project Manager, client, and design team, we were able to gather the necessary structural and architectural details promptly. This enabled us to finalise the Award within a short timeframe, thereby mitigating any potential risks to the contract works and ensuring the project’s smooth progression.

Prioritising Proactive Party Wall Solutions: Expert Guidance from Planning to Completion

At HartDixon, we pride ourselves on assisting on projects from inception through to completion, but we’re also able to lend our expertise on neighbourly matters including Party Wall services. With a dedicated team of experts, we have successfully assisted numerous projects in London, ensuring compliance with the Act during alterations involving excavations, demolition, structural changes, and improvements.

We would encourage all parties involved with a significant development or construction to prioritise the exploration of any legal implications as early as possible to avoid delay, confusion and complication. It’s essential to seek professional guidance and expertise to ensure your rights and interests are protected.

At HartDixon, we are ready to assist with our comprehensive Party Wall services. From initial planning and design stages to finalising Party Wall Awards for either the Owner or Adjoining party, our dedicated team is here to provide tailored solutions to meet your specific needs.

Michael Brearley

Senior Associate Partner

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