The Party Wall etc Act 1996 calls upon owners to serve each other with a number of different notices to suit a range of situations when the have to inform each other of something covered by or concerned with the Act.
An informed summary of party wall notice procedures. One minor error in relation to the period for which a Section 1 notice remains valid and the last paragraph lacks clarity given that notices can be validly served other than by the means proscribed in Section 15 for deemed effective service but otherwise sound.
Morrisons solicitors, legal services for individuals and businesses. Offices across Surrey.
Heartwarming to see a solicitor recommending a course of action that avoids court action where notifiable works have been commenced without notice being served. What Matthew doesn't say is that appointed surveyors also have the jurisdiction to retrospectively approve such works.
in Bibizadeh v Dodosh [Para.93] HHJ Bailey says "It is to be noted, I repeat, that a party wall award can do something that no court can ever do, that is give authorisation for acts which would otherwise constitute a trespass or a nuisance".
In a number of cases I have advised on recently the party wall surveyors have declined to provide information from their file on that basis that some or all of it may be subject to privilege.
And now for something completely different ... practical advice on Legal Privilege and the disclosure of information by party wall surveyors. Useful for all those likely to be involved in litigation which is most of us given that party wall appeals are heard in the County Court.
R on the application of Farrs Lane Development Ltd v Bristol Magistrates Court [2016
The transcript of the judicial review of a case which, inter alia, introduces a major change in the recovery of unpaid surveyors fees. Our thanks to Nick Isaac of Tanfield Chambers for making the transcript available.
An application for an injunction in connection with party wall works which involved two surveyors purporting to be appointed for the same owner.
We are advised that this article contains significant factual errors. Accordingly, whilst informative as regards the rationale of the application for injunctive relief, it's accuracy should not be relied upon.
We are seeking views on proposals to increase housing supply in London by building upwards while protecting open spaces and the green belt.
Having stopped (for the moment) trying to introduce planning legislation to restrict basement developments, the Government are looking to encourage adding a storey or two to existing houses - in London at least. Good news for party wall surveyors if it comes to fruition.
Surveyor fails to Secure Valid appointment and Building Owners lose S.10 (17) Appeal
A somewhat inaccurate summary by one of the surveyors involved rather than the case transcript, resulting in a skewed/one-sided perspective. Even so, this gives a rare insight into judicial thought on a party wall surveyor's ability to declare himself incapable of acting under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (Section 10(5) and the importance of getting the postcode absolutely right when serving a document under the Act (Section 10(4) in this case).
A copy of the Court transcript has been made available to us and will be substituted for this blog link as soon as possible or you can e-mail us for a copy meanwhile.
A sorry tale of a problematic dispute over damage caused to an adjoining owner's property, multiple surveyors declaring themselves incapable of acting, and the court finding the subsequent appointment/selection of two surveyors to be invalid. Net result: a £15k award for damage in favour of the adjoining owner held to be null and void, his house remains damaged and he gets landed with a £10k bill for his own legal costs. A pyrrhic victory for the building owner who still has a liability under the Party Wall etc. Act for the damage he caused - a matter that remains to be settled by appointed surveyors, just not all the same ones.
Judgement has now been handed down (electronically) in this party wall appeal case, the first to consider the meaning of "special foundations" in the context of basement construction under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
Our thanks to Nicholas Isaac, counsel for the appellants, for publishing this important County Court judgement. In a nutshell, HHJ Edward Bailey determined that the vertical perimeter 'wall' of a reinforced concrete 'box' basement did not constitute a 'special' foundation for the purposes of s7(4) of the Party Wall etc. Act because the 'wall' element, linked though it was by steel reinforcement to an intervening ground bearing floor slab, was positioned, in turn, above a mass concrete foundation capable of transferring the 'wall' loads to the underlying soil.
The judge's decision relies heavily on his interpretation of the meaning of the phrase ' ... on which the wall rests' in the s20 definition of 'foundation in relation to a wall' and it will be interesting to see whether it stands the test of time.
In Assethold Limited v Watts  UKUT 0537 (LC) the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) held that costs incurred by a landlord in forcing an adjoining…
Very much circumstance specific so not of general application and a year old to boot but nonetheless a useful reminder of the importance of interpretation when it comes to party wall related issues.and the need to keep a weather eye open.
Since 1996, the Party Wall Act has governed how such works may be carried out, and provides a framework to enable work to be done as well as...
A succinct and easy to follow analysis of Bridgland v Earlsmead Estates Ltd.  EWHC. Interestingly, the judge found that the s7(1) duty not to cause unnecessary inconvenience does not provide a cause of action for breach of statutory duty but operates to restrict the right to carry out work where such rights are conferred by the Act.
Carter Lemon Camerons LLP acted for the appellant in a case which confirmed the need for new notice. Case transcript available at http://bit.ly/2dmEqUA
A judgement declaring invalid an award made by the building owner's surveyor and the third surveyor. Original notices did not cover works later proposed and a new notice should have been served but wasn't. The judge found, inter alia, that the adjoining owner had not waived it’s rights to a new notice.
The Court of Appeal has confirmed the issue of a mandatory injunction requiring a staircase to be altered due to the interference it causes with an adjoining property’s right to light.
Not a party wall case but the principle followed could be equally applicable where injunctive relief is sought. To wit, 'An injunction will be appropriate if a defendant has acted in an imperious way and tried to avoid censure. The courts’ granting of an injunction in such circumstances both ensures that justice is done for the claimant and serves as a warning to others'.
Eccentric Foundations are one of the most commonly used types of foundation designs in rear or side extensions and are commonly seen forming part of Party Wall Awards, Party Wall Notices and Party Wall Surveyor requests. Eccentric Foundations An eccentric foundation is a foundation whereby the wall sits on the outer edge of the foundation. The entirety of …
A useful reminder why the intention to place projecting foundations on a neighbour's property does not always meet the necessity criteria of s1(6) of the Party Wall etc. Act.
On 10 March 2016 the Department for Communities and Local Government approved the first amendment to the Party Wall etc. Act since it was enacted in 1996.
Party walls join the electronic age (just). The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016, which comes into effect on 6 April 2016, amends section 15 of the Act to allow the service of notices, awards and other documents required to be served, by e-mail. However, there is a significant limitation: The intended recipient of the document must first agree to receive it by e-mail. Helpful but not of universal application.
The Building Owner (Schmid) failed to comply with the agreed works, and created a dispute, which he ignored. The Adjoining Owner's surveyor used s10(4) and surveyors determined the issues by award. The Building Owner's appeal was unsuccessful in the first instance.
As some of you may be aware, I have been involved in a high profile party wall case, which reached its conclusion in the High Court (Administrative Court) on 9th February 2016 by way of Judicial Review proceedings.
Straight from the horse's mouth. An article by James McAllister, the surveyor involved in this case.
On 25 January 2016, the Evening Standard carried an article headed, "City boss in 'Wild West' mega-basement battle". This described the latest round in the long
A well written and easily understood, if seemingly mis-titled, account of Chaturanchanda v Fairholme by Counsel for Mr & Mrs Fairholme, Stephen Bickford-Smith, which case revolved around the use of reinforced concrete basement construction beneath a party wall.
Stephen concludes with with sound advice, viz. "It would seem prudent for any party challenging an award on similar grounds, or resisting such a challenge, to arm himself with expert evidence on the philosophy of the design and the viability, rationality and cost of the alternatives".
A very interesting day in court today, arguing a case which will undoubtedly have some significant implications going forward. I will publish the transcript as soon as I have a copy, but in brief: The High Court rejected my client's challenge to the Bristol Magistrates Court's order enforcing 10 awards .....
All change. The High Court decides that party wall surveyors can award that fees due to them from a building owner shall be paid direct to the surveyor rather than via the adjoining owner and that the surveyor may recover those fees directly from the building owner in the Magistrates Court. This turns current practice on it's head and negates the need for an adjoining owner and his surveyor to draw up a deed of assignment in respect of the fee debt, as presently recommended.
Party Wall etc. Act 1996 appeal and Part 7 claim arising from notifiable works. The case deals with: section 7(1); "unnecessary inconvenience"; the meaning of "surveyor"; severability of parts of invalid award; co-existing inconsistent awards
A private member’s bill entitled ‘Property Boundaries (Resolution of Disputes) Bill’ would force disputes over boundaries to follow an expert…
Interesting comments by the author on potential problems that he foresees with the Bill, particularly the Ministry of Justice not being in favour. We will see what the House of Lords have to say during the second reading debate in September.
The Technology & Construction Court has clarified the purpose of a counter-notice issued under section 4 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (the Act), and considered the scope of the statutory duty imposed by the Act. UK Real Estate and Construction Goodman Derrick LLP 24 Jul 2015
Another article on Bridgland v Earlsmead Estates Ltd., this time highlighting the s4 counter notice aspect.
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