Understanding the terms used within the Party Wall Act
A party wall (or floor) divides and separates buildings belonging to different owners. The wall might straddle the boundary line or be wholly within the boundary of one owner’s land but still functions as dividing wall between buildings.
Party Fence Wall
A wall that is not part of a building but is on land that belongs to several different owners eg a garden wall. Wooden fences are not considered a party fence wall.
Line of Junction
Similar to a boundary line that divides the lands of Adjoining Owners, the line of junction also extends upwards.
The owner who is proposing to carry out works falling within the scope of the Act.
The owner of an adjoining property that may be affected by the proposed works
Party Wall Surveyor
The person appointed by either or both owners. The Party Wall Surveyor will be impartial throughout the process and will resolve – to the satisfaction of all parties concerned – any disputes arising in connection to the works.
Building Owner Surveyor
The surveyor appointed by the Building Owner who is proposing the works.
Adjoining Owner Surveyor
The surveyor appointed by the owner of an adjoining property.
The surveyor appointed jointly by the Building Owner and Adjoining Owner.
The surveyor selected by the Building Owner Surveyor and Adjoining Owner Surveyor before works commence. The Third Surveyor will be involved only in the event that there is a matter that can’t be resolved by the Building Owner Surveyor.
Formal written notice by the Building Owner setting out the proposed works and served on the Adjoining Owner. The Building Owner must observe the minimum period of notice required.
Schedule of Condition
A formal written assessment and photographic record of the condition of the Adjoining Owner’s property before work commences. It’s important that this includes any existing defects or issues that could later be claimed as damage resulting from the works.
A legal document, prepared by the surveyor(s), that sets out:
- Details of all parties involved
- The applicable sections of the Party Wall Act
- How the works will be carried out
- The rights and requirements of the Building Owner, Adjoining Owner and appointed surveyor
- Specific clauses relating to the works