Drafting Party Wall Notices

Sunday, 2nd April 2023 | by: Justin Burns

The next decision once you’ve confirmed the requirement to serve party wall notices is whether to employ the services of a surveyor or do it yourself. I am of course a surveyor that offers the service but I will attempt to provide an impartial view.

There are various templates available online (including this one that I helped to design and which uses the Government recommended templates) so if you’re prepared to do the research there’s no reason why you should not draft your own notices. On the other hand, most surveyors will draft and serve notices for a modest fee (we charge £65 plus VAT) as it effectively nominates the sender as either your surveyor or the Agreed Surveyor should the adjoining owner dissent.

Whether you use a surveyor or serve the notices yourself, I would suggest nominating an Agreed Surveyor as this helps to avoid a scenario where your neighbour appoints a surveyor without discussing it with you (which they are entitled to do) and you’re left with a choice of either accepting that surveyor’s quote to act as the Agreed Surveyor (assuming that the adjoining owner agrees to such) or appointing your own surveyor (and paying the fees of two surveyors).

If you decide to draft your own notices it is essential that you get it right as an invalid notice means everything that follows it, including a consent or a party wall award, will also be invalid.

There is no set format for party wall notices but sections 1, 3 & 6 of the Act set out the information that must be included:

  • The addresses of the building and adjoining owners’ properties
  • The names of the owners (including any joint owners) and their correspondence addresses (which may be different to the property addresses)
  • The proposed start date of the works – this cannot be within the statutory notice period without the adjoining owner’s agreement. This is normally written in terms of the notice period e.g. we plan to start work after the notice period has run or on the earlier date of XX.XX.XX with your agreement’.
  • A description of the works – ideally this should be the part(s) of the work that is covered by the Act e.g. ‘cutting a chimney breast away from the party wall’
  • Where the works include excavation, you must also enclose a plan and section of the foundations and state whether or not it is proposed to underpin any shared or adjoining structures to safeguard them.
  • Whether foundations will project on to the adjoining owner’s land (only permitted if necessary) and whether or not it is proposed to place Special (reinforced) Foundations on the adjoining owner’s land (including below a party wall).

It’s probably easier to draft a separate notice for works covered by each section of the Act but there’s no reason why they cannot be combined as long as all the necessary information is included. As the section 1 & 6 notices have the same notice period (1 month) we tend to combine those and keep the section 2 notice separate (which has a 2 month notice period).

You should make it easy for the adjoining owner to respond by including an acknowledgment form setting out the options and we like to include a cover letter explaining procedures in layman’s terms.

If you live in the Cambridgeshire or north Essex area and require assistance with drafting party wall notices or would like us to undertake that task for you please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01799 543532 or via email.

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