If you have started building an extension on your property and have since received a letter from a Party Wall Surveyor instructing you to stop – it can be a frightening wake up call. This is what happened in the case illustrated by the following photographs. Works have now stopped.
Philip Antino is an experienced Party Wall Surveyor that understands that sometimes home owners lack knowledge about their statutory obligations to inform their adjoining neighbours about their building works.
The fact is, there are rules that govern and protect property owners from having buildings built on their land or too close to their boundary line. The bottom line is that if you are creating any of the below structures, it is probable that you would need the services of a Party Wall Surveyor like Philip.
- Kitchen extension
- Side extension
- Double storey extension
- Loft conversion
- New roof
- Garden walls
The main purpose of hiring a Party Wall Surveyor is to protect everybody’s properties. What you do not want is for works to go ahead that are clearly too close to your home that could cause internal, external or foundation damage.
The role of a Party Wall Surveyor will assess the proximity of the desired works in relation to the boundary line and ensure that any damage or movement that could occur, is documented. If it is found that the building works are too close, works would need to stop.
Under the Party Wall etc, Act 1996, the following actions are prohibited:
• Excavating below or near to the foundation level of an adjoining neighbour’s property
• Building on an existing boundary line
• Building on a wall, on or across the party wall line of two properties
• Doing building work to an existing boundary line or party structure
The fact that you have received notice from your neighbour may mean one or more of the following things:
• That they feel that your works are trespassing on their land
• That you have failed to serve a Party Wall Notice
• That you have caused damage to their property
• That you have disrupted the enjoyment of their land
As a result, they will have been in touch with a Party Wall Surveyor (like Philip Antino) who has assessed the situation and seen that there has been a breach or breaches of the Party Wall Act. A Party Wall Injunction, will have been served on you.
This is a court order to stop a building owner from continuing their works. Until both parties have reached an agreement under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, building works will cease. Serving a Party Wall Injunction is not a trivial matter and may end up costing you a lot of money.
So, if you are reading this blog, and know that the works taking place on your home is occurring without having appointed a Party Wall Surveyor – instruct your builders to stop right now! Give Philip Antino a call on 01245 490 019 today.
Philip Antino is an experienced Party Wall Surveyor with over 20 years experience and can issue Party Wall Notices, Injunctions and serve as an Expert Witness to building matters that are being disputed.
My neighbour has sent me plans for their extension and it will impose on my property. What can I do?
Whilst it’s acceptable for your neighbour to make external changes to their home, it can often be a time for worry and uncertainty for you. If you have a good relationship with your neighbour, Philip Antino would encourage you to maintain amicability to ensure that the building process goes ahead without any upsets – even if you do not agree with the building works planned, as long as they do not impact upon your property rights.
Even though the works planned, on paper, look as though it will impose on your property, your neighbour will have been in touch with the Local Council for it to be considered for planning permission and/or building regulations approval. The council do not assess planning from your perspective and just because approval is given does not mean they can interfere with your property rights.
It’s interesting to note that in October 2008, 'permitted development rights' were extended to include the following building projects that can take place without applying for permission:
• Home extensions
• Installing solar panels
• Roof alterations
• Laying patios and driveways
These new permitted development rights were due to expire on 30 May 2019, but have now been made permanent by the government.
Planning permission is still needed for:
• Extending a flat or maisonette
• Creating a self-contained flat by dividing off part of the property
• Loft Conversions
• Constructing a whole separate house in your garden
• Anything that might need a new or wider access to a trunk or classified road
• Dividing off part of your home to use as business or commercial premises, like a workshop, or adding a parking space for a commercial vehicle
• Anything that could obstruct the view of road users
Now whilst planning permission may not be needed for certain projects, a party wall notice will need to be served for work that impacts the party wall line between properties. A party wall notice may be needed for the following works:
If you feel that your neighbour’s extension imposes on your party wall, it’s time to get in touch with Philip Antino. He is an experienced Party Wall Surveyor that travels throughout the UK, including: South Essex, North Essex, East London, South East London, Norfolk and Cambridge.
With over 20 years’ experience, he will be able to advise you on whether or not the works proposed by your neighbour need to be altered. He can undertake an inspection and organise a response to your neighbour that adheres to the remits of the Party Wall etc, Act 1996. It is the role of a Party Wall Surveyor to ensure that the building work that is being carried out fully complies with the Act and that this compliance protects adjoining properties from structural damage, inconvenience, and nuisance.
For your peace of mind contact Party Wall Surveyor Philip Antino today by:
Calling 01245 490 019
Having building works done to your property, can be simultaneously exciting and nerve racking. It’s exciting to think and dream about what it will be like using your new space and nerve racking when thinking through the logistics you have to put in place before work starts.
There’s a lot to consider! Part of that consideration, must also include the neighbours.
Unfortunately, Philip Antino, has seen far too often this oversight occur when adjoining neighbours are ignored and not served party walls until after works have begun. The result can mean friendships become strained or broken or an injunction is obtained by the adjoining neighbour to get the works stopped.
This can all be avoided if a party wall notice is served to your neighbour in a timely fashion. The process forms part of the Party Wall etc, Act 1996 and hiring the party wall services of Antino and Associates will give you clarity and peace of mind.
Do I have to give my neighbour a party wall notice?
If you have not received anything from your neighbours before works commence – get in touch with Antino and Associates today so that we can briefly discuss your case and arrange a site inspection.
The easy answer is, yes! If the works you are undertaking is likely to affect the party wall you have to serve written notice at least two months before any building work begins. If it is your intention to undertake excavation work, you must give your neighbour one month’s written notice.
As mentioned before, if you fail to serve a party wall notice, your neighbour could take the matter to court and obtain an injunction to get your works stopped. To avoid unnecessary complications, Philip Antino advises hiring a Party Wall Surveyor before building work starts. If through lack of knowledge or ill-advice, this has not taken place, a Party Wall Surveyor can still be hired to assess whether or not there has been a breach and help put the process back on track.
My neighbour started building work last week and I knew nothing about it. What should I do now?
Under the Party Wall etc, Act 1996, there are sections that cover certain acts of work. If the work of your neighbour involves any of the following, that section should be prepared and served on you in an appropriate time as I discussed earlier.
• Section 1 building a new wall on, or across, the line of junction
• Section 2 boundary wall
• Section 2 Party fence wall
• Section 2 External wall
• Section 3 Party Structure Notices
• Section 4 counter Notices
• Section 6 (1) 3m notices for excavations
• Section 6 (2) 6m notices for excavations
• Section 10 (4) Notices
• Section 10 (8) Notices
• Section 10 (1) (a) Party Wall Awards
• Section 10 (1) (b) Party Wall Awards
• Prepare and serve Third Surveyor Party Wall Awards
• Section 10 (11) advice
• Section 12 (1) advice
If you have not received anything from your neighbours before works commence – get in touch with Antino and Associates today so that we can briefly discuss your case and arrange a site inspection.
I don’t agree with the Party Wall Notice that my neighbour has served me. What should I do now?
After being served notice, you have 14 days to respond.
In the case that you are happy with the work and agree to this in writing – work can commence immediately. If, however, you dissent to the proposed work the matter will require the appointment of surveyors.
The surveyors will produce an award if you are unhappy with this, you will need to outline your reasons for appealing the notice at a county court. This is called filing an appellant’s notice. If you choose to take this course of action, you must do so within 14 days of receiving your party wall notice. Please take legal advice before doing so.
Still unsure about what to do next? Get in touch with Philip Antino for a one-to-one chat about next steps. Looking for a party wall surveyor in Basildon? Have a party wall issue in Braintree? Serving a party wall notice in Walthamstow? Or are you in need of a party wall surveyor in Havering? Our staff travel across South Essex, North Essex, East London, Norfolk, Cambridge and the rest of the UK.
There are usually two reasons as to why you would need to instruct a Party Wall Surveyor. The first is if you are in the process of extending or altering an area of your property. This could include:
• Converting your loft space
• Altering a roof
• Adding an extension (wrap around, single storey, double storey or rear)
• Adding a conservatory
• Altering a fence or garden wall or
• Creating a swimming pool
Are you currently dreaming about having your kitchen knocked through and extending into a dining/living room open space area? Or does the thought of converting your loft into another bedroom mean that the kids will finally stop bickering about who sleeps on the top bunk? Wherever you are in the thinking/planning process, it’s a good idea to know that securing the services of a Party Wall Surveyor will need to form part of your budget.
If you are further down the line with getting your project off the ground and already have an architect drawing up your plans, it’s vital that you speak to a Party Wall Surveyor. They can advise you whether or not the proposed work is covered by The Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
You will need to give your adjoining neighbours notice of your work that is going to take place and it’s crucial that we are instructed – at least three months before you plan to start work. This will ensure that all statutory Party Wall processes are finished to avoid delaying the works.
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 offers protection to property owners when building work is being undertaken in close proximity to one another. If you live in a busy area of the UK with no room to extend out the back, to the side or to go up in the loft – digging down could be an option. Excavations are covered by the Act, so get in touch if you plan on creating a new basement area for your home.
Once we have established that your works do require our services, we will provide you with a report that outlines the notices that will need to be serviced and to whom. A Party Wall Notice is a written document that is given to the neighbours affected by the works. At least two months for building works to the party wall and one month for excavation work.
If you choose to ignore your statutory obligations, you could find yourself in the position where your neighbour objects to your works and takes the matter to court. The result? You receive an injunction and have to stop all works on your project. The costs associated with this can be eye-wateringly expensive, so do the right thing and instruct a Party Wall Surveyor today.
This point leads to the second reason why a Party Wall Surveyor is instructed. If you come home one day and find a skip outside your neighbours home and evidence of internal work going on that may affect your party wall – then get in touch.
Builders should know of the impact of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996. If the works they are undertaking directly affects a party wall they should inform their clients of this fact. Unfortunately, we are all too aware of rouge builders ignoring this duty. People are ready to hire them and they too are ignorant of their statutory duty.
The staff at Antino and Associates are able to offer advice on what your responsibilities/obligations are as well as explaining your requirements in relations to the party wall procedure. In addition to undertaking a site inspection, we are happy to assist in any way. So give us a call on 01245 490 019, so that we can take care of your boundary matter today!
My neighbour has built an extension up to the boundary of our property, we now want to extend too. Can we use their external wall to build upon?
If you are currently looking out of your window, watching your neighbours’ extension being built, you may be wondering if the dreams you have for building an extension of your own has been dashed. Well all is not lost. It often happens that when someone extends their property, it gets neighbours on the street thinking and saving to get the same or similar works done.
The Party Wall Act (“PWA”) is there to help property owners realise their dreams, especially where a wall has been built on the boundary. This issue is a common occurrence for the team of Party Wall Surveyors at Antino and Associates to address.
If this scenario sounds familiar and you would like more information on next steps – then get in touch. Our Party Wall Surveyors will briefly discuss your case before arranging to come and visit your property at a time that suits you. Once on site, we will assess the area and discuss your project with you in more detail – all before you incur architects’ fees for producing a scheme that actually cannot be built.
Hypothetically speaking, without seeing the exact dimensions of the property, you can build your foundations up to the boundary with your adjoining neighbour. Whilst, you are allowed under section 1(6) of the PWA to project the foundations across the boundary onto your neighbour’s side. This, is however, subject to one specific condition. The projection has to be necessary.
If your architect produces drawings where the foundation projects across the boundary, and it can be shown that is not necessary, then the drawings will have to be changed. It is irrelevant if the planning and building regulations have approved the scheme, they cannot override the statutory procedures.
Dependent upon your Local Council regulations, planning permission may be required. Official permission can sometimes be required when existing building works has something new built on it.
How can a Party Wall Surveyor help?
Following an inspection of the site in question, our Party Wall Surveyor will issue your neighbour with a Party Wall Notice. In England and Wales, adjoining neighbours must be informed of your building intentions if you want to carry out any building work near or on your shared property boundary, or ‘party wall’. If you are carrying out works governed by the Party Wall Act, etc 1996 you will need to serve a Party Wall Notice on your neighbours.
To clarify, the Party Wall Act includes:
- undertaking building work to an existing party structure or party wall
- excavating below or near to the foundation level of neighbour’s property
- creating a new structure across or on the boundary of two properties
The following list gives further detail of what notifiable works means:
- excavating below the foundation level and or an adjoining owners’ structure which
includes patios, driveways, fish ponds, drains, sheds & garage bases and
- cutting into a party wall
- knocking down and rebuilding a party structure
- increasing or reducing the height of a party wall
- taking away, from a party wall, the chimney breasts.
Dependant Notice must be served either at two months before the notifiable works to the party wall begin, and at least one month before the notifiable excavation works begin. Notifiable work is either building work which affects a party wall or boundary line, or excavations within three or six metres of a neighbouring property (depending on the depth of the foundations you are making).
This will include most extensions and basement and loft conversions. You need to serve notice on all the owners of every neighbouring property affected by the works, both freeholders and leaseholders.
We also recommend letting your neighbour know of your plans, in person, so as to help maintain friendly and open lines of communication. They will experience some of the pain of the work without enjoying the benefits, so it is crucial to keep them informed and on side.
They will also be bombarded by Ambulance chasers once your planning application has been submitted to the council.
They paint a bleak picture of what the works will mean and emphasise the possibility of damage being caused. They seek an appointment with the view of obtaining payment from you as the person undertaking works. I.e. suggesting a non-win fee basis but this is often not the case. Ambulance chasers should be avoided at every opportunity.
Getting your scheme wrong will delay your build and increase the costs of your project. Failure to comply with the Party Wall Agreement will result in your neighbour taking you to court and obtaining (at your expense) an injunction to prevent you from continuing with the work.
Getting it right will provide (forgive the pun) the foundations for a smooth build.
So why not get your building works off to the right start? Get in touch with the Party Wall Surveyors at Antino and Associates today on 01245 490 019. We offer affordable and competitive prices that will allow you to achieve your dreams.
During my career as a Chartered Surveyor, I have had many clients come to me with boundary wall issues. It is their belief that their neighbours new wall or fence is not where it should be, i.e. it has moved onto their land.
According to gov.uk, the boundary lines are not always fully recorded between two properties. Who owns the trees, hedges, fence or wall between two properties simply does not exist.
It is not a straight forward process and finding out where your property boundary is requires expert advice which may include reviewing its title plan. Title plans are maps held with HM Land Registry, which is a non-ministerial department that was formed in 1862.
Its purpose is to enable people to register the ownership of their land or property. As an expert in this field, I am amazed that in the majority of cases these maps/plans do not have measurements recorded on them. Given the intent behind the purpose of the maps/plans, this should be a logical addition.
Title plans add an image to the written description of a property and shows general boundaries of the land and may also include parts of any adjoining land. However, it will not show boundary lines that protrude out.
If you are thinking about purchasing a property, it’s a wise idea to check its title plan.
This will allow you to foresee any potential issues and/or view that what’s up for sale more or less matches the title plan information.
When there are concerns you have to ask several questions:
Q - Has your neighbour undertaken his building work within the law?
Q - When did they do these works?
Q - Did they serve you a section 1(1) or (2) notice one month before the start of his works?
Your party wall notice should outline:
a) how the works are to be carried out,
b) a ‘schedule of condition’ about your adjoining property* and
c) actual drawings that reflect the details of the suggested works.
D) your statutory rights.
*photographs of the adjoining property are usually attached to the schedule of condition.
If you have not received a party wall notice you may need to get an injunction served on your neighbour immediately. An injunction can get the building works stopped. Read more about how an injunction works.
Building without a party wall agreement goes against The Party Wall Act, etc. 1996 and is not allowed. Read how I got on at Court when dealing with an injunction.
If you have received a party wall notice but still have concerns, contact your Surveyor. He will explain to you that it is not always possible to define exactly where your legal boundary lays.
During this type of dispute, it’s important to keep calm and follow the advice of your Surveyor. Avoid going to Court as Solicitors fees will soon see your costs spiral out of control.
Discuss the matter with your Surveyor as he may consider that adverse possession has occurred. Adverse possession is when someone treats their neighbours land as though it were his own and he then takes ownership of it. The term adverse possession is also known as squatters rights.
This act usually occurs when a fence, or wall, is erected and stands on land that does not belong to them. Adverse possession usually occurs over a long period of time. After 12 years, if no objection is made, the rightful land owner may lose his rights to claim back his land.
Another way to resolve your boundary matter is to make an application to the Land Registry to define your boundary. They can help only if there is enough proof to verify its position. Each case is assessed by reviewing old title deeds, historical photographs and images. It will help your case if you are able to submit relevant documents, old photographs and witness statements.
Determining boundaries can be a complex issue to resolve. We always recommend talking with the involved neighbours first to reach an amicable agreement, but understand that this is not always possible.
Our experienced Party Wall Surveyors have dealt with hundreds of boundary wall disputes. We have seen this problem occur across the UK, in houses big and small.
If you have a situation that feels out of control or would like a second opinion – Antino and Associates can help. We can act as your Surveyor and deal with your dispute.
We are a team of professionals that understand the stresses that can be experienced. It is our aim to offer advice that is easy to understand, provide reports that are unbiased and give speedy resolutions.
We regularly travel to clients across the UK. Do you live in Cambridge, London, Essex or Norfolk? Call 01245 490 019 today to make an appointment that’s convenient for you.
Anyone considering mediation as an alternative to the Party Wall Act (PWA) should read this carefully before jumping ship and moving away from the protection that parliament provides.
Mr David Pett a conveyancing solicitor wrote an article on the conveyancing exchange portal. He suggests that mediation is a more effective and alternative way of dealing with party wall matters. Mr Pett relies upon the Mohamed & Lahrie v Antino & Stevens (2017) case in support of his contention.
However, it is notable that he does not know the outcome of the mediation agreement between the Mohammeds and the Takhers.
The decision in Mohamed & Lahrie v Antino & Stevens (2017) is being misinterpreted by various parties.
The facts of the case are straightforward. The Mohammeds having breached the party wall act and other various inappropriate behaviour of which Mr Alistair Redler was a participant wanted to walk away from the PWA. The Takhers agreed although have now incurred cost which they thought they could avoid through mediation.
The Mohammeds were represented by Mathew Hearsum and Nick Isaac who came up with this option. To avoid having to appeal a very solid ex-parte Award dealing with Mr Antino (adjoining owners surveyor) and Mr Leslie Calder (adjoining owners checking engineer) fees. This was served upon Mr Osborn (building owners surveyor) who refused to engage with his statutory duties under s.10(13) and agree fees with Mr Antino. Following service of a request under s.10(6) Mr Antino proceeded ex-parte.
Mr Antino determined that his fees together with the checking engineers’ fees were £17,570.94 inclusive of VAT.
At paragraph 13 of the Award Mr Antino offered a 30% reduction reducing the amount to £12,299.66 inclusive of VAT if the fees were paid within 16 days.
The Mohamed’s did not accept this offer. Instead, acting on legal advice from Mr Hearsum and Mr Isaac they sought to appeal both Awards.
Then changed their minds shortly after Alistair Redler’s conduct was questioned, they suggested mediation and at the mediation persuaded the Takhar family (adjoining owners) to agree to the appointment of an independent assessor to consider inter alia the combined fees payable to Mr Antino, Mr Calder and Mr Stevens in relation to a Third Surveyors Award.
The independent determination was as follows.
The Mohamed’s should pay Mr Antino £15,872.32
They should pay the engineer £2,025.90.
The combined amount of £17,898.22 is £5,598.56 above Philip Antino’s reduced offer of (£12,299.66) at paragraph 13 of the ex-parte Award.
In addition to those costs, the independent assessor determined that the Mohamed’s should pay Mr Raymond Stevens £9,460.50.
In addition to the mediation costs, this “Agreed Surveyor” charged £8,280 which was split between the Mohamed’s and the Takhar’s.
What could have been settled by the Mohamed’s for £12,299.66 is now costing them £31,498.72 plus unknown legal fees for Mr Hearsum and Mr Isaac.
I do not understand the logic adopted by the Mohamed’s.
However, given Master James recent criticism of Mr Hearsum attempting to claim double fees that the Mohammed’s should have their legal costs independently assessed.
If anyone still believes that opting out of the Party Wall Act and using mediation is a sensible way forward, then they need to take a long hard look at the associated costs and risks associated with doing so. Whilst it might favour the legal professionals it will not suit the owners.
The Party Wall Act works, when there are surveyors acting independently and not being guided by their appointing owners or their legal advisers.