As a UK property owner planning to carry out a building project affecting another adjoining property or boundary, there is a high chance you’ll need to obtain a party wall award before you start. This award is a legal agreement that points out your rights and obligations, as well as those of your neighbour, with regard to the proposed project in question.
Beyond that, a party wall award specifies the details of the project, such as the method, timing, and cost and how it will affect both parties. However, you and your neighbour will both have to appoint a party wall surveyor to issue this award as they are the only professionals with the requisite skillset and know-how to prepare a party wall award. Besides, only an award given by a party wall surveyor is recognised by the law.
But how long does a party wall award last after you obtain it? And what happens if you want to extend or modify the work after the award has been issued? This article answers these questions and provides some valuable tips on how to deal with party wall issues.
What Is the Validity Period of A Party Wall Award?
According to the Party Wall Act 1996, which governs party wall matters in England and Wales, a party wall award does not have a fixed expiry date. However, it is generally accepted that a party wall award is valid for 12 months from the date it is served on involved parties. This means that you have to commence your project within this period. Otherwise, the award may become invalid, necessitating you obtain a new one.
Nevertheless, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, suppose the work is delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, such as bad weather, supply issues, or pandemic restrictions. In that case, you may be able to extend the award’s validity by mutually agreeing with the adjoining owner. Alternatively, if at an impasse, you may be able to apply to the county court for an extension of time under section 10(13) of the Party Wall Act.
Another notable exception is if the proposed construction is part of a larger project to which the local council has granted planning permission. In this case, the validity of your party wall award may be linked to the planning permission, which typically lasts three years from the approval date. Still, you should note that this depends on the wording of the award. Therefore, it is advisable you consult your surveyor before relying on this exception.
What If You Want to Change or Add to The Work After Obtaining a Party Wall Award?
If you want to change or add to the specifics of a project after obtaining a party wall award, you may need to get a revised award that factors in the extent and impact of the changes.
If the changes are minor and do not affect the structural integrity of the party wall boundary, you could proceed with your neighbour’s consent without coming to loggerheads with the law. However, for significant changes that alter the scope of the initial plan, you will need to serve a new notice and obtain a new award.
Although a party wall award has no fixed expiry date, it is generally valid for 12 months from the date it is served on property owners. However, exceptions to this rule may arise if the work is delayed due to unforeseen circumstances or if it is part of a larger project sanctioned by local town planning.
If you want to add to the scope of a project after a party wall surveyor has issued a party wall award, you may need to obtain a new or revised award depending on the extent of the changes.
Should you require party wall surveyors in Kingston to help you navigate a party wall agreement or revision, Simmons Taylor Hall has a repertory of party wall surveyor kingston, Wimbledon, and London property owners trust to help mediate party wall matters.