Party wall agreement; yes or no?

rs6mra
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Party wall agreement; yes or no?

Post by rs6mra »

Our property used to be one dwelling when it was built and then split after the owner died between the two sons many many years ago. The loft/attic used to be one big space and a dividing wall was put in presumably when the division was done. Whoever did it got it wrong by 4 inches and when next door punched a hole in their ceiling it was in our loft space!!!!!
The owner next door now wants to move the wall in the loft with him covering all costs involved.
Do we need a party wall agreement?

Thanks
Collaborate
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Re: Party wall agreement; yes or no?

Post by Collaborate »

Yes
rs6mra
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Re: Party wall agreement; yes or no?

Post by rs6mra »

Thanks.

Can you tell me how the notice is administered?
I can recall receiving a party wall agreement from the previous owner about 15 years ago but they never went ahead with the proposed work. Whether it was from the owner or from a surveyor I cannot remember.
The work seems fairly straightforward (famous last words) but I just need to cover myself as it's obvious the stud work was wrongly placed.
Collaborate
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Re: Party wall agreement; yes or no?

Post by Collaborate »

arborlad
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Re: Party wall agreement; yes or no?

Post by arborlad »

rs6mra wrote: Wed Oct 19, 2022 9:05 am Thanks.

Can you tell me how the notice is administered?
I can recall receiving a party wall agreement from the previous owner about 15 years ago but they never went ahead with the proposed work. Whether it was from the owner or from a surveyor I cannot remember.
The work seems fairly straightforward (famous last words) but I just need to cover myself as it's obvious the stud work was wrongly placed.




How do you get on with the neighbour, that would guide my next move? I'm fairly sure the timber will have to be replaced with brick or blockwork. If you're still unsure, ring a local surveyor.
arborlad

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CherryBlack
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Re: Party wall agreement; yes or no?

Post by CherryBlack »

Hi Rs6.

It's good of you to not challenge this, and I'm sure/hope that the neighbour is appreciative? I would agree that it is the right thing to do - it would most likely have been a clumsy measuring error by the sons, and it's best for both new parties to get it right, and also get it built properly!

If you get on with the neighbour, and it sounds as tho' you do, then I personally would hold off (for the moment at least) insisting on them employing a PWA surveyor, as it just might not be necessary, and it will cost your neighbour an unnecessary, what?, £2k-ish? (I don't know, but suspect it's that ballpark?)

In the first instance, I would instead talk their plans over with them, and see what their chosen builder is proposing. You will want that wall to be nicely soundproof and fireproof. I don't think it needs to be brick, but - if it does - then that will likely add other most costly factors, such a support beam underneath, unless there just 'happens' to be a solid wall immediately under where this wall is going?! What are the chances? Not high!

I wonder, in fact, if this misplaced loft wall was placed where it is so that it did fall on an off-centre downstairs wall?

Anyhoo, have a nice chat with your neighbour. I would expect them to explain that they are employing a structural surveyor to determine if any additional support is required, apply to Building Control for a 'small works notice' or whatever it's called, and will follow current regs for heat insulation, soundproofing, and fireproofing, whatever these are. It's in their interest as well.

If you have concerns - if they are cagey about the details and just say things like, "We have a good builder - don't worry!", then worry. You do always have the fall-back of a PWS.

Are there surveyors or builders on this forum? If so, if you come back with their proposal, you can run it past them on here? Or somewhere like MoneySavingExpert 'DIY' forum - there's some good builders on there.

Don't forget, PWS or not, they MUST still conform to Building Regs, so if things are going badly and you have concerns that the neighbour are not addressing, you can always call up the BCO.
Collaborate
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Re: Party wall agreement; yes or no?

Post by Collaborate »

CherryBlack wrote: Thu Oct 20, 2022 9:46 am Hi Rs6.

It's good of you to not challenge this, and I'm sure/hope that the neighbour is appreciative? I would agree that it is the right thing to do - it would most likely have been a clumsy measuring error by the sons, and it's best for both new parties to get it right, and also get it built properly!

If you get on with the neighbour, and it sounds as tho' you do, then I personally would hold off (for the moment at least) insisting on them employing a PWA surveyor, as it just might not be necessary, and it will cost your neighbour an unnecessary, what?, £2k-ish? (I don't know, but suspect it's that ballpark?)

In the first instance, I would instead talk their plans over with them, and see what their chosen builder is proposing. You will want that wall to be nicely soundproof and fireproof. I don't think it needs to be brick, but - if it does - then that will likely add other most costly factors, such a support beam underneath, unless there just 'happens' to be a solid wall immediately under where this wall is going?! What are the chances? Not high!

I wonder, in fact, if this misplaced loft wall was placed where it is so that it did fall on an off-centre downstairs wall?

Anyhoo, have a nice chat with your neighbour. I would expect them to explain that they are employing a structural surveyor to determine if any additional support is required, apply to Building Control for a 'small works notice' or whatever it's called, and will follow current regs for heat insulation, soundproofing, and fireproofing, whatever these are. It's in their interest as well.

If you have concerns - if they are cagey about the details and just say things like, "We have a good builder - don't worry!", then worry. You do always have the fall-back of a PWS.

Are there surveyors or builders on this forum? If so, if you come back with their proposal, you can run it past them on here? Or somewhere like MoneySavingExpert 'DIY' forum - there's some good builders on there.

Don't forget, PWS or not, they MUST still conform to Building Regs, so if things are going badly and you have concerns that the neighbour are not addressing, you can always call up the BCO.
The fire regulations for party walls in lofts are that they must be made from a non-combustible material. The chances are that when OP bought the propety there was a survey, which should have flagged this as a concern if it was a lightweight timber wall. OP - did you have a valuation done or a proper survey?

The fact that the dividing wall appears to float suggests it may well not be made of brick, but I would have thought it highly likely that the internal dividing wall will be made of brick and therefore the new loft party wall can be made of the same material. You would need a surveyor to advise on that so I would require full PWA compliance.
rs6mra
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Re: Party wall agreement; yes or no?

Post by rs6mra »

Thanks for all the responses so far.
With all the works that have been carried out so far in the property, it all appears to be of a high standard to the extent that it has been soundproofed with new partition walls on both the first & second floors being moved a fraction from the original walls. The entire structure between both properties is timber with lathe & plaster walls.
When we purchased the property we had a full structural survey done and I can't recall anything being flagged up regarding this wall. I will have a look to see what the comments are regarding the wall in the loft which appears to have some kind of non-combustible material on it.
The neighbor happens to be a builder and from what I have seen he appears to be overboard with what they have been doing whereas the previous owner's builder over the years did the absolute minimum. He has mentioned soundproofing & fireproof the wall when he replaces it and he has no choice really as they are converting the loft space.
I'll now do some research as to exactly what needs to be done to meet building regs.
CherryBlack
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Re: Party wall agreement; yes or no?

Post by CherryBlack »

That sounds ideal, rs6. But, due diligence :-)

Show an interest - ask them what is required concerning Building Control, what form the structure will take, etc. Hopefully they'll fully engage. You might even wish to drop in to the conversation that you'd been looking at whether a PWA agreement was required, but it didn't seem as tho' it was necessary. Hopefully that will focus their minds to being considerate in return, and they fully engage with you; they'll know it'll cost them extra, so should be minded to be fully open about the job. Of course, they may even say, "Yes - no prob!", but I doubt it, just because it's an additional expense.

Don't be afraid to 'ask'. Show them you are clued-up. You are right to want to be engaged and have the same concerns anyone else would in such a situation. But, provided you are confident they are doing everything correctly, you are happy to forgo the PWA surveyor 'because I know it'll cost you extra'. They should be appreciative.

Bear in mind as well that, if they mess up or cut corners, then you are still covered by, say, Building Regs - a PWA surveyor isn't essential, but just provides that extra oversight, but usually only required on more complex boundary issues.

When is the loft conversion taking place - soon after, or even at the same time? Either way, that WILL require full Build Control regs compliance, very possibly a structural engineer, etc. Even if they don't show you the plans, you should see a copy on the Planning Portal.

And, as far as I know, you can insist they engage a PWA surveyor at any time during the work - if they give you cause.

This is just my opinion. It's the way I'd handle it if I were confident they were pretty honest and straight-forward folk. Take them at their word, but keep an eye on it!

Are they are builder 'of repute' in the area?
ukmicky
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Re: Party wall agreement; yes or no?

Post by ukmicky »

rs6mra wrote: Wed Oct 19, 2022 9:05 am Thanks.

Can you tell me how the notice is administered?
I can recall receiving a party wall agreement from the previous owner about 15 years ago but they never went ahead with the proposed work. Whether it was from the owner or from a surveyor I cannot remember.
The work seems fairly straightforward (famous last words) but I just need to cover myself as it's obvious the stud work was wrongly placed.
You do realise it makes no difference now if the studwork was incorrectly placed . It’s a bit like a flying freehold and can refuse to make the change.
Last edited by ukmicky on Thu Oct 20, 2022 11:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Any information provided is not legal advice and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
ukmicky
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Re: Party wall agreement; yes or no?

Post by ukmicky »

Collaborate wrote: Thu Oct 20, 2022 11:43 am
CherryBlack wrote: Thu Oct 20, 2022 9:46 am Hi Rs6.

It's good of you to not challenge this, and I'm sure/hope that the neighbour is appreciative? I would agree that it is the right thing to do - it would most likely have been a clumsy measuring error by the sons, and it's best for both new parties to get it right, and also get it built properly!

If you get on with the neighbour, and it sounds as tho' you do, then I personally would hold off (for the moment at least) insisting on them employing a PWA surveyor, as it just might not be necessary, and it will cost your neighbour an unnecessary, what?, £2k-ish? (I don't know, but suspect it's that ballpark?)

In the first instance, I would instead talk their plans over with them, and see what their chosen builder is proposing. You will want that wall to be nicely soundproof and fireproof. I don't think it needs to be brick, but - if it does - then that will likely add other most costly factors, such a support beam underneath, unless there just 'happens' to be a solid wall immediately under where this wall is going?! What are the chances? Not high!

I wonder, in fact, if this misplaced loft wall was placed where it is so that it did fall on an off-centre downstairs wall?

Anyhoo, have a nice chat with your neighbour. I would expect them to explain that they are employing a structural surveyor to determine if any additional support is required, apply to Building Control for a 'small works notice' or whatever it's called, and will follow current regs for heat insulation, soundproofing, and fireproofing, whatever these are. It's in their interest as well.

If you have concerns - if they are cagey about the details and just say things like, "We have a good builder - don't worry!", then worry. You do always have the fall-back of a PWS.

Are there surveyors or builders on this forum? If so, if you come back with their proposal, you can run it past them on here? Or somewhere like MoneySavingExpert 'DIY' forum - there's some good builders on there.

Don't forget, PWS or not, they MUST still conform to Building Regs, so if things are going badly and you have concerns that the neighbour are not addressing, you can always call up the BCO.
The fire regulations for party walls in lofts are that they must be made from a non-combustible material. The chances are that when OP bought the propety there was a survey, which should have flagged this as a concern if it was a lightweight timber wall. OP - did you have a valuation done or a proper survey?

The fact that the dividing wall appears to float suggests it may well not be made of brick, but I would have thought it highly likely that the internal dividing wall will be made of brick and therefore the new loft party wall can be made of the same material. You would need a surveyor to advise on that so I would require full PWA compliance.


Millions of houses in this country have upstairs partition walls built directly on floor boards with nothing but the normal joists below and a lightweight aerated concrete block wall wouldn’t weigh much or put any undue strain on the joists below.

Whether building regs these day would allow it is another matter
Any information provided is not legal advice and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
Collaborate
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Re: Party wall agreement; yes or no?

Post by Collaborate »

Walls internal to one house are different to walls that divide two properties. A wall cannot just sit on floorboards if it is to divide two properties and I think that has long been the case.
arborlad
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Re: Party wall agreement; yes or no?

Post by arborlad »

rs6mra wrote: Thu Oct 20, 2022 12:52 pm Thanks for all the responses so far.
With all the works that have been carried out so far in the property, it all appears to be of a high standard to the extent that it has been soundproofed with new partition walls on both the first & second floors being moved a fraction from the original walls. The entire structure between both properties is timber with lathe & plaster walls.
When we purchased the property we had a full structural survey done and I can't recall anything being flagged up regarding this wall. I will have a look to see what the comments are regarding the wall in the loft which appears to have some kind of non-combustible material on it.
The neighbor happens to be a builder and from what I have seen he appears to be overboard with what they have been doing whereas the previous owner's builder over the years did the absolute minimum. He has mentioned soundproofing & fireproof the wall when he replaces it and he has no choice really as they are converting the loft space.
I'll now do some research as to exactly what needs to be done to meet building regs.




This is obviously going to change the advice to change to brick or blockwork, is it a listed building or are you in a CA?

In a situation where a 100mm/4" 'error', only became apparent when someone drilled through a bedroom ceiling, I think it is implausible to suggest that a surveyor should have spotted it. For sure everyone's going to be measuring much more carefully now.
arborlad

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arborlad
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Re: Party wall agreement; yes or no?

Post by arborlad »

Collaborate wrote: Fri Oct 21, 2022 12:05 am Walls internal to one house are different to walls that divide two properties.




The wall in question is both.
arborlad

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Collaborate
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Re: Party wall agreement; yes or no?

Post by Collaborate »

arborlad wrote: Sun Oct 23, 2022 9:50 am
Collaborate wrote: Fri Oct 21, 2022 12:05 am Walls internal to one house are different to walls that divide two properties.




The wall in question is both.
Schrodinger's wall?
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