Party Wall Engineering and London Basements

August 24th 2016 | Back to news

Knowles strives to achieve designs that minimise inconvenience to neighbouring properties as far as is possible and in accordance with the Party Wall Act 1996. To help you understand the importance of this agreement, we’ve written up the basics on officially protecting neighbours from building works, so the retrofit basement is built professionally and considerately.

What is the Party Wall Act?

The Party Wall Act was created in 1996 to help homeowners and builders resolve disputes over party walls, boundary walls and excavations which are located near neighbouring buildings.

When you start work on a retrofit basement, if any of the works will affect a jointly owned wall or boundary, like in the case of a terraced or semi-detached property, by law you must notify your neighbours according to a number of conditions.

What is the Party Wall Award?

A Party Wall Award is an official document stating that a surveyor has checked over your architect’s designs and looked at the structure of the building to see how much, if any, upheaval will be caused to your neighbour. It will cover you in case of any accidental damage caused by the building works, saving you the cost of paying out to have your neighbours’ house fixed.

Advantages of getting an Award:

In most cases, getting a retrofit basement build on your property can be intrusive, particularly in close knit neighbourhoods with terraced houses like London. If a neighbour isn’t informed, they understandably will be upset and potential disputes can arise. The Party Wall Award protects you from any legal or financial aspects of this dispute.

That said, Knowles advise only working with a mindful basement contractor who will prioritise keeping neighbours up-to-date on projects, keep work within normal business hours and make sure the lines of communication stay open throughout the duration of the basement extension project... which can also help to alleviate any unnecessary quarrels.

What happens if you don’t get a Party Wall Award?

If any damage is caused to the neighbouring property and there isn't a Party Wall Agreement in place, you could be liable for thousands of pounds’ worth of damage. Settling the dispute could be tricky as you won’t have anything to prove that you went ahead with building in a responsible and informed manner. In addition, you will have to pay any compensation out yourself as the insurance won’t cover it.

How can Knowles help?

Knowles understands that situations with neighbours can be sensitive during a basement project. As a Considerate Constructors awarded basement firm, we aim to make the building works stick to the timeline with minimal disruption to the surrounding area. We employ top surveyors to carry out Party Wall checks and ensure that an Award is achieved in every case so that our clients are covered from any eventuality.

If you have more questions about Party Wall Agreements or if you’re considering building a retrofit basement in London or around, feel free to visit our website or call us on 01344 886 898.

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