Do I need a Party Wall Award?

A Party Wall Award offers protection to both the building owner and adjoining owners but it is questionable whether one is always required.

Looking at it from both sides the benefits for each party may be summarised as follows:

Building Owner

  • Ensures any damage that may occur to the adjoining owner's property is clearly as a result of the building works undertaken
  • Provides for a right of access under the Act to enter upon the adjoining owner's land to carry out work

Neighbour/Adjoining Owner

  • Sets out the hours during which the work may be carried out
  • Provides for making good any damage caused
  • Ensures any contractor has adequate public liability insurance in place

Clearly most benefits lie with the adjoining owner however, the key point for the building owner is it protects against spurious claims for damage.

The point at which the benefits gained from a party wall award do not outweigh the cost of preparing one is debatable. Clearly small works such as re-pointing or damp proof work, for which technically a party wall notice should be served, are highly unlikely to cause major damage to a neighbour's property.

An important point to remember is that regardless whether an adjoining owner consents to the work his redress under the Party Wall Act still remain. This is something that neighbours often fail to grasp and hence rush down the party wall dispute route.