How Party Wall Agreements Could Affect Your Loft Conversion

You might be considering a loft conversion as a way to expand your current living space and give you that extra bit of room that you’ve always craved! If so, then there are a few things to consider before you go ahead and make all the necessary agreements. It’s vital that you adhere to all regulations involved when expanding your property, such as the Party Wall Agreement. 

What is the Party Wall Act?

  • The act was first introduced throughout England and Wales in July 1996. 
  • It was created in an attempt to prevent any work being carried out by one neighbour, that could potentially alter the structural integrity of any shared walls between adjoining properties.  

Who will it affect?

  • Anyone considering renovating their property e.g. a loft conversion or an extension.   
  • Those living in semi-detached or terraced properties. 
  • Those in detached houses that are in close proximity to surrounding properties.

What is actually required/what do I need to do?

You can still go ahead with your loft conversion, you just need to make sure you adhere to a few rules:

  • It’s vital you give your neighbour plenty of notice before you begin any work. 
  • Serve a Party Wall notice to your neighbour two months in advance, and if you are carrying out any work outlined by the Party Wall Act, this must be cited. 
  • If they agree, then work can start immediately. 
  • Under the guidelines of the act, you can legally raise the height of party walls with the necessary notice being given. 
  • If the party wall has already been raised by your neighbour previously, then you can build on to the wall, using it as part of your own structure – again, notice will need to be given. However, a compensation payment needs to be made to your neighbour for using their wall, and the two party wall Surveyors will agree on an amount. Around London and the South East, there is a general consensus of £130 per square meter.

What if they disagree?

This is where it gets a little more tricky – and expensive!  

  • Once you have given your adjoining owners notice, they have 14 days to respond. No work can go ahead during this period of time. 
  • If your neighbour disagrees with the work you are proposing, send them another letter explaining they have 10 days to find their own Surveyor, or you will find one on their behalf.
  • It’s up to the two parties involved whether you use one Surveyor or use one each to draw up the Party Wall Award. If you can agree on using one, you could save yourself time and Surveyors fees. 
  • Once a Surveyor has been appointed, they will create a Party Wall Agreement.
  • The Party Wall Award clearly highlights what the builder should adhere to when carrying out the work. 
  • Once the work has been done, an assessment of your neighbour’s property will need to be arranged, in order to identify if there has been any damage incurred as a result. If there is any damage, you will need to repair this. 

Once everything has been sorted out and agreements made, the work can begin two months after the initial notice was given, and all work must have been started 12 months after this, in order for everything to still be legitimate.  To read more about the Government guidance for The Party Wall etc. Act 1996, please click here.