What is a party wall agreement & why do I need it?
The start of a loft conversion project is exciting, as you think about how you want your space, what furniture you’re going to buy, and how you will decorate the room(s). However, before you get too caught up in the design of your new loft space, you should check whether you need to have a party wall agreement in place or not.
A party wall agreement is a formal agreement between you and your neighbour(s), which protects both parties when works are being carried out on a party wall. A party wall is an adjoining wall that both of your properties share. Party walls either form part of a building or don’t (a garden wall, for example), but they are always on the land of two or more owners.
Under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, an agreement is required if you live in a terraced or semi-detached property and share a party wall that will be worked on during your loft conversion. The Act covers building work to an existing party wall, such as making it taller, shorter or deeper, cutting into the wall, or removing chimney breasts. The work needed will vary depending on your plans and the type of loft conversion that will be carried out.
If you do need a party wall agreement, you should give written notice to your neighbour at least 2 months before you plan to start building works, telling them that you are going to have a loft conversion. Your neighbour should then give their consent within 14 days of your notice, so that building works can go ahead as planned. It’s important that any agreement you reach is in writing.
In the event that you encounter any difficulties in obtaining your neighbour’s consent or agreeing on works, you should each appoint a surveyor, who will agree on a ‘party wall award’. This is a legal document that says what work should happen, how and when it will be carried out, who will pay for which part and how much.
In most cases, people have no issues obtaining their neighbour’s consent for a loft conversion, so you shouldn’t be too concerned about this. Altitude Lofts will assist you as you discuss party wall agreements with your neighbour(s) prior to works commencing. We are here to help with any questions or concerns you may have.