You may hate paperwork, but when it comes to the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 you should pretend to love it
by Peter Rolph, 22 May 2017
In the recent case of Heathcote and another v Doal and another  the County Court at Birmingham Technology and Construction Court reiterated the importance of adhering to the protocols and regimes imposed by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
The defendants commenced works at their property which was consequently stopped following a complaint from the adjoining property owner. It was later found that the defendants had already started to excavate their property’s floor slab without serving the required notice under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 on their neighbour. Following the inspection of the defendant’s property the claimants were served notices and the defendant’s surveyor advised the claimants that the defendants were going to proceed with the proposed works. The claimants were subsequently granted an interim injunction and a further extension of that injunction against the works.
The Court found that the defendants had failed to observe and perform the simple administrative requirements of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 and therefore awarded the claimants with their costs on an indemnity basis. The claimants received an interim payment of £10,000 plus VAT – a huge price to pay for a piece of paper!
If you are thinking about carrying out building works to your property that affects a boundary wall that is shared with a neighbour you must ensure that notice of such planned works is given to all adjoining owners otherwise the consequences of not adhering to the requirements under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 can be severe.