Party Wall Schedule of Condition
Should you have a schedule of condition undertaken?
This first part of the party wall process is for the Building Owner to serve notice upon their neighbour to advise them of their proposals and where necessary, seek their consent.
The Party Wall Notices which are served, require the neighbour to confirm their position in writing and the notices typically provide for four distinct options:
1) To Consent to the works
2) To consent to the works and require a schedule of condition to be undertaken.
3) To dissent the works and concur with the appointment of an Agreed Surveyor
4) To dissent the work and appoint a different surveyor to that proposed by the Building Owner.
Clearly the first option to consent is self explanatory and so in this Blog post we are going to discuss the second option, namely to consent to the works and to require a schedule of condition to be undertaken.
The first point to be clear about, if you have received a party wall notice from your neighbour, is to understand that even if you consent to the works, you will still have the protection of the Party Wall Etc Act 1996in the event that the neighbours works cause damage to your property. These redress measures are detailed in Section 10 of the Act.
The Schedule of Condition is the report which is compiled by the Surveyors following a visit to the property and an inspection of all areas which could conceivably be affected by the neighbours proposed works. It will generally be a circa 20 page report with lots of photos and descriptive text.
The aim of it is to provide a thorough and accurate view of the condition of the neighbours property prior to the commencement of the building works. Consequently, it makes life much easier at the end of the construction phase to determine whether any damage has occurred during the construction phase so that the surveyors need only to determine whether the development works have caused the damage rather than whether the damage was pre-existing.
In our professional opinion, Owners are well advised to request a schedule of condition if they are minded to consent to the works. The cost for a standalone report is generally around £200 plus VAT and is typically paid for by the Owner who wishes to undertake the works.
By having a Schedule of Condition report carried out you are reducing the likelihood of a dispute with your neighbour over damage either during or following their build programme.
Indeed arguably it benefits both parties with the Adjoining Owner being able to demonstrate that damage has been caused since the start of the building works but also protecting the Building Owner to ensure that they are not obliged to pay for damage which was pre-existing and is therefore not of their doing.
If you have received a party wall notice and would like some advice in terms of how you should respond or in the event that you would like us to undertake a schedule of condition for you then please get in touch.
In further blog posts we will be looking at the other response options contained within a Party Wall Notice.
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