A loft conversion is now a need. A lot of people have this criterion. They also have the same question and that is ‘for a Loft Conversion, Party Wall Agreement is mandatory?’ The answer is YES. It is mandatory. In a simpler note, we can say that if the loft has an adjoining property, you should have a proper party wall agreement. The agreement should follow the Party Wall Act 1996. It is not that only for the loft conversion, you need to have such an agreement. Whenever you need to work on a shared wall or other structures, you should have an agreement according to the mentioned act.
What is this Party Wall?
A simple wall can turn into a party wall if it stands on the boundary of the land. The lands may belong to two or more different owners. We can see such examples in the terraced or semi-detached houses. Or we can say that a wall that is shared with other owners in the case of floor and ceiling can be accepted as a party wall.
The Party Wall Act 1996
According to the Party Wall Act 1996, a building owner will be able to carry out various types of works to an existing Party Wall with the additional rights going beyond the ordinary law and rights. This law has created to solve disputes between neighbors. Actually, while carrying out any work on adjoining properties by the owner can cause disturbance or damage to the neighbor. In order to deal with such a situation without any hassle or causing any damage to the neighbor, this law and rights have taken place.
With the help of a party wall agreement, it is easy to inform all the related parties about the upcoming building works that may affect a shared wall or any structure. According to this act, an owner needs to inform the related persons via the party wall agreement before starting the work. After the mutual agreement, the work can be started.
Party Wall Agreement
We have already mentioned this term in the earlier section. It is actually a written consent by the neighbors for the building works that an owner is going to start. Via this agreement, the adjustment in the timing and manner of works will be notified to all the related persons.
The Party Wall Act informs the neighbor of the works an owner plans to carry out. In order to serve a Party Wall notice, you have to include some mandatory things such as
- Your name and address
- The address of the building where the work will be carried on
- A detail description of your works that may include plans and drawings
- When you plan to start the work
You can prepare as well as serve the party wall agreement or you can take the help of a Party Wall surveyor. If your neighbors want they can also hire a party wall surveyor. Generally, the owner needs to meet the costs of a surveyor including the surveyor cost of your neighbor.
If you plan to start the loft conversion work in April, you should serve the notice by the end of January or the starting of February.
Party Wall Agreement for Loft conversion
It has been noticed that a lot of people find a loft conversion as a not so serious task. And they often try to skip the party wall agreement and end up having big trouble with the neighbor. But we do not want to see you in such a situation. It will be better if you obey the law and regulations from the very first step. In this way, you can accelerate the task without having any problem.
When it comes to a loft conversion and that includes work on any element that belongs to one or more than one adjoining properties, you will start with a party wall agreement. For your ease, we can give you some examples of work on the party wall for a loft conversion requires the proper agreement.
- If you need to cut the wall and turn it as a load-bearing wall for a beam
- If you want to insert a damp course proof for the entire length of the wall
- If you need to demolish as well as rebuild the wall
- If you want to increase the height or the thickness of the wall
- If you need to cut the projections of a party wall
- If it requires to remove the chimney breast from the party wall
- If you need to underpin the entire the thickness of the party wall
Is it possible to do a loft conversion without the party wall agreement?
Yes, up to an extent, you may not need to issue a party wall agreement for a loft conversion. Generally, you may not require a party wall agreement if the work is not going to involve the wall. In some cases, the agreement is not needed. Below we are sharing the cases for your ease-
- If the loft is going to be built on top of a stand or on a detached house
- If the beam that supports the loft conversion is placed over a column that is built for the purpose
How to issue a party wall notice for the loft conversion
We have already mentioned that you can issue the party wall notice directly or you can take the help of a surveyor to make the entire task neat and clean. You should not forget to mention the mentioned topics in detail in your party wall notice. You can send the notice via email, post, or in person.
It will be better if you take a help of Party Wall Surveyor and follow the suggested path based on your requirements. You should issue the notice before two months of the starting date of your work. A professional surveyor can help you in smoothly managing the work. Amateur steps involve a lot of hassles and rework for sure.