When you need a Party Wall Agreement.
What is a party wall agreement?
There really isn't any such thing as a party wall agreement often mistakenly called a 'third party wall agreement'. The only 'agreement' is if the adjoining owner consents to your party wall notice in writing. If they do consent, you can get on with the work without involving surveyors and you do not need a party wall award.
If the adjoining owner does not consent, there is a 'dispute' and both owners will have to appoint a surveyor or surveyors. The surveyor/s will 'make' an award which is often referred to as a party wall 'agreement'. An award is a written document that determines the dispute setting out the rights and obligations of the owners. The award is a determination by the surveyors and subsequently it is agreed and signed by the surveyors and then served on both owners.
The award is agreed primarily between the surveyors although there are specifics that may need certain further consents from the owners.
Have you seen firms offering 'party wall agreements'?
There are a couple of firms that offer 'party wall agreements' which seem to be an informal agreement set up between owners. These appear to be for parties where the party wall notice has been consented to, but the owners require some conditions attaching to the consent.
The problem is that unless you understand the workings of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 you still really need to ask a party wall surveyor to draft it for you, but he is not officially appointed because there is no real dispute. The Government Advisory document mentions agreements and states "The best way of settling any point of difference is by friendly discussion with your neighbour. Agreements should always be put in writing" . However, this is only in relation to work under section 2.
Agreements such as these can only really be practical for work to a party wall.
If there are any benefits to these types of agreement, it remains to be seen. I would hazard a guess that they are only beneficial in a very limited number of cases.
If any agreement is needed then it would be better if both parties agreed on using one surveyor and that surveyor followed the procedural requirements of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
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