We are planning a loft extension on our semi detached house and will need to cut into the party wall for the beams. As I understand it, we need to officially notify the neighbours (in addition to the planning application which was made and granted). If they agree, could you please confirm that basically, this is sufficient and no formal contract needs to be put in place? As I understand it, it is only in case of disagreement that sureyors need to be appointed to draw up the party wall agreement. Is this correct?
Yes, that is correct. You need to serve them with a Party Structure Notice; they would then have 14 days in which to consent. If they consent nothing more need be done but if they dissent, or don’t reply at all, you will be deemed to be ‘in dispute’ under the Act and surveyors (or an ‘Agreed Surveyor’) will have to be appointed to resolve that dispute by producing a Party Wall Agreement.
If they do decide to consent I would still recommend taking a schedule of condition on the parts of their property close to where you will be working on the party wall. It will help to protect you from being blamed for pre-existing damage to your neighbour’s property – it’s a common problem.