‘Party Wall’ later became 2 Seperate Walls on the Drawings

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

The context is a typical Victorian south London terraced street, except that the adjoining building was bombed in WW2 and since rebuilt in the 50’s – it is flush with no gaps and appears part of the terrace.

Our neighbour showed us architects structural drawings (for building regs) for a loft extension, for which he would like our consent as the load would be supported by the party wall, and additionally, he was going to build the party wall up to the new height of the new loft….

We said we didn’t really mind in principle, but we wanted to cross the t’s and dot the i’s and perhaps surveyors should be appointed to ensure there was not going to be any damage…. he agreed, but hummed and hawed about cost – we said we’d investigate but thought it was for him to pick up.

He then came back to us and said that he’d decided not to use the party wall, but would just build up his internal wall and use that instead.  This conflicted with the drawings he said he’d submitted for planning permission, and we pointed out that building up an internal wall up was still being supported by steel beams [yet to be mounted] into the party wall, something his builder confirmed…  he eventually agreed that it required party wall notice after all and agreed to give it, but he never has.

He then stated that a different structural surveyor has reviewed his building and has determined that as the building is newer, it actually has its own wall rather than a shared wall, so we have abutting boundary walls, and as such he does not need to serve a party wall notice….  we requested updated drawings to show this to be the case.  Within a day we now have new drawings which show two walls and words changed from “Party wall” to “boundary wall”.

Is it correct he now longer needs to notify us?

Any advice?  Or do we just have to bite the bullet and pay for our own surveryor to protect ourselves from his works?

Answer

If the 2 properties have separate flank walls which are independent of each other then your neighbour could place a beam in his wall without serving notice.

In those circumstances he would only be allowed to raise his wall for the loft so there may be issues there depending upon how the top of the walls are currently weatherproofed.