Converting Your Loft: Do You Need A Party Wall Agreement?

When planning a loft conversion, it can be extremely exciting. But there’s one major issue that you’ll most probably encounter if you live in an urban area like London. If you haven’t guessed already, that’s a party wall.

Because of this, if you suit the below criteria, you’ll need to get your neighbours to sign a Party Wall Agreement before you start converting your loft.

  • When cutting into the wall to take bearing off a beam, or to insert damp proof course (DPC) in the wall.
  • To raise or widen the party wall, no matter the circumstance.
  • If you need to demolish or re-build the party wall.
  • To underpin the thickness of a party wall.
  • When applying flashing onto the adjoining wall.

In theory, if you need to do anything to the party wall, it’s more than worth getting a Party Wall Surveyor to confirm whether or not you need a Party Wall Agreement. If you’re performing work like converting your loft, the likelihood of needing one is immensely high.

Want to know more about converting your loft and the Party Wall Agreement? I suggest you read the below:

Party Wall Agreement - Rules When Converting Your Loft

As we’re now aware, when converting your loft, you’ll probably need a Party Wall Agreement and especially if you live in cities like London. The Party Wall Act 1996 was introduced to prevent and resolve construction-related issues for work carried out on a shared wall.

Neighbouring homeowners must be notified of your loft conversion through a Party Wall Notice and should:

  • Be given a minimum of two months’ notice before any work is carried out.
  • Be served to the legal owner of the party wall property. Note, this isn’t necessarily the person who is currently living there, and this could be a landlord, parent, investor, etc.
  • Give the neighbouring home the legal right to hire their own surveyor before the agreement is settled.
  • Give the neighbouring home the right to safeguard their own home when the loft conversion takes place in the event any damages are done.
  • Give them the option to disapprove the construction or to raise questions that need to be answered.
  • Include a completely legal Party Wall Act notice, which has the complete details of the works from a professional surveyor.

Of course, before you consider any of this, it’s probably best to have a conversation with your neighbour. From doing this, you’re preparing them for what’s to come, and they might not take it so kindly from a random letter.

From complying with the rules, benefits you and the neighbour. Suppose something does occur to the party wall while work is being carried out. In that case, it’ll dramatically reduce the legal issues heading your way and ensure liability for the shared ownership of the party wall.  

How The Party Wall Can Affect Converting Your Loft

Most houses in urban areas like London, semi-detached or terrace houses, will require a Party Wall Agreement. This is because almost all work involved with converting your loft in this type of environment will require you to insert supporting beams into the party wall. Including this, a party wall will also be involved with a loft conversion if:

  • Steelwork is needed to support the floor and dormer, as this tends to run from the party wall. All party walls involved with this support system will require cutting to install the steel beam and padstone.
  • You need to create a dormer on the boundary line.
  • You need to increase the dormer or create it into a specific design, and you’ll need to adjust the party wall to accommodate for it.

As you can see, the party wall plays an essential role in a loft conversion. Because of this, gaining access to a Party Wall Agreement will open up more design opportunities and flexibility. This is perfect, as nobody wants to be restricted when it comes to developing your dream-like loft conversion.

Not sure you need a Party Wall Agreement to carry out your loft conversion? I recommend you contact us. On the other side, there will be a helpful and professional member of staff who’s eager to answer any questions you may have in regard to a party wall.

How To Prepare A Party Wall Agreement When Converting Your Loft

Something else you’ll want to execute correctly is the preparation for the Party Wall Agreement. The whole preparation period is pretty much making sure you’re legally allowed to adjust the party wall and ensure your neighbours are happy with the construction. Here’s what you’ll want to consider when preparing your Party Wall Agreement:

  • Before you undergo anything, whether it’s construction or legal, you should speak to your neighbouring owners and explain what your plans are. This will dramatically increase the possibility that they’ll respond positively to your Party Wall Notice.
  • As soon as they’re available, show your neighbours the sketches for your project. Here they’ll be able to get a visualisation of what you want to achieve. This doesn’t just notify them what you’re doing, but it’ll also gain more trust about the project and increase their chances of agreeing to the Party Wall Agreement.
  • Be friendly with your neighbours and make them feel welcome to talk to you about any concerns they may have about the project. At the end of the day, you’d rather them speak to you instead of disallowing the contract.
  • Lastly, keep a dialogue of everything encase you fall into any legal complications. Doing this will reduce the amount of legal damage if anything was to go to court.

As you can see, there are several things you need to consider when preparing and undergoing the construction of converting your loft. However, it’s always best to keep these in mind, as it can massively reduce two very important factors of converting your loft. These are legal complications and the disapproval of construction, which is something we want to avoid.

London Office:

4th Floor, Silverstream House,

45 Fitzroy Street

Fitzrovia

London

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0800 464 7131

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Leigh on Sea

Essex

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