There have recently been a number of churches who have received formal Notice (as adjoining owners) from their neighbours who were planning constructional work on or near the party wall to the church. Unsure of procedure, and having received this formal notification, they have passed the Notice to either TMCP or to the Connexional Team for attention.
Under the 1996 Party Wall Act , where a neighbour is intending to carry out work on, or adjacent to, a boundary, they are required to agree a “Party Wall Award” with you. You are entitled to appoint an architect or surveyor to represent your interests and their fees will be paid for by the neighbour (known under the Act as the “building owner”) so there will be no financial outlay for you.
We strongly recommend that you appoint an architect or surveyor to represent the Trustees’ interests – perhaps the professional who carries out your Quinquennial inspections, as they will already be familiar with your building.
Under usual circumstances, the neighbour will have shared with the church members their intentions and, in the majority of cases, the church are content for their neighbours to implement the work.
Under the Act, however, this formal Notice of intention to carry out the work has to be issued, ONE MONTH before the commencement of the work and should include a drawing showing the location and extent of the work. If the Church Council, as Managing Trustees, is content for their neighbour’s work to proceed, it should sign the Notice and return it WITHIN FOURTEEN DAYS. If The Managing Trustees do not, and even if they agree to the work being undertaken, a dispute is deemed to have occurred. In this case, an independent Party Wall Surveyor has to be appointed to resolve the “dispute” (even if one has not occurred) and his costs will have to be met.
In summary, it is the Church Council as Managing Trustees who should action the matter. Obviously, if they are unhappy with the proposals, then contact with the Connexional Team’s Technical Officer or TMCP is suggested.
For further information, guidance and some useful explanatory diagrams showing typical situations, please refer to the Government’s webpage on the Act .
Please note that this document is to provide guidance and assistance to Managing Trustees and their professional advisers. This guidance note is general in nature, may not reflect all recent legal developments and may not apply to the specific facts and circumstances of any particular matter.
Also note that nothing within the documents and guidance notes provided by TMCP nor any receipt or use of such information, should be construed or relied on as advertising or soliciting to provide any legal services. Nor does it create any solicitor-client relationship or provide any legal representation, advice or opinion whatsoever on behalf of TMCP or its employees.
Accordingly, neither TMCP nor its employees accept any responsibility for use of this document or action taken as a result of information provided in it.
Please remember that Managing Trustees need to take advice that is specific to the situation at hand. This document is not legal advice and is no substitute for such advice from Managing Trustees' own legal advisers.
If you have any queries in relation to the guidance in this Focus Note please contact TMCP Legal for further assistance.