the Party Wall Act is a clumsy piece of legislation which is not fit for purpose. It comes into play for a multitude of straightforward building projects such as loft conversions or putting in a damp proof course, and is the unspoken elephant in the room when it comes to building costs. Few people know how it works until they are caught up in the middle of it. It causes untold stress to consumers who are trying to do straightforward building work and many people have ended up paying many thousands of pounds to surveyors who can eke the process out over many weeks – costs over which they have no control It holds up the building trade and actually is such a disincentive to anyone who wants to do work that it encourages people to undertake work illegally – without party wall agreements – on the basis that few individuals would bother (or could afford) to sue their neighbours unless serious damage had been done to their building.
Reform the Party Wall Act. It is damaging to building and puts consumers into a position where they can end up paying thousands of pounds in bills over which they have no control. My idea is this: The Party Wall Act is simply not necessary, and could be replaced by a simple insurance scheme which could be invoked if your building work damages your neighbour's property. If it was felt this was insufficient, there could be a simplifed Party Wall notification scheme where neighbours were given 14 days to comment (not delay) a building scheme (opt in, not opt out). Where building work already falls under permitted development, party wall notices could be scrapped altogether as the quality of these works is already subject to insp)ection by Building Control (who of course like the Party Wall Act because it covers their backs!