Shake Your Foundations – First Amendment to Party Wall Legislation in 20 Years

17/03/2016

From 6 April 2016 party wall practitioners can step into the 21st Century by employing digital electronic technology for the service of statutory notices and awards by email. Existing methods of issuing documentation and service will continue to remain available to the practitioner however.

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 was published by the Department for Communities and Local Government on 10 March 2016 and is the first amendment to the Act since it came into force nationally in July 1997.

Besides a change in approach, surveyors and other practitioners will need to consider their appointment process to take advantage of this change as it will have wider implications.

Although the Act always has and will be an enabling act, to assist rather than frustrate the undertaking of construction work on or near neighbouring land or structures, it is often seen as inflexible, but this Order will increase the options available for practitioners delivering party wall services.  Although the statutory timeframes prescribed within the Act will not change and must always be adhered to, the dissemination of important documents electronically should improve the speed and efficiency the process can be delivered.

It will be a brave new world for practitioners and it will be interesting to see how this new amendment is put into practice, not only via the use of email, but through the use of social media and possible file sharing sites.

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