Leading City lawyers act for appellant in case clarifying Party Wall responsibilities

Carter Lemon Camerons LLP acted for the appellant in a case which has confirmed the need for a new notice to be served when plans for works which impact upon Party Walls change.

The case, SAI Ventures Ltd v Compar Properties Ltd Central London County Court 19th August 2016 concerned the development of 41 Pitfield Street, Shoreditch.

Notice was given by the Building Owner, Compar Properties Limited in July 2015 to the Adjoining Owner, Sai Ventures Limited, setting out the proposed works in relation to the party wall. There was no mention in the notice of underpinning the party wall or extending it further into the ground.

A second notice was given by the Building Owner in October 2015 stating that they did not intend “to underpin or otherwise strengthen in order to safeguard the foundations of your building.” The notice proposed an extended basement area, which did not extend the existing party wall downwards.

However, plans sent a few months later in December by the Building Owner’s surveyor to the Adjoining Owner’s surveyors contained details of “mass concrete party wall foundations.”

The Adjoining Owner’s surveyor took the view that the notices given in July and October 2015 did not provide for the works to the party wall detailed in the new plans and asked the Building Owner’s surveyor when notice would be given. Ultimately, this was not forthcoming and the Building Owner’s surveyor and the Third surveyor signed a Party Wall Award in February 2016 which was not agreed by the Adjoining Owner’s surveyor.

We acted for the Adjoining Owner, SAI Ventures Limited in the appeal, which was heard on 22 June 2016.

In his Judgment, His Honour Judge Hand QC found that the notices given in July and October 2015 did not cover the works proposed in the December plans and a new notice was required. In addition, His Honour Judge Hand QC found that the Adjoining Owner had not waived it’s rights to a new notice. This resulted in costs being awarded to our client.

The case adds to the precedents on Party Wall disputes, further clarifying the circumstances where a new notice must be served.

The full judgment can be viewed here.