When does the Party Wall Act come into force?
Before you start construction work at your property, you must familiarise yourself with the Party Wall etc Act 1996.
When does the Party Wall act apply?
You might have legal duties under the Party Wall Act.
You might need to ‘serve notice(s)’ when:
1. You are planning to build on up to the boundary.
2. You are planning building works on a shared structure; including party walls and floors/ceilings in a flat. It could be the external wall of a neighbouring building or a boundary wall.
3. You are digging out and building foundations close to a neighbouring structure and you are going deeper than the neighbouring foundations.
Examples of building work that require notice to be served on neighbours
- Removing a chimney breast
- Cutting into the party wall or external wall of your neighbours building for a new flashing
- Making a party wall taller, shorter, or deeper
- Knocking down or rebuilding the party wall
You don’t need to tell your neighbour about minor works such as plastering or drilling small holes into the wall (to put up shelves or pictures).
What do you need to tell your neighbours?
You must give your neighbours up to two months’ notice before you start the work.
The notice must be in writing. You can speak to them in person, but they must receive a letter known as a party wall notice.
Once the neighbour has the notice they can either:
- Give consent in writing (verbal consent isn’t ideal)
- Refuse consent. This will take you down the party wall dispute resolution process.
If they don’t respond in 14 days, then you are automatically in a dispute with them.
If your building work could affect multiple properties, then you will need to serve each owner with written notice(s).
Appointing a Party Wall surveyor
If you can’t reach an agreement with your neighbour or they don’t respond to the notice, then you MUST appoint a Party Wall Surveyor to prepare a Party Wall Award.
Each owner can appoint their own Party Wall Surveyor. Or you and the adjoining owner can appoint one together known as an ‘agreed surveyor’.
If the neighbour refuses or fails to appoint a surveyor then you can appoint one on their behalf.
How we can help?
Are you are carrying out works and need to get a party wall agreement?
We have a lot of experience helping building owners and adjoining neighbours to navigate through the nuances of the Party Wall Act in a timely and cost effective way.
It is beneficial to get our early involvement to determine if any Party Wall notices must be served and who they must be served on. Our early advice will help to understand the costs and timescales and help avoid works stalling.
We help to get it right first time.
What if you receive a party wall notice from your neighbours?
Get in touch with us and we will advise if your neighbour has rights to do the work. We can give advice on understanding costs, your rights and how and when the work should be carried out safely.
We help protect your property from damage and protect you from unnecessary inconvenience.
Party Wall Award
The party wall award is an agreement. It is legally binding if the works are carried out. It protects the position of the parties and advises on
- What works are intended to be carried out
- When and how they can be carried out
- Who will pay (including the surveyor’s fees)