What is it?
The Party Wall Etc. Act 1996 is legislation giving surveyors the role of working to avoid or solve disputes. As such, we do this by administering the Act’s dispute resolution mechanism to produce an Award. Some works near or adjoining your neighbour are notifiable under the Act. Therefore, these will require a Notice to be served on them prior to starting works.
Amongst other work, we will inspect and prepare a Schedule of Condition. This is for both parties, and is a useful document that records the property’s existing condition. Above all, it protects them against any unforeseen damage resulting from construction.
What does the Act do?
The Act came into force on 1 July 1997 and applies throughout England and Wales. (It does not apply to Scotland or Northern Ireland).
This piece of legislation provides owners of land and buildings with certain rights and obligations to other owners. Moreover, these rights and obligations are in relation to party walls and other structures near the boundary. It provides a framework to allow owners to properly exercise these rights and meet its obligations in a structured manner. The framework also provides for preventing or resolving disputes. These may arise in relation to the notifiable works on or near the boundary or party wall.
Therefore, anyone intending to carry out work (anywhere in England and Wales) of the kinds described in the Act must give Adjoining Owners notice of their intentions. The Act applies even to Crown, Government and Local Authority owned property.
Where the intended work is to an existing party wall (section 2 of the Act) a notice must be given even where the work will not extend beyond the center line of a party wall.
Do I need to serve a Party Wall Notice?
The Act allows owners to undertake ‘Notifiable Works’ to or near their Party Wall. A Building Owner is also obligated to serve Notice on the Adjoining Owner up to two months before commencement of the works to allow the them the chance to ‘Consent’ or ‘Dissent’.
Below is a non exhaustive list of Notifiable Works that a Building Owner is permitted to do following service of the appropriate Notice:
Line of Junction Notice (Section 1)
Erection of a wall
Party Structure Notice (Section 2)
Repair | Insert a Damp Proof course | Underpin the whole thickness of a wall | Cut in, to support a beam | Raise the height | Extend downwards | Demolish and rebuild
As part of the works, excavations for foundations or a basement may be required. If the Building Owner’s excavations are within a certain distance (noted below) of the Adjoining Owners structure, they are obligated to serve the appropriate Notice.
Excavation Notice (Section 6)
Excavations within 3 meters that are also to a lower depth than the neighbouring owners’ foundations.
Excavations within 6 meters that intersect with a 45 degree line down from the lowest point of the neighbouring owners’ foundations.