Party Wall Matters

The Party Wall Etc Act 1996 requires that either one or two surveyors be appointed in matters that affect buildings and land adjacent to each other. 

Spencer Pughe Associates can act as Party Wall surveyors for property owners and guide them through the provisions and mechanisms of the Act, ensure that the necessary notices are presented, or received as the case maybe as it is essential that any works, apart from very minor construction work, is considered under this Act and the appropriate notices given.

The Party Wall Act 1996 explained.

The Party Wall Act 1996 and gives you rights and responsibilities to parties owning property, where an adjoining party or you plans to undertake certain building work or excavations.

The Party Wall Act does not affect any requirement for Planning Permission or Building Regulation Approval for any work undertaken. Likewise, having Planning Permission and/or Building Regulation Approval does not negate the requirements under the Party Wall Act.

The Party Wall Act comes into effect if someone is planning to do work on a relevant structure, for the purposes of the Act 'party wall' does not just mean the wall between two semi-detached properties, it covers:

  • A wall forming part of only one building but which is on the boundary line between two (or more) properties.
  • A wall which is common to two (or more) properties, this includes where someone built a wall and a neighbour subsequent built something butting up to it.
  • A garden wall, where the wall is astride the boundary line (or butts up against it) and is used to separate the properties but is not part of any building.
  • Floors and ceilings of flats etc.
  • Excavation near  to a neighbouring property.

As with all work affecting neighbours, it is always better to reach a friendly agreement rather than resort to any law. Even where the work requires a notice to be served, it is better to informally discuss the intended work, consider the neighbours comments, and amend your plans (if appropriate) before serving the notice.

What work can be done without notice/permission.

Under the Party Wall Act some work is not covered. Such work include:

  • Putting up shelves and wall units.
  • Replastering.
  • Electrical rewiring.

What work needs a notice and permission.

The general principle of the Party Wall Act is that all work which might have an effect upon the structural strength or support function of the party wall or might cause damage to the neighbouring side of the wall must be notified. If in doubt, feel free to contact us to discuss any concerns and we would be happy to assist.

Work covered by the Party Wall Act include:

  • To demolish and/or rebuild a party wall.
  • To increase the height or thickness of a party wall.
  • Insertion of a damp proof coarse (either chemical injection or a physical dpc).
  • Cutting into the party wall to take load bearing beams.
  • Underpinning a party wall.
  • Excavations within 3 metres of a neighbouring building where the excavation will go below the bottom of the foundations of the neighbouring building.
  • Excavations within 6 metres of a neighbouring building where the excavation will go below a line drawn 45° downwards from the bottom of the foundations of the neighbouring building.