There’s more to Party Wall matters than Party Walls…

There’s a reason it’s called the “Party Wall etc Act” and the etc part covers a plethora of other things that ordinarily you may not consider to be related. Party Wall matters will need careful consideration where you are carrying out building work which involves any of the following;

–              Works to a party wall

–              Building along or astride the line of junction

–              Excavating within 3m and to a lower level that of the adjoining owner’s foundations (or 6m in some cases)


What do I need to do?

In the event that you are doing building work that falls under one of the above categories you should serve notice on your neighbours under the Party Wall etc Act 1996.

What does the process involve?

The process begins by serving Notice on the relevant adjoining owners and gives them the opportunity to consent, or to dissent the work. The timescales for serving notice and obtaining a response vary dependent on the type of work that is proposed to be carried out. The legislation is an enabling Act and as such, if the adjoining owners dissent, Party Wall Surveyors will be required to be appointed to resolve the dispute, such that you can proceed with your building works. The Party Wall Surveyors will prepare a Party Wall Award which sets out any methods of working that might be required to minimise disruption and this is a legal document so that compensation can be enforced for any damage caused.

What if my neighbours are happy with the work to go ahead?

If you’re on good terms with your neighbours and you’re not digging a triple basement, you might think it’s all a bit overkill, but you will still need to serve Notice. Even if the neighbours are happy to consent, it is a good idea to prepare a Schedule of Condition. This involves a visual inspection and photographic record of how things are prior to the start of the building work so that any damage can be easily identified. It can also help to protect you from claims for any cracks etc that were actually present prior to you carrying out your building work. Where you obtain your neighbours written consent you do not need to involve Party Wall Surveyors.

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