At Murrins Surveyors we offer expert party wall surveying services to home owners and business throughout the south east of England.
On any project, even a home extension, it is important to consider the party wall act at an early stage because it can add thousands of pounds to the cost of a project.
The first thing you will need to do is determine whether you need to send party wall notices to your neighbours. Party Walls Direct is a site run by us that allows you to instantly generate free party wall notices.
If you know what notices you need to serve you can click on the links below to get your notices for free. If you don’t know, then there is some guidance on this page that can help you.
Party Wall Advice
The Party Wall (etc) Act 1996 provides a framework for preventing or resolving disputes that relate to party walls (walls under ownership of two or more people), party structures, boundary walls, and for excavations carried out near to neighbouring buildings.Where a person intends to carry out works covered under the Act, they must serve appropriate notice on the adjoining owners who are affected by the works.
Works that are covered by the Act include:
- Various works to an existing party structure
- New building at or astride the boundary line with another property
- Excavations with 3m or 6m depending on the depth
Notices can be served by anyone, but are typically served by a Party Wall Surveyor. The notices must contain certain information in order for them to be deemed valid by the Act.
Once the notices are served upon your neighbours, they then have 14 days to either consent to the works or dissent. Note that if they do not respond to the notice within the 14 day period, they are automatically deemed to have dissented.
In the event that your neighbour dissents, then a Party Wall Award must be prepared. This document sets out how the works are to be carried out an includes various other details relating to the progress of the works, including drawings and method statements where appropriate.
The Party Wall Award will be agreed by the surveyor(s), signed and issued to the owners. From that point on, the words must proceed in accordance with the Award.
Failure to comply with the Party Wall Act can lead to your neighbour seeking a injunction to prevent you from carrying on with the works.
Can I start works before the Award is finalised?
You cannot start any work that is applicable to the Party Wall Act. Therefore if you have other elements of the works which are not relevant to the Act, then these can be commenced. However, any work to a party structure, or otherwise covered by the Act should not be started until the Award is in place, or your neighbour has given their written consent for the works to proceed.
When is a Party Wall Notice required?
The Party Wall Act requires that notice is served upon your neighbours for only certain types of works. There are three types of notices, and these cover three primary types of works.The types of notice are:
- Party Structure Notice: covering works directly to the party wall or structure.
- Line of Junction Notice: covering new building on, or next to the boundary line.
- Adjacent Excavation Notice: covering excavations near to neighbouring property.
Building on the boundary line, and excavations
You are required to serve a Line of Junction Notice and Adjacent Excavation Notice at least 1 month before the works start. The works covered in these notices is quite self explanatory but there are a few points covered here:
- Line of Junction Notice: If you are building on, or immediately adjacent to, the boundary line with another property, you must serve a Line of Junction Notice at least on month before you start the construct the wall.
- 3m Adjacent Excavation Notice: If you are excavating, for any purpose, within 3m of a neighbouring property, AND to a depth greater than the neighbouring property’s foundations, you must serve an Adjacent Excavation Notice at least 1 month before the excavation starts.
- 6m Adjacent Excavation Notice: If you are excavating, for any purpose, within 6m of a neighbour property, AND to a depth greater than the path formed by drawing a diagonal line at a 45 degree angle downwards from the base of the neighbouring property’s foundations, you must serve an Adjacent Excavation Notice at least 1 month before the excavation starts.
Works to a party wall
If you plan to do works covered by the Party Wall Act directly to a party wall or structure, then you must serve a Party Structure Notice at least 2 months before the works commence.
Works covered by a Party Structure Notice
- Underpinning, thickening or raising a party structure.
- Making good, repairing, demolishing or rebuilding a party structure.
- Cutting into a party structure, for any purpose such as inserting flashings, beams etc.
There are many other circumstances where a Party Structure Notice may be required, and if you are at all in doubt you should speak to a party wall surveyor.