Party Wall Letter

We notice you have recently applied for planning consent/building regulation approval on your property.

You may be wondering whether the works covered by or approved under your planning application or building regulation application are notifiable under The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (‘The Act’).

It is mandatory to serve notice for certain works that are covered under the Act and therefore this letter is a basic guide as to what work is notifiable and how the Act works.

The Act came into force on the 1st July 1997 and applies throughout England and Wales. It does not apply to Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Purpose of the Act

The purpose of the Act is to put a framework in place, in which issues over party wall matters can be resolved without expensive legal action between neighbours. It is written to assist building owners (the owners of the property to which the works apply) to accomplish their proposed work and at the same time give protection to the adjoining owners (neighbours) insofar as they may be affected.

The Act is therefore designed to enable various works to proceed without hindrance and not to place obstacles in the way of the works in progress. If the adjoining owner dissents to a notice served on him by the building owner this does not mean that he can stop the works proceeding. Instead it means that he has the right to appoint a party wall surveyor to prepare and serve an award that would take into consideration the adjoining owners’ rights as well as authorising the time and manner of execution of the proposed works. In other words, the Act sets out in detail what can be done when building works are proposed that may have an effect upon the adjoining owner’s property.

The Act is applicable in the following simplified situations.

1.Building on a ‘line of junction’ (i.e. boundary) that is not built upon.

This may be an outside wall of your extension or a new wall that sits on or alongside of the boundary between you or your property.

2.Undertaking various works to an existing party wall or a boundary wall.

This may involve building into or onto a party wall between properties when carrying out a loft conversion or removing a chimney breast from the party wall.

 3.Excavating within certain distances of the adjoining property.

The most common situation is excavating for foundations or drainage for a new extension which lies within 3 metres of the adjoining owners (neighbours) property.

The building owner(s) i.e. the owners having the work done are responsible for any fees in respect of notices or any Award served under the Act.

Marwood Surveyors Ltd will be able to offer advice on any of the above and also advise on the correct procedure whether you are a building owner wishing to serve notice or an adjoining owner who has received notice from a building owner for any proposed works.

Following a consultation with our Party Wall Surveyor will be happy to provide you with a free fee quotation for Party Wall Surveying services.