Party Wall Advice

Since the Party Wall etc Act 1996 came into force in 1997, homeowners in England and Wales building owners undertaking works near their neighbours property have had to serve notice, and follow a specific statutory procedure before undertaking building work, and during the process.

If excavation work is to be within 3 m (sometimes 6 m) of a neighbours foundation, even if this footing is merely supporting a garden wall, a six-month notice of adjacent excavation must be served – properly, in full compliance with the act.

Work up to the boundary requires a Line of Junction Notice, whilst a two-month Party Structure Notice must be served before attempting any work affecting the party wall. Similar requirements apply to a party fence wall – a specific type of garden wall.

After serving notice, and the notice period, the appointed surveyor’s agree on an award, which determines how the works are to proceed, i.e. as regards compliance with the drawings, health and safety procedures, as well as common law regarding addressing trespass and damage aspects. Sometimes those executing such works failed to appreciate that adopting party Wall procedures is also for their protection – say in fending off unfair claims for damage, or trespass.

The small works, it is good practice to use only an ‘agreed surveyor’ to jointly act for both property owners, should problems arise, to minimise surveyor’s fees.

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