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The Party Wall etc. Act 1996

What's it all about?


The Party Wall etc Act 1996 provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near to neighbouring buildings. A building owner proposing to start work covered by the Act must give adjoining owners notice of their intentions in the way stipulated in the Act.

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 grants extensive rights (which do not exist within common law), to Building Owners undertaking certain construction work as defined within the Act. It legally obliges Building Owners to serve a formal Notice on Adjoining Owners before starting any works, allowing the Adjoining Owners to seek professional representation by appointing a Party Wall Surveyor (if they so wish).

A Party Wall Award is a legally binding document that sets out who the parties are, includes details of the proposed work and what safeguards have been agreed to ensure that those works are undertaken with the minimum of risk and without causing unnecessary inconvenience to the adjoining occupiers.

For a detailed explanation of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996, download the government booklet for free here.

Building Owners

A 'Building owner' is an owner who wishes to undertake building works which fall under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.  If you intend to carry out building work which involves one of the following categories:

  1. Work on an existing wall or structure shared with another property (section 2 of the Act)

  2. Building a free standing wall or a wall of a building up to or astride the boundary with a neighbouring property (section 1 of the Act)

  3. Excavating near a neighbouring building (section 6 of the Act)

then you must find out whether that work falls within the Act. If it does, you will need to serve notice on all Adjoining Owners. Contact us for more information!

Adjoining Owners

An “Adjoining owner” could be any owner of land, buildings, storeys or rooms adjoining those of the building owner or located within the distances specified in Section 6 of the Act.

Adjoining owners often only become aware of their neighbour’s proposed works when a party wall notice arrives through the letter box.  If you’ve received a notice and would like some guidance on your options and how to protect your property then contact our team today!  

Or perhaps your neighbour is planning to have work carried out which you will be affected by but you haven't received formal notice - if you're unsure of your options then please get in touch - our team would be happy to help with your queries.

Our surveyors are proud to be members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors.  If you have a question about the Act or for more information on the services we offer, then please contact our surveying department - we look forward to hearing from you!

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