When do I need to use the Party Wall Act?
Answer: The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 provides a means for a building owner to carry out works to their property where a boundary occurs i.e. the division of the building owner’s property to the adjoining owner’s (neighbour’s) property. Why use the Party Wall etc. Act 1996?
As Section 20 of the Act stipulates a Party Wall can be defined as either:
Type A Party Wall
- A wall that stands on the property of more than one building owner (picture right), if the actual wall does not extend into the land of a different owner and only the foundation does so, it is not considered a party wall.
Type B Party Wall
Under the act there are more definitions where you may not typically associate the work with a Wall:
Party Structures [s 3, inc. s 2, ss 2 Party Wall etc. Act 1996]
include dividing elements such as floor construction i.e. the floors separating flats are Party Structures. Similarly, the alteration or removal of chimney stacks, breasts and projection forming part of a wall will require notice under the Act.
Excavations [s 6, Party Wall etc. Act 1996]
There are two notifiable instances under Section 6 which relate to excavations, (as an example) these are particularly relevant if you are considering an extension Section 6(1) or a basement conversion Section 6(2).
Party Fence Walls [s 1, Party Wall etc. Act 1996]
Garden walls (proposed and existing) are likely to be either Boundary or Party Fence Walls. The wall in question must be of masonry construction. Concrete posts or timber fences are not in the definition.
Generally, you can assume that: altering, repairing or in some other way affecting the examples shown here you will need to notify the owner of the adjacent property. Remember by exercising ‘the Act’, it gives you the right to carry out such works and without it, that right, as it were, does not exist.
Serving Notice is necessary one or two months in advance of the works commencing. The Adjoining Owner (neighbour) has 14 days to respond to the Notice in writing. Should the Adjoining Owner provide no response or disagree, they dissent and an Award must be made.
describes works to party walls that are non-notifiable such as:
— Rawl Plugs (dependent on size and application)