Party Wall etc. Act 1996

How do I know if the Party Wall Act etc 1996 applies to me?
If you are considering or planning building works, Tate Woodburn can help determine your rights and responsibilities under the act. In this regard, where the Party Wall act does apply, you are referred to as the 'Building owner'.

If you are the neighbour in the above situation, you are known as the 'Adjoining owner'.

Many people are unaware of the obligations as well as rights that the Party Wall Act confers to both Building and Adjoining owners alike. Building works that proceed without recourse to the act can lead to significant difficulties including potential legal action, not to mention loss of good neighbourly relations. Importantly, it is not just building works directly affecting a party wall or boundary wall that invoke these obligations.

For example:-

  • If a 'Building Owner' decides to build a fixed structure on his own land e.g. a garage, within 6 meters of a neighbouring party wall, depending on the depth of foundations, the act can still apply with important notification procedures and time conditions being required. Ultimately, whilst the act allows for the Building owner to progress with his/her plans, equally the act is there to help protect the 'Adjoining Owners' interests as well.

    Where an Adjoining owner has concerns regarding a neighbours proposed building alterations e.g. a proposed loft conversion next door, there is provision where they can call in an independent Party wall surveyor to provide help and guidence and who can explain the implications of such works. The surveyor can also help determine changes that will reflect the legitimate interests of the Adjoining owner, that the Building owner must abide by.

  • If a 'Building Owner' decides to build an extension near or on the legal boundary, the requirements of the act stipulate that where there is a disagreement, a Party wall surveyor can step in to guide the process according to a defined protocol. The surveyor/s should ideally be well versed in construction, be able to interpret plans and drawings and ultimately work in a diplomatic way to help avoid and resolve potential conflict.

If, as a Building owner you propose to build on or near a neighbours property but are unsure of your obligations, we can provide necessary guidance including the preparation of the correct notices. If you are aware that a neighbour is planning to build on or near your boundary and you need advice, we can assist you in these matters.

Patrick Skyers, our Associate, is fully qualified to advise on all Party Wall matters. He is a Member of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors (MFPWS). He can be contacted on 0208 870 1010 or via email at . We offer a FREE initial 'telephone consultation, to provide help and guidance on this important subject and how it may apply in your particular situation.