The Party Wall etc. Act 1996
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 took effect from 1st July 1997 throughout England and Wales. The Act protects the interests of property owners involved or affected by building work.
What does the Act cover?
It covers situations where you intend to carry out building works which involve either; work on an existing wall which is shared with another property; building on the boundary with a neighbouring property or excavating near a neighbouring building.
In these instances, the Act requires a formal notice to be served on the owner of an adjoining property before undertaking building work. Agreement should be reached with the adjoining owner before the work starts.
The Act protects owners from a situation where work carried out by a neighbour could affect their property. It also allows people to carry out work without being hindered by unreasonable neighbours.
You must establish whether that work falls within the scope of the Act. If it does, you are required to serve the statutory notice on all those defined by the Act as adjoining owners.
You should remember that reaching agreement with adjoining owners on a project that falls within the scope of the Act, does not remove the possible need for Planning Permission or Building Regulation Approval. It is a civil matter between building owners.
Please note the Building Control service does not control or enforce the Party Wall Act.
In order to be clear whether your planned work does come within the Act, you may wish to seek professional advice.
We have produced a simple guide [447kb] for householders dealing with the Act for the first time. This provides an introduction to the Act and its implications on your development.
The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors have also produced useful advice to owners. There is also a free Communities and Local Government (CLG) booklet available. The Party Wall etc Act 1996: explanatory booklet also includes model letters and forms for your use. Alternatively, further information can also be obtained from the Department for Communities and Local Government web site.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors have also produced a useful guide to the Party Wall Act.
Advice and guidance on the Act, as well as contact details of specialist party wall surveyors who can offer advice may be sought from the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors on 01424 883300, email : email@example.com or Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors.
Enquiries regarding locally based specialists dealing with party wall matters may also be sought at Party Wall Specialists.
The following professional bodies also hold lists of their members who may be willing to offer advice or act as a " surveyor " under the Act.
The Chartered Association of Building Engineers
Tel : 01604 404121
web site at : Chartered Association of Building Engineers
or The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
Tel : 0870 333 1600
web site at : Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
Minor disagreements can quickly become a full-scale dispute involving solicitors letters and threats of court action. A useful RICS - Boundary Disputes Guide tells you what to do if you are faced with a boundary dispute. It offers suggestions and guidance to help resolve disagreements quickly.