Basic Party Wall Guidelines

How would the Party Wall etc. Act of 1996 apply to my planned extension?

You may be familiar with the Party Wall etc. Act of 1996, but you have no clue how it affects you or the property you own. If you want to add an addition to the rear of your home or convert your attic into a new bedroom, you will likely be obliged to provide notice to one or more of your neighbours before you begin the construction.

The next step is to determine if the Act applies to the proposed activity and whose neighbours it is likely to impact.

Despite the fact that the Act is divided into 22 parts, there are basically just three provisions that must be considered when planning any kind of building project.

These three parts pertain to the many forms of notifications that may be served, and they are as follows:

  •       Notice of Line of Junction (building on the boundary line)
  •       Notice Party Structure
  •       Notification of Nearby Excavation

It is likely that you may need to submit many of these notifications, depending on the nature of your intended work.

Below is a quick explanation of when each of the aforementioned notifications is necessary:

Construction on the line of Intersection

The Line of Junction is an unseen boundary between your property and your neighbour’s. In a normal residential environment, you and your neighbour are generally divided by a wooden fence, which often stands on the intersection line.

If you want to demolish the fence in order to construct a new home extension at the rear of your property, and you want the side wall of the extension to stand on this ‘line of junction,’ you must provide notice to your neighbour.

(NOTE: This section of the Act only applies where there is no existing structure on the junction line. A Line of Junction Notice is not necessary, for instance, if there is a brick wall between you and your neighbour and you want to demolish this wall and construct your expansion in its stead.

The Line of Junction Notice must be issued at least ONE month prior to the scheduled commencement of construction.

Notices of Party Structure

A ‘party’ structure may take a variety of shapes, but is often a wall or other structure shared by two (or more) parties.

If you reside in a terraced or semi-detached home, the ‘party’ wall is the one that separates your home from that of your neighbour.

Sometimes included in party structures are garden walls (also known as party fence walls) and the floor constructions that divide apartments. So, for instance, if you want to destroy a garden wall in order to construct a new expansion, you must provide Section 3 notice.

If you intend to do any work on a shared structure, it is likely that you will need to provide notice to your neighbour. Note that only rather significant works must be reported. If you are installing shelves and need to drill into the wall to place raw plugs, no notification is required. However, if you are converting your loft into a dormer bedroom and need to insert steel beams into the party wall, you must provide notice to the affected neighbour.

There is an entire section of the Act (Section 2) that lists every form of work that requires notification. The sorts of work discussed in this section are extensive, making it impossible to provide a concise summary here. If you are uncertain as to whether your activity falls under the Act, feel free to give us a call so that we can offer project-specific guidance.

A Party Structure Notice must be issued at least TWO months prior to the start of construction.

Notice of Adjacent Excavations

This form of notification is necessary if you intend to conduct excavations on your property that may harm neighbouring properties. When the excavation will be within 3 metres of a neighbour’s property or deeper than their foundation, a notification must be provided.

There is a second sort of notice of adjacent excavation that deals especially with deeper excavations. The distance of properties that may be impacted is increased to 6 metres, although this is contingent on the depth of the excavation being much deeper than a typical foundation. This may be relevant if you are digging a basement.

Using the example of a home expansion, if the foundations for the new extension are within 3 metres of the rear of your neighbour’s house, it is likely that you will need to serve them with a notice. Only if your foundations will be at a deeper depth than your neighbour’s is no notification necessary. Depending on the age of your home, your modern foundation may be deeper than that of your neighbour. Prior to giving notice, you may always drill a test hole to determine the depth of the existing foundations if there is any uncertainty.

A Notice of Adjacent Excavation must be issued at least ONE month prior to the start of construction.

What Occurs Next?

Once notices have been delivered, you must await a response from your neighbour. Your neighbour has two possible responses:

  1. Consent to the notification – this indicates that your neighbour approves of the proposed work and agrees to the notice. After the notification time has elapsed, you may continue with the project.
  2. Dissent to the notification – this indicates that your neighbour is in “conflict” with you over the planned improvements. There are various reasons why a neighbour can object to a notice, but we shall discuss them in a future article.

Party Wall Surveyors must be properly hired in the event of a disagreement. The surveyors will then settle the disagreement and write an award (also known as an agreement). Please check back for further blogs in which we elaborate on the many facets of the Party Wall etc. Act of 1996.

If you have any questions concerning the Act, either because you are planning your own works or because your neighbour has issued you with a notice, please contact us and one of our expert Party Wall Surveyors would be pleased to have an initial conversation with you and explain your alternatives.

How would the Party Wall etc. Act of 1996 apply to my planned extension?

You may be familiar with the Party Wall etc. Act of 1996, but you have no clue how it affects you or the property you own. If you want to add an addition to the rear of your home or convert your attic into a new bedroom, you will likely be obliged to provide notice to one or more of your neighbours before you begin the construction.

The next step is to determine if the Act applies to the proposed activity and whose neighbours it is likely to impact.

Despite the fact that the Act is divided into 22 parts, there are basically just three provisions that must be considered when planning any kind of building project.

These three parts pertain to the many forms of notifications that may be served, and they are as follows:

  •       Notice of Line of Junction (building on the boundary line)
  •       Notice Party Structure
  •       Notification of Nearby Excavation

It is likely that you may need to submit many of these notifications, depending on the nature of your intended work.

Below is a quick explanation of when each of the aforementioned notifications is necessary:

Construction on the line of Intersection

The Line of Junction is an unseen boundary between your property and your neighbour’s. In a normal residential environment, you and your neighbour are generally divided by a wooden fence, which often stands on the intersection line.

If you want to demolish the fence in order to construct a new home extension at the rear of your property, and you want the side wall of the extension to stand on this ‘line of junction,’ you must provide notice to your neighbour.

(NOTE: This section of the Act only applies where there is no existing structure on the junction line. A Line of Junction Notice is not necessary, for instance, if there is a brick wall between you and your neighbour and you want to demolish this wall and construct your expansion in its stead.

The Line of Junction Notice must be issued at least ONE month prior to the scheduled commencement of construction.

Notices of Party Structure

A ‘party’ structure may take a variety of shapes, but is often a wall or other structure shared by two (or more) parties.

If you reside in a terraced or semi-detached home, the ‘party’ wall is the one that separates your home from that of your neighbour.

Sometimes included in party structures are garden walls (also known as party fence walls) and the floor constructions that divide apartments. So, for instance, if you want to destroy a garden wall in order to construct a new expansion, you must provide Section 3 notice.

If you intend to do any work on a shared structure, it is likely that you will need to provide notice to your neighbour. Note that only rather significant works must be reported. If you are installing shelves and need to drill into the wall to place raw plugs, no notification is required. However, if you are converting your loft into a dormer bedroom and need to insert steel beams into the party wall, you must provide notice to the affected neighbour.

There is an entire section of the Act (Section 2) that lists every form of work that requires notification. The sorts of work discussed in this section are extensive, making it impossible to provide a concise summary here. If you are uncertain as to whether your activity falls under the Act, feel free to give us a call so that we can offer project-specific guidance.

A Party Structure Notice must be issued at least TWO months prior to the start of construction.

Notice of Adjacent Excavations

This form of notification is necessary if you intend to conduct excavations on your property that may harm neighbouring properties. When the excavation will be within 3 metres of a neighbour’s property or deeper than their foundation, a notification must be provided.

There is a second sort of notice of adjacent excavation that deals especially with deeper excavations. The distance of properties that may be impacted is increased to 6 metres, although this is contingent on the depth of the excavation being much deeper than a typical foundation. This may be relevant if you are digging a basement.

Using the example of a home expansion, if the foundations for the new extension are within 3 metres of the rear of your neighbour’s house, it is likely that you will need to serve them with a notice. Only if your foundations will be at a deeper depth than your neighbour’s is no notification necessary. Depending on the age of your home, your modern foundation may be deeper than that of your neighbour. Prior to giving notice, you may always drill a test hole to determine the depth of the existing foundations if there is any uncertainty.

A Notice of Adjacent Excavation must be issued at least ONE month prior to the start of construction.

What Occurs Next?

Once notices have been delivered, you must await a response from your neighbour. Your neighbour has two possible responses:

  1. Consent to the notification – this indicates that your neighbour approves of the proposed work and agrees to the notice. After the notification time has elapsed, you may continue with the project.
  2. Dissent to the notification – this indicates that your neighbour is in “conflict” with you over the planned improvements. There are various reasons why a neighbour can object to a notice, but we shall discuss them in a future article.

Party Wall Surveyors must be properly hired in the event of a disagreement. The surveyors will then settle the disagreement and write an award (also known as an agreement). Please check back for further blogs in which we elaborate on the many facets of the Party Wall etc. Act of 1996.

If you have any questions concerning the Act, either because you are planning your own works or because your neighbour has issued you with a notice, please contact us and one of our expert Party Wall Surveyors would be pleased to have an initial conversation with you and explain your alternatives.

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