Party Wall Etc Act 1996

Party walls are shared walls between two properties, for example in a semi-detached house. If your project falls within the scope of the Party Wall Act, then it requires a notice to be served.

Examples of works might include chimney breast removal or the insertion of beams and bearings, most often in loft conversions. Another example might be for excavations for foundations deeper than the adjoining owners within prescribed distances of their property.

Your neighbour’s response to the notices will determine what happens next. It will often require a schedule of condition to be prepared and Party Wall Award to be served.

Close up of a selection of architectural drawings, some flat and some rolled up into tubes.
A architect drawing of a cross-section of a property.

This is a quasi-legal process with many pitfalls for the inexperience homeowner. The whole process is designed to protect both the building owner & the adjoining owners.

It is very important to ensure that due process in accordance with the Act has been followed. Should a dispute arise that requires court settlement, if it subsequently becomes apparent that the correct procedures had not been followed, then the Party Wall Award could be disregarded. This will leave the building owner open to a claim.

Whilst this sounds a bit heavy handed, it’s helpful if a good neighbourly relationship exists. Quite often the adjoining owner’s response to the notice can be the end of the matter. In which case, no further action is required.

Party Wall Advice

Keith Chandler is a member of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and has extensive experience of the Party Wall Act. He has many years’ experience administering it, serving notices, preparing the Schedule of Conditions and preparation of Party Wall Awards. Keith will act for you as either a building owner surveyor, or an agreed surveyor, whichever is appropriate.

If you are concerned about a neighbour that is carrying out works, he can also act as an adjoining owners’ surveyor. Keith can advise if the works fall within the scope of the Act and advise on the best course of action.

Property showing a Partywall

Party Walls in Chichester

If you are thinking about making changes to your house and need advice on Party Walls, then get in touch. We’d love to hear from you. We are based in Chichester, but we offer our services throughout West Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and parts of South London. Call us today on 07764 578781 or send us a message.