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The Party Wall Agreement

What is the party wall agreement? 

The party wall act was designed in England and Wales to legally settle construction disputes between neighbours. Sometimes, carrying out building work can be loud, messy and quite disruptive. This can cause a dispute between you and your neighbour when they start to complain.  Furthermore, this act prevents this from happening and is settled legally. If your neighbour complains to your local council with a valid reason of why your project would affect them, they can stop you from starting. 

Reasons why your neighbour might complain  

  • Firstly, noise  
  • Lack of light  
  • Lack of privacy  
  • Could affect their home. For example, change their foundation or look of their home. 
  • Finally, damage to their home  

Will this act stop my project? 

There is a chance your neighbour could stop you from carrying out building works if you live in a semi-detached, terrace, flat, or your detached home is close to your neighbours’ properties. Before starting building works you must serve your neighbour a notice so they know that building works are going to be carried out. After this, your neighbour has 14 days to say that don’t agree after the notice has been served. So, other things you need to think about that can stop your project is: 

  • Floors and ceilings  
  • Shared boundry walls 

Building works that come under the party wall act 

  • A loft conversion that means the boundry wall will need to be worked on  
  • Adding another storey which is on the boundry wall 
  • Changing your homes foundation  
  • Rebuilding a boundry wall 

What is a party wall? 

In addition, a party wall is a boundary wall that separates adjoining homes. So, technically speaking you only own one half of the wall meaning, if you’re wanting to carry out any works on that shared wall you will need to ask your neighbour for consent. 

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Everything To Know About The Party Wall Act 1996

The party wall act is very important if you’re planning work that will affect a shared wall between you and your neighbours. Here’s everything you need to know about the act.  

What is a party wall?  

A party wall is a dividing partition between two adjoining buildings that are shared by the occupants of each residence or business. Typically, the builder lays the wall along a property line dividing two terraced houses. So, that one-half of the wall’s thickness lies on each side.  

What is the party wall act?  

The party wall act 1996 introduced a procedure for resolving disputes between owners of neighbouring properties. As a result of one owner’s intention to carry out works that would affect the party wall.  

The long title –  

An act to make provision in respect of party walls, and excavation and construction in proximity to certain buildings or structures; and for connected purposes.  

What does the act do?  

The act came into force on the 1st of July 1997 and applies throughout England and Wales. It provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls. Also boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.  

Anyone intending to carry out work of the kinds described in the act must give adjoining owners notice of their intentions. A notice must be given even where the work will not extend beyond the centre line of a party wall.  

It is often helpful if the owners consider themselves joint owners of the entire party wall instead of sole owners of part of it. Although there is no written consent or agreement, the act provides for the resolution of disputes.  

What does the act cover?  

  • Various work that is going to be carried out directly to an existing party wall or structure.  
  • New buildings at or astride the boundary line between properties.  
  • Excavation within 3 or 6 metres of a neighbouring building or structure. Depending on the depth of the hole or proposed foundations. 

What happens if you don’t serve a party wall notice?  

A party wall notice offers you protection from false or malicious claims from your neighbours and from expensive legal costs. If you fail to submit a Notice and damage is caused, when your neighbours take you to court it will be a black mark against you before you even attempt and defence.  

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Important Things To Know About The Party Wall Process

What is a party wall?  

A party wall is a dividing partition between two adjoining buildings that is shared by the occupants of each residence or business.  

The party wall act –  

The party wall act 1996 applies to houses in England and Wales and was devised to prevent building work that could compromise the structural integrity. The act can be used to stop disputes between neighbours and to help resolve them if they should arise.  

Overview –  

You must tell your neighbours if you want to carry out any building work near or on your shared property boundary.  

Party walls stand on the land of 2 or more owners and either:  

  • Form part of a building  
  • Don’t form part of a building, such as a garden wall  

Walls on one owner’s land used by other owners to separate their buildings are also party walls.  

Party wall agreement –  

You must tell your neighbours and provide them with a notice and come up with an agreement in writing. If you use a builder or an architect, they can advise you on this. 

Once you’ve given notice your neighbour can:  

  • Give consent in writing  
  • Refuse consent  
  • Serve a counter notice requesting additional works be done at the same time 

Your neighbours must let you know in writing within 14 days if they consent to your notice, and you must do the same with a counter-notice   

The following works require you to obtain a party wall agreement  

  • Any work to shared walls between semi-detached and terraced houses  
  • Work to garden boundary walls  
  • Loft conversions that mean cutting into the wall  
  • Making party walls thicker or higher  
  • Building a second storey extension above a shared wall  
  • Building a new wall up to or off the party wall  

What happens if a neighbour ignores the act – 

If an adjoining owner doesn’t respond, then you may appoint a surveyor to act for the adjoining owner. The act allows you to do this without having any further discussion with a neighbour.  

What is a Party Wall?

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