The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 provides homeowners with a guide for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavating near adjacent properties
The scope of the Act is limited to the following sections:
SECTION 1 of the act applies when the proposed works is to erect a new party wall which has not already been built on. There are two types of party wall:
Party wall type A which is where the party wall stands astride the boundary of land belonging to two or more owners, such as a wall of a building, a wall separating two buildings, or a party fence wall between two separate plots.
Party wall type B is when a party wall stands fully on one owner’s land but is used by two, or more owners. An example of this is when ‘Owner A’ builds a wall to begin with and then ‘Owner B’ has built their building against it without constructing their own wall.
SECTION 2 applies when the proposed construction project involves various sorts of works to an existing party structure. This part of the Act is most commonly used to:
- repair a party wall, floor or partition that separates buildings or parts of buildings
- underpin an existing party wall, to prevent settlement
- raise the height of a party wall, for example adding another storey
- to extend a party wall downwards, for example to create a basement
- to cut into a party wall or cut off projections from a party wall, for example when removing a chimney breast
SECTION 6 applies to the excavations or the construction of new foundations for a new building within either 3 metres of a neighbouring owners building or structure, or within 6 metres of a neighbouring building or structure, where any part of that work will meet a line drawn at 45 degrees from the bottom of the neighbouring foundations.
Prior to commencing any construction work as described within these sections, the home owner must give adjoining owners notice of these works. The party structure notice, relating to Section 2 must be served at least two months before the commencement date, while notices for Sections 1 and 6 must be served at least one month before the works are due to start.
There is no standard form of notice, although it is advisable to use the notices published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
A guide further explaining how the Party Wall etc. Act may affect someone who either wishes to carry out work covered by the Act or received notification under the Act can be found at the following link: Party Wall etc. Act 1996 - Explanatory Booklet
Under their general terms of service Arcline Architecture would advise on where the Party Wall Act applies and assist the client with the appointment of a Party Wall surveyor to advise on the next steps.
Arcline Architecture has worked closely with several party wall surveyors within High Wycombe, Aylesbury and Beaconsfield etc. and has a great deal of experience dealing with the Act.