Party Wall Matters & Advice

If you undertake structural alterations to a shared wall, or excavate for an an extension close to a neighbouring property, then you should obtain advice from a party wall surveyor.

The Party Wall Act sets out the rights and duties of the building owners undertaking relevant works and provides protection to the Adjoining Owner. The Act provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in respect to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near to neighbouring buildings.


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Types of Party Wall Notice

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 requires the building owner to serve Notices on their neighbouring owners before they:

  • Build on, astride or up to the boundary line – Section 1 Notice (Line of Junction)
  • Excavate near the neighbours property – Section 6 Notice (3m/6m)
  • Carry out works to a party wall or structure – Section 3 (party structure)

Notices must be served in writing and must contain sufficient description and accompanied drawings to show the intended works.  If the notice is returned signed by the adjoining owner, this is considered agreed and work can commence, however, if the notice is not returned or agreement not given, then the matter is ‘in dispute’ and works cannot proceed until an award is in place.

Types of Notices

Section 1 – Line of Junction

If the building owner intends to build a new wall immediately alongside the boundary between properties, then at least one month before starting the work they must serve notice on the owners of the neighbouring property.

The Notice must describe the intended wall and is usually done by attaching drawings.

If the adjoining owner does not consent to the new wall on the boundary, the building owner must build the new wall on their own land.

 Section 3 – Party Structure

These generally relate to structural alterations to the party wall itself which may be raising or lower the height of the boundary wall, removing of a chimney breast or forming holes to insert steel beams as part of a loft conversion.  A Party Structure notice must be served 60 days prior to work commencing.

If the adjoining owner does not consent to the works notified, then a dispute is deemed to have arisen and both owners are required to appoint a party wall surveyor.

Section 6 – Notice of Excavation

There are two types of section 6 Notice:

  • Excavating within 3 metres of the neighbours building and to a depth lower than the bottom of their foundations
  • Excavating within 6 metres of the neighbours building and where any part of that excavation intersects with a line drawn downwards at an angle of 45 degrees from the bottom of the adjoining owners foundations

All section 6 Notices must be accompanied by plans and sections showing the site and depth of the proposed excavation and its proximity to the adjoining owners building. The notice should indicate if the building owner proposes to underpin or otherwise strengthen or safeguard the foundations of the adjoining owner’s property.

If the adjoining owner does not consent to the works notified, then a dispute is deemed to have arisen and both owners are required to appoint a party wall surveyor.

A ‘dispute’ has arisen, what now?

Where a dispute has arisen, both parties must appoint a party wall surveyor and it is the duty of these surveyors to resolve the dispute through the issue of an ‘Award’

The appointed surveyors will examine the adjoining property, review the design proposals and produce a photographic schedule of condition, together with an Award describing such works and any additional precautionary measures to be undertaken by the building owner.

It should be remembered the Party Wall Act 1996 is not only designed to assist the development process, but also make it obligatory for the building owners to inform the adjoining owners about their works.  The Act is not intended to restrict or delay works and provides the adjoining owners with certain rights and protections.

Masefields party wall surveyors

Masefields regularly provide party wall advice on residential and commercial developments to private clients, developers and contractors on schemes ranging from domestic extensions to new build projects, having acted for both the developing building owner and the adjoining owners.

We offer independent expert guidance, carrying out preliminary party wall assessments, identifying potential party wall issues and design stage guidance, often allowing minor changes to remove or reduce potential party wall implications. We also produce, serve and receive party wall notices and in conjunction with other appointed surveyors, produce and issue the Party Wall Award detailing resolution to the ‘dispute’

If you have any concerns regarding your proposed development or have received a Notice from your neighbour, please give Masefields a call and our surveyors will be happy to discuss your project in detail.

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