Adjoining Owner Information

The Party Wall Act obliges property owners to serve formal Notice on their neighbours of building works that might affect the party structure between their properties. If you haven’t had a Notice and works have started, then knock on their door and ask what is happening, it may be that the building works don’t require a Notice. If you are not certain, contact us to find our more.

Typically, you will have been sent a Notice which may underline either ‘consent’ or ‘dissent’ to the works. This sounds like you can prevent works going ahead – but it doesn’t. If you ‘consent’ then the work will proceed without any checks under the Act. We always recommend that adjoining owners dissent to the Notices as this will ensure you will have the protection of the Party Wall Act rather than relying on a personal claim if things go wrong. When you dissent you need to appoint a surveyor to help you along the way in this process.

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The following are typical examples of works which could be covered by the Act:-

  • Excavation works for an extension within three metres proximity of a neighbouring property or shared structure
  • Cutting into the party wall to insert beams for a loft conversion.
  • Removing chimney breasts on a party wall.
  • Underpinning a party wall for a basement extension.

As an Adjoining Owner, you will have 14 days in which to respond to the Notice with one of the following options:-

  1. Consent to the works.
  2. Dissent to the works and appoint your own Surveyor to act as the Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor.
  3. Dissent to the works and appoint the Building Owner’s Surveyor to act as the Agreed Surveyor.

With option 2 and 3 a Surveyor or Surveyors must be appointed so that the dispute can be resolved by way of a Party Wall Award.

Your neighbour is required to pay all of the surveyor's reasonable costs so it should cost you nothing. After this, your property will be inspected by the surveyor(s) and its condition recorded. Then a Party Wall Award document is issued detailing the works and also any precautions that might need to be taken to protect your property. The works then go ahead and your property is inspected on completion to check for any damage. If there is damage, then you have the choice of letting their contractor put it right or taking compensation instead.

The Party Wall Act The Party Wall etc Act 1996 provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.

A building owner proposing to start work covered by the Act must give adjoining owners notice of their intentions in the way set down in the Act. Adjoining owners can agree or disagree with what is proposed.

Where they disagree, the Act provides a mechanism for resolving disputes.
The Act is separate from obtaining planning permission or building regulations approval.