Party walls separate buildings owner by different parties, including both structural boundaries between connected properties, such as terraced houses, and garden wall boundaries.
The Party Wall etc Act 1996 permits owners to carry out certain specific works which would affect the party wall, including works which would directly affect its thickness. At the same time, the rights of other parties involved are protected.
The Party Wall Act is NOT intended to apply to everyday repair jobs which do not affect the structural integrity of the Party Wall, such as:
- fixing a plug socket
- building a shelf
- installing electrical wiring
However, there remains a number of works which you must inform your neighbour or Party Wall co-owner of, before starting. These include:
- taking the bearing of a beam, as required during a loft conversion
- excavation of foundations within three metres of a neighbour's structure
- excavation of foundations within six metres of a neighbour's structure, deeper than a line drawn at 45° from the bottom of their foundations
- inserting a damp proof course, even if only on your side
- raising a party wall, and cutting off any objects with interfere
- demolishing and/or rebuilding a party wall
- cutting a flashing into an adjoining building
Resolving Party Wall Disputes
If written agreement has not been given within 14 days of notice, the Act requires the appointment of an 'agreed surveyor' to act impartially. Failing that, each owner can separately appoint a surveyor.
The surveyor(s) will detail the work to be undertaken affecting the Party Wall, and will record the condition of the relevant parts of the properties before work can begin.
If responsibility for completion and payment for the Party Wall work is under dispute, an award will determine which party is responsible. Where appropriate, work is apportioned between the owners.
If you are currently engaged in a Party Wall dispute, or require further information, call Fridaysmove on 0330 660 0286 and speak to a survey specialist today.