The Party Wall Act covers three distinct types of work, alterations (including enclosing and inserting Beams) to a shared (party) wall, the construction of new walls on the boundary and excavation work close to neighbouring properties. The Act is often overlooked by owners planning to extend their property, but should be taken seriously as it permits works and offers protection to both Owners. It is a legal requirement and ignoring it could lead to delayed/stopped works and spurious claims.
Where work falls within the scope of the Act it is necessary for a Building Owner to serve notice and obtain the affected Adjoining Owner’s consent; if that consent is not forthcoming the parties are deemed to be ‘in dispute’ under the Act and surveyors must be appointed so that the dispute can be resolved by way of a Party Wall Agreement.
An Adjoining Owner will be notified of a neighbour’s plans to extend during the Planning Permission application process (if required) or by other communication, Neighbour liaison is encouraged early on, to avoid disputes and if possible / appropriate obtain agreement. An Adjoining Owner has the option to either consent or dissent to a notice – if no response is made within 14 days the parties are deemed to be in dispute under the act. Where a dispute arises each Owner must appoint a surveyor so that a Party Wall Award can be agreed.