party wall legislation
- here's some info about party wall legislation I got from the following
It might be good to print this off and send it to Noel.
What is a party wall?
If you live in a semi-detached or terrace house you share a wall (or
walls) with your neighbour - that is known as the party wall. It
separates buildings belonging to different owners.
Where a wall separates two different size buildings, only the part
that is used by both properties is considered to be a party wall. The
rest belongs to the person on whose land it stands.
You must get your neighbour's agreement before you can start any
building work such as:
* Damp proofing works
* Some internal refurbishment
* Structural alterations.
In some cases, excavating or constructing foundations for a new
building within three or six metres of neighbouring properties will
also need written agreement.
The Party Wall etc Act
Since the Party Wall etc Act 1996 came into force, homeowners in
England and Wales have had a procedure to follow when building work
involves a party wall or party fence wall.
The Act is designed to minimise disputes by making sure property
owners use a surveyor to determine the time and way in which work is
carried out. You can use an 'agreed surveyor' to act for both property
owners should problems arise.
The Act allows you to carry out work on - or next to - a shared wall.
At the same time protecting the interests of anyone else who might be
affected by that work.
What doesn't the Act cover
The Act doesn't cover everyday minor jobs that don't affect the
neighbours' half of a party wall including:
* Fixing plugs
* Screwing in wall units or shelving
* Adding or replacing some recessed electrical wiring or sockets
* Replastering your walls.
What is covered by the Act?
There are some things that you can only do to a party wall with the
written agreement of the adjoining owner including:
* Cutting into a wall to take the bearing of a beam, for example
for a loft conversion
* Inserting a damp proof course all the way through a wall
* Raising the whole party wall and, if necessary, cutting off any
objects stopping this from happening
* Demolishing and rebuilding the party wall
* Underpinning the whole or part of a wall
* Protecting adjoining walls by cutting a flashing into an
* Building a new wall on the line of junction between two properties
* Excavating foundations within three metres of an adjoining
structure and lower than its foundations
* Excavating foundations within six metres of an adjoining
structure and below a line drawn down at 45o from the bottom of its
What do I do next?
If you intend to do any of these things, you must give written notice
to your neighbours at least two months before starting any party wall
works. Or one month for 'line of junction' or excavation works.
If a tenant or leaseholder is in the building next door, you will need
to tell the landlord, as well as the person living in the property,
that you want to carry out building work to the party wall.
Where there is more than one owner of the property or more than one
adjoining property, you must let them know too.
Don't forget to give written notice to the owners and occupiers living
either above or below your property.
If possible, talk to your neighbours in detail about the work you want
to do before giving them an official written notice. If you can sort
out any potential problems in advance, they should give you written
agreement in response to your notice, which they must do within 14 days.
What if there's a dispute?
The solution the Act provides is for both parties to each appoint a
surveyor or 'agreed surveyor' who will act impartially.
The surveyor will draw up a document called an 'Award'. This details
the work to be carried out, when and how it will be done and records
the condition of the adjoining property before work begins.
It may also grant access to both properties so the surveyor can
inspect work in progress. The Award will determine who pays for the
work if this is in dispute.
Generally, the building owner who started the work pays for all expenses.
How RICS can help you
As the world's largest professional body for chartered surveyors, RICS
offers clear, impartial, expert advice on the issues raised here.
Chartered surveyors cover all aspects of property: from conserving and
restoring historic buildings; residential and commercial; industrial
and retail to planning home extensions, homebuyer surveys and
valuations, dilapidations, right to light and energy efficiency.
Call the RICS Party Walls Helpline +44 (0)870 333 1600 for up to 30
minutes free advice from an experienced RICS member in your area.
A series of questions and answers about party walls produced by RICS
can be downloaded from the PDF Downloads panel located on the right.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has produced a useful booklet
explaining the Party Wall etc Act 1996 in detail. This can be viewed
via the link in the External Websites menu on the right.
RICS books sell a number of publications dealing with party walls .
Copies of the Party Wall etc Act 1996 can be obtained from the HMSO
website via the link in the External Websites menu on the right.