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Party Wall etc. Act 1996

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In a Nutshell

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 ('The Act') came into force on the 1st July 1997.

You must tell your neighbour if you want to carry out certain building works near or on your shared premises, these are known as 'notifiable works'.


The purpose of the Act is to enable building works to be undertaken, providing protection for both the Building Owner and the Adjoining Owner.  It outlines the rights of the Building Owner and safeguards the Adjoining Owner so that each side has protection from the other. 

The process begins with serving notices.  This can be served by the building owner themselves and are required at least 1 or 2 months prior to commencement of proposed works.

Once the neighbour dissents, the Building Owner cannot act as the surveyor and must appoint someone on their behalf. 

A Schedule of Condition is carried out on the neighbours property and will form part of the Award.

The Party Wall Award is the final piece of documentation in the process and sets out the agreement reached by the surveyor/s of the matters that were disputed under the Act.  This is a legally binding document.

Fees and costs are usually payable by the Building Owners if the works are solely for the Building Owner's benefit.  

Ultimately, The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is an alternative dispute resolution process, keeping disputes out of court and future potential costs down.


Notifiable Works

By Law, the Building Owner must notify the Adjoining Owner of the proposed works that are notifiable under the Act.  

These are broken into 3 sections:

Section 1 - Line of Junction (1 month notice).

This applies if the Building Owner is intending to build a new wall up to or astride the line of junction, on land that has not been built on before.  

Section 3 - Party Structure Notice (2 months notice).

Served to exercise rights under Section 2(2), where the Building Owner intends to carry out works to an existing Party Wall or structure.  

Section 6 - Three/Six Metre Notice (1 month notice).

This applies for excavations, such as digging for foundations, or to reduce the level of the ground etc.  It is required for excavations that are proposed to be within 3 or 6 metres of another property AND lower than any existing property. 


The Adjoining Owner has 14 days to respond, at which time, if no response, then a further letter needs to be sent, giving the Adjoining Owner a further 10 days to respond.

If still no response, then it will be deemed as automatic dissent and a Surveyor will be appointed on their behalf.

If the Adjoining Owner dissents to the works, a Schedule of Condition is the next step in the Party Wall process. 


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The Award

The Party Wall Award is a legal document, prepared by the Surveyor/s which sets out:

  • The works that will be carried out.

  • When and how the work will be carried out, including working hours so as to minimise disturbance.

  • Specifies any additional work required to protect the Adjoining Owner's property.

  • Enables the Building Owner access to the Adjoining Owners property to properly execute the works.

  • A record of the Schedule of Condition, along with any other documentation such as Plans etc.

  • Allows access for the Surveyor to inspect the works during the process to ensure they are acting in accordance with the Award.

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