If you're planning to do any construction work on a shared wall or boundary line, then you should be aware of the requirements of the Party Wall Act. The act requires that you serve a Party Wall Notice to your neighbours, informing them of the work you're about to undertake.
But when should you serve these notices? Read on to find out.
The Party Wall Act was introduced in 1996 to regulate the construction work done on shared walls and boundary lines. It is essential to understand the Act's provisions, especially concerning the serving of Party Wall Notices. This article discusses the appropriate timing for serving these notices and other critical aspects of the Party Wall Act.
What is a Party Wall Notice?
Before delving into the timing of serving Party Wall Notices, it is crucial to understand what they entail. A Party Wall Notice is a formal letter that informs your neighbours of any construction work that you plan to undertake on shared walls and boundary lines. This notice serves to notify your neighbours of your intentions and gives them a chance to raise objections or concerns.
Types of Party Wall Notices
There are three types of Party Wall Notices :
1. Line of Junction Notice
This type of notice is served when you plan to build on or up to a boundary line. This notice refers to a boundary where there is currently no building. There could be a ‘boundary wall’ (i.e. a separating brick wall). Timber fences are not considered to be boundary walls.
When a Line of Junction notice is served, the intention is to reach agreement between all Adjoining Owners on the position and type of wall on the boundary. For example, this could be a shared party wall built astride the boundary, or an external wall wholly in one of the owner’s land.
2. Notice of Adjacent Excavation
This notice is served when you plan to excavate within three to six meters of your neighbour's property. An Adjacent Excavation Notice must include the depth of planned excavation. It must also include drawings showing where this will take place relative to surrounding buildings.
3. Party Structure Notice
This notice is served when you plan to work on a shared wall or structure. This includes any changes or works to be made to an existing party structure and party fence walls.
Examples of work that must be notified of under a Party Structure notice include removing a chimney breast or inserting beams or RSJs in a shared wall. It informs your neighbours of your intentions and provides them with a chance to raise objections or concerns.
When Should Party Wall Notices Be Served?
The Party Wall Act stipulates that a Party Structure Notice be served at least two months before the planned construction work's commencement. The other two types of notice must be served at least a month before work starts.
The notice period is essential as it gives your neighbours enough time to raise objections or concerns. In some instances, you may need to serve the notice earlier, depending on the type of construction work and the circumstances surrounding it.
It is advisable to serve the Party Wall Notices as early as possible to avoid any disputes that may arise from the construction work. It is also essential to ensure that you serve the correct type of notice for the planned construction work.
What Happens After Serving the Party Wall Notice?
Once you serve the Party Wall Notice, your neighbours have the option to either consent or dissent. If they consent, you can proceed with the planned construction work. If they dissent, you'll need to appoint a surveyor to mediate the dispute and ensure that the construction work proceeds as smoothly as possible.
The Party Wall Act is crucial for anyone planning to undertake construction work on shared walls and boundary lines. It is essential to understand the Act's provisions, especially concerning the serving of Party Wall Notices. It is also crucial to serve the notices as early as possible to avoid any legal disputes that may arise. Failure to comply with the Party Wall Act can have significant financial consequences.
In conclusion, serving Party Wall Notices is a critical aspect of any construction work done on shared walls and boundary lines. The timing of serving the notices is crucial, and it is advisable to do it as early as possible to avoid any dispute. It is also essential to understand the different types of notices and serve the appropriate one for the planned work.
See our detailed article for more information on Party Wall Notices.
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For further help and advice on serving a Party Wall Notice, please get in touch.
As a Building Owner planning work to your property please get in touch for help and advice to manage the Party Wall process.
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For information on how the Party Wall Act affects you see our Party Wall Fact Sheet.
You can also find further information in our Party Wall FAQs. The FAQs have been compiled from questions we are often asked about the Act.
There is some further information in the government’s explanatory booklet on the Party Wall process.
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To contact a Party Wall surveyor that's local to you, see details of our teams in :
For advice direct from one of our Surveyors, please call our Enquiry line on 020 4534 3135.
If you are planning work that is covered by the Act, or if you have received notice of work from a neighbour and want advice on how best to protect your property please contact:
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