Party Wall FAQs

Party Wall issues are commonplace in cities around the UK, and we are often asked about aspects of the Party Wall Act and how it affects building owners and adjoining owners.

We have collated a selection these questions into our Party Wall FAQs.

If you have any further queries about the Party Wall Act that we haven’t covered please submit them using our Contact Us form here. We will be in touch to help answer them, and will also update our FAQs regularly.

Party Wall FAQs

  • Does a party wall award transfer to a new adjoining owner?

    An Award transfers to any subsequent adjoining owners provided it remains valid.

    However, if the owners proposing the work change, then the Award is void and the process must begin again

     

  • Does the party wall act allow access to a neighbours’ property?

    There are rights to access your neighbour’s land to carry out works authorised by the Party Wall Act but only where the proposed access is reasonably necessary to carry out that work

  • Can a neighbour refuse a party wall agreement?

    No, provided the correct procedures are followed your neighbour cannot stop you undertaking works which you are authorised to undertake by the Party Wall Act.

  • Can you reach a party wall agreement without a surveyor?

    Surveyors are only appointed where a dispute occurs, either because an adjoining owner does not respond, or where they respond and indicate there is a dispute.

    Adjoining owners may instead consent to a notice and this consent can be conditional, for instance provided a record of the condition of their premises is undertaken before the works begin.

    Having consented to a notice, any subsequent dispute can be referred to surveyors if needed, for instance if damage is caused and cannot be agreed between the owners.

  • What is an adjoining owner under the party wall act?

    The adjoining owner is the owner of a property adjacent to where work is proposed

    The owner of the property where the work is proposed is referred to as the building owner

  • What is the definition of a party wall?

    A party wall is a wall which either separates buildings, or is built astride the boundary and forms part of a building.

  • Undertaking excavation near neighbouring buildings?

    Excavation within three metres of and below the level of a neighbour’s foundations is work falling under the Party Wall Act.

    Deep excavation within 6 metres of a neighbour’s foundations may also fall under the Party Wall Act.

  • What is a party fence wall?

    A wall built astride the boundary which does not form part of a building.

  • Can I build against a party wall?

    Yes, this work may fall under the Party Wall Act if it involves cutting into or away from the party wall, or excavating below the foundations of the party wall.

  • How long does a party wall agreement last?

    Generally one year from the date of the Award.

  • Does the Party Wall act apply in Scotland?

    The Party Wall etc Act applies in England & Wales only.

  • Is a wooden fence a party wall?

    No, although references are sometimes made to shared or ‘party fences’.  These do not fall under the Party Wall Act.

  • Can I build an extension on a party wall?

    Party walls may be raised to form extensions, but not lengthened without your neighbour’s consent.  Party fence walls can also be raised or used to form extensions.

  • Who is responsible for repairing a party wall?

    Maintenance of party walls is shared according to the responsibility for any defect or want of repair and the use to which the owners make of the wall.  For instance, a party wall could form part of one person’s building but be only a boundary wall for another owner.

  • What is a party fence?

    Generally, a fence shared by two owners.  These do not fall under the Party Wall Act.

  • What is the difference between a party wall and a boundary wall?

    A party wall either separates buildings, or is built astride the boundary and forms part of a building.

    A party fence wall stands astride the boundary but does not form part of a building.

    A boundary wall does not form part of a building, and does not stand astride the boundary but on one person’s land or the others.

  • Can I raise a party wall?

    Raising a party wall is authorised by the Party Wall Act provided the correct procedures are followed.

  • How close to a party wall can I build?

    Excavation within three metres of and below the level of a neighbour’s foundations is work falling under the Party Wall Act.

    Deep excavation within 6 metres of a neighbour’s foundations may also fall under the Party Wall Act.

    If you are not excavating below the level of a party wall, the Party Wall Act does not define how close you can build, but if the work involves cutting into or away from the Party Wall it will fall under the Party Wall Act and the correct procedures must be followed.

  • How much notice do you have to give before starting work under the party wall act?

    Normally at least two months before the planned start of work to the party wall. The notice is only valid for a year, so it should not be served too early.

Further Guidance

The government have published an explanatory booklet about Party Walls which is available here.

Contact

For further information or advice on Party Wall matters please contact :

Rickie Bloom

Director

DD : 020 7947 0960

M : 07816 845 160


Mark Amodio

Senior Director

DD : 020 4534 9339

M : 07803 504 021


Geoffrey Adams

Senior Director

DD : 020 7947 0965

M : 07979 605 643

To submit a question on Party Wall matters, or to request a call back from the Party Wall Team please complete our Contact Us form here.

We will be updating our Party Wall FAQs regularly with any further questions that come up.

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