Under the Party Wall etc Act Notice must be issued to your neighbours if you want to :
- Build on or at the boundary of your two properties
- Work on an existing party wall or party structure
- Excavate below and near to the foundation level of their building or structure
There is a statutory two month waiting period (from the date the Notice is served). During this period works cannot start, unless your neighbour agrees to waive this period by mutual consent.
The notice is only valid for a year, so it is also important that it is not served too early. Planning permission for the work is not required before issuing a Party Wall Notice.
We always advise building owners to speak to their neighbours before serving a formal notice. Neighbours that feel they are being consulted and kept informed are far less likely to immediately appoint a surveyor when a notice is served. This can avoid running up a large bill for surveyor’s fees.
What happens once a neighbour receives a Party Wall Notice?
Once a Notice is served the neighbour has 14 days to either :
Consent to a Party Wall Notice
Consenting to the works is the neighbour confirming they are happy for the work to proceed without any review from a surveyor. Consent must be given in writing.
Whilst we promote and encourage consents from neighbours, we do so on the basis that a Schedule of Condition of their property is recorded before work starts.
This report records the condition of the neighbour’s property. Having this prepared in advance of work starting is vital. It avoids disagreements between the parties on whether damage has been caused as a result of the works.
Dissent to a Party Wall Notice
If a neighbour dissents to works the Party Wall dispute resolution process starts.
It is the responsibility of either a mutually agreeable Surveyor (Agreed Surveyor) to serve an Award resolving the dispute, or the neighbour may want to have their own Surveyor (Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor) to advise them on the proposals. The Adjoining Owner’s Surveyors fees are usually payable by the building owner undertaking the work.
Don’t forget : notice must be served on all adjoining owners whether they are freehold or leasehold.
If an adjoining property has been converted in to flats it may be necessary to serve multiple notices. In such situations it is important that the process is carefully managed to keep the number of surveyors involved (and the resultant fees) to a minimum.
Should the neighbour not respond within a total of 25 days from the date the Notice was served a Surveyor can be appointed on their behalf.
What are the types of party wall notice?
There are 3 types of Party Wall notice :
- Line of Junction Notice
- Party Structure Notice
- Adjacent Excavation Notice
Section 1 Line of Junction Notice
This type of party wall notice relates to the boundary where Adjoining Owners meet but where this is no building present.
Line of Junction notices must be served where an owner intends to build on or up to the boundary line between properties. 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 Section 1 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.
Section 3 Party Structure Notice
A Party Structure Notice covers the rights that Building Owners can exercise as outlined in Section 2 of the Party Wall Act. 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 Section 3 Party Structure notice includes removing a chimney breast or inserting beams or RSJs in a shared wall.
It’s worth noting that a Party Structure Notice must be served further in advance to the date of work starting on site than the other two types of party wall notice.
Section 6 Adjacent Excavation Notice
It’s often thought that a S6 Adjacent Excavation Notice only needs to be served if the planned excavation is along the boundary line of an Adjoining Owner.
This is not the case. As detailed in Section 6 of the Party Wall Act, an adjacent excavation notice is required when :
- Excavating within 3 meters of an Adjoining Owner’s building and lower than their current foundations
- Excavating within 6 meters of an Adjoining Owner’s building if any part of the excavation intersects with a 45 degree downward plane from the bottom of their foundations
In this party wall notice you must include the usual contents of all notices. You must also explain how you propose to ensure the stability or strength of any of the Adjoining Owner’s foundations. An Adjacent Excavation Notice must include the depth of planned excavation and drawings showing where this will take place relative to surrounding buildings.
Further Guidance when Issuing a Party Wall Notice
For information on how the Party Wall Act affects you as a Building Owner, see our Party Wall Fact Sheet.
You can also find further information in our Party Wall FAQs. This has been compiled this from questions we are often asked about the Act.
For an explanation of some of the terminology used in the Act, see our Party Wall Glossary.
You can also find guidance on choosing a Party Wall Surveyor in our recent news article.
There is some further information in the government’s explanatory booklet on the Party Wall process.
For advice on how the Party Wall Act affects your property please give us a call.
If you would rather we called you instead, please fill in our Contact form and we will be in touch.
If you have received a Party Wall Notice from a neighbour planning works and would like some advice as to how to respond from one of our Surveyors, please call our Enquiry line on 020 4534 3135
If you are planning works that are covered by the Act and need help issuing a Party Wall Notice, please also call our Enquiry line on 020 4534 3135 or contact :
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