If your neighbour is proposing to undertake any of the following works then they will need to comply with the Party Wall Act:

  1. The excavation of ground to install foundations
  2. The construction of  a new wall on the boundary you share with your neighbour 
  3. Any works to a wall shared with your neighbour such as the insertion of beams to support a loft conversion or the removal of a chimney breast 
  4. The excavation to form basement/subterranean accommodation
  5. The raising of a wall shared between you and your neighbour
  6. Underpinning of a party wall
  7. Structural Repairs to a party wall
  8. Cutting into a wall to insert a flashing or weatherproofing

In order to comply with this legislation your neighbour is obliged to serve a party wall notice on you detailing their proposals. In the case of the creation of foundations they must also append to the notice drawings and sections showing the type, depth and location of the proposed foundation.

Most people engage a Party Wall Surveyor to undertake this function for them so it is likely that the Party Wall Notices will arrive with a covering letter from a firm of Surveyors.

There are three types of party wall notice namely a Line of Junction Notice, Party Structure Notice and Section 6 Notice.

Section 1 Notice / Line of Junction Notice

If a proposed wall needs foundations to a lower depth than your neighbours foundations, a Section 6 notice could also be required.

Section 3 Notice / Party Structure Notice

If you are planning to cut into a Party Wall to insert flashings or a damp proof course, cut away chimney breasts or projections, raise, rebuild repair, underpin, expose the Party Wall to the weather or enclose upon a wall on or at the line of junction turning it into a Party Wall, in such cases a Section 3 Notice must be served.

Section 6 Notice / Notice of Adjacent Excavation

If you are planning to excavate within 3m of neighbour’s foundations to a lower depth, or within 6m to a lower depth than a line struck at 45 degrees down from the underside of the neighbour’s foundations, then a section 6 notice must be served.

As illustrated on the following graphic, each have a different timescale which should elapse prior to work commencing.

party wall surveyor Elmbridge, party wall surveyor Epson & Ewell, party wall surveyor Esher, party wall surveyor Camberly, party wall surveyor Guildford, party wall surveyor Mole Valley, party wall surveyor Reigate & Banstead, party wall surveyor Runnymede, party wall surveyor Spellthorne, party wall surveyor Surrey Heath, party wall surveyor Tandridge, party wall surveyor Waverley and Woking, party wall notice Elmbridge, party wall notice Epson & Ewell, party wall notice Esher, party wall notice Camberly, party wall notice Guildford, party wall notice Mole Valley, party wall notice Reigate & Banstead, party wall notice Runnymede, party wall notice Spellthorne, party wall notice Surrey Heath, party wall notice Tandridge, party wall notice Elmbridge, party wall award Epson & Ewell, party wall award Esher, party wall award Camberly, party wall award Guildford, party wall award Mole Valley, party wall award Reigate & Banstead, party wall award Runnymede, party wall award Spellthorne, party wall award Surrey Heath, party wall award Tandridge, party wall award Waverley and Woking, party wall award Waverley and Woking.

If you have received a Notice about proposed works your neighbours plan to carry out to their property, you are required to respond in writing within 14 days from the date on the Notice. If you would like Help or Advice in responding to any Notice served, please contact us [email protected].

Upon receipt of the Party Wall Notices you effectively have five options. 

  1. Consent to their proposals. If this is the case then, from a party wall perspective, their obligations are complete and upon your written acknowledgement they will be able to commence the works.
  2. Consent to their proposals, subject to us undertaking a Schedule of Condition of your property. This Schedule of Condition is a written and photographic record of the condition of your property prior to your neighbour commencing their proposed works. This protects you in that we should be able to easily identify damage following their development being completed that was not there at the outset. It also protects your neighbour against a claim from you to repair pre-existing damage that their development did not cause.
  3.  Dissent their proposals and in such circumstances a dispute is deemed to have arisen and you can agree to the appointment of a single agreed surveyor of the parties. In such circumstances the surveyor would undertake a site inspection and schedule of condition and then draft and serve upon the parties a Party Wall Award which would authorise the works that your neighbour is  proposing to undertake.
  4. Dissent their proposals and in such circumstances a dispute is deemed to have arisen and you appoint your own surveyor (which would hopefully be us!). In such circumstances ourselves and your neighbours surveyor would undertake a site visit and schedule of condition and then together agree upon the content of a Party Wall Award which would then be served upon the parties authorising the works your neighbour wishes to undertake.
  5. Ignore the notice. You can if you wish, simply ignore the notice. In such circumstances you will be sent a further reminder, 14 days after the initial notice was served. This second notice will give you a period of 10 days within which to appoint a surveyor. In the event that you do not then your neighbours Surveyor would make an appointment on your behalf. Once the second surveyor is in place then matters would proceed as 4) above as if you had appointed that surveyor.

What happens once party wall surveyors are appointed?

Once surveyors are appointed the first thing they tend to do is to agree upon a so called “Third Surveyor” who will effectively undertake an arbitration facility in the event that the surveyors cannot agree on a way forward in respect of the works. They are rarely called upon by experienced party wall practitioners and in our experience, in excess of 99% of our work is completed without the need to refer to the Third Surveyor.

The Surveyor(s) will then review the proposals and arrange for a site inspection to fully understand what is proposed and its likely impacts and risk in relation to your building. They will also undertake a Schedule of Condition of your building to accurately record its condition prior to the commencement of their works. 

Following that visit, your neighbours surveyor drafts a party wall award and this is sent to the other surveyor(if there is one) for their approval. Once agreement is reached upon its content it is bound, signed and served upon both you and your neighbour. It is this document which authorises them to undertake the works they propose.

What happens once the party wall Award is served?

Upon service of the party wall award, the parties have 14 days within which to appeal the Award through the court system. If the Award is not appealed in this timescale then it becomes binding on the parties. Whilst your neighbours are legally entitled to commence the works immediately you receive the Party Wall Award, some people prefer to wait a further 14 days just to make sure that the Award is not appealed.

How much does this all cost?

Given that there is likely no benefit to you of your neighbour undertaking the proposed works, the costs associated with party wall matters are typically borne by your neighbour. Therefore if, on receipt of a party wall notice, you wish to appoint us to act then our fees would most likely be covered in full by your neighbour.

I’ve still some questions…

Then email us at [email protected] or telephone us on 01843 583000 for free, no obligation party wall advice. We are happy to spend the time with you, regardless of whether you end up appointing us to act, so that you can fully understand your obligations under the legislation.