Everything You Need to Know About How to Legally Serve a Party Wall Notice?

It is important to understand various legal procedures related to the expansion works of your building. This will not only help you to maintain harmony with your immediate neighbours and avoid legal complications.

Party Wall
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If you have no past experience with such pre-construction legal processes, your construction may be considered invalid and illegal. This may lead to demolishing it and cause financial losses to you.

Whether you want to carry any building works to your property that could affect a shared wall or property or your neighbour is having adjoining wall renovation works, you must understand the entire legal procedures related to party Wall notices.

What is a party wall?

A party wall is an adjoining wall that stands on the boundary of land belonging to two owners. It is a wall that separates two properties or buildings owned by two different people.

If any construction, demolition, or renovation work is made to party walls, both the adjoining owners are influenced by the ongoing work.

Hence, it is necessary to carry out such works with consent from both property owners. Before you commence any part wall renovation, you must appoint a surveyor to carry out your building condition survey.

What are party wall notices?

Before carrying out any development works that affect the party wall, you or your immediate neighbour must serve a written party wall agreement, known as Party Wall Notice, to one another to make them aware of your project.

This building works fall under the Party Wall Act 1996, which acts to resolve any dispute between neighbours that may arise due to building works carried out at any shared walls.

The Party Wall Act 1996 was designed to preserve the structural integrity of any shared or adjoining properties, especially walls.

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A Party Wall Notice is a letter which you serve to your neighbours for any building works you want to carry out fall under the Party Wall Act 1996. It permits a few building works while restricting some other works at the shared properties to protect the interest of both owners.

Party Wall
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This notice helps to avoid or minimise disputes by proper notifications procedure to neighbours well in advance of certain building works. A Party Wall Notice must contain the name and address of both the building owners.

It must also include the particulars and nature of the proposed work in detail and the commencing date on which the proposed work begins.

What are the buildings works that require the Party Wall Notice?

Some of the building works that require serving the Party Wall notice are –

  1. Demolishing or rebuilding a party wall.
  2. Any loft conversion.
  3. Supporting a beam on a party wall.
  4. Removing walls in a flat or digging out a basement.
  5. Inserting a damp-proof structure.
  6. Digging near a party wall to a depth lower than its existing foundation.

Any minor works like fixing plug sockets, screwing in shelving or plastering walls do not require you to serve a notice.

What happens after serving a Party Wall Notice?

The minimum time required to serve the notice, before commencing your building works, depends upon the nature of the works.

You may need to serve a Party Wall Notice within two months before work commences and an adjoining neighbour needs to respond within 12 to 14 days.

Once notice is served, an adjoining neighbour has four options to do –

  1. Consent to proceed with the works.
  2. To dissent and appoint two different surveyors for each of them.
  3. They may not respond within 14 days, which is deemed to be a dispute. Hence, a surveyor is appointed to act on the adjoining owner’s behalf.
  4. They may serve a counter notice requesting additional work to be done.
Party Wall
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In case of dispute, the appointed surveyors will impartially review the plans, notices, structural details of the works, and the resulting impact of the works to draw up an agreement to carry out the work.

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